TuB'Shvat

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.


Originally published, December 19, 2011 Amended for 2014

When I was young, Tu B'Shvat was celebrated by planting trees in Israel through the Jewish National Fund. And, if you follow the link, you can still plant trees in Israel. When I started dating Molly, and started living a more observant life, Tu B'Shvat was still little more than a service and buying trees in Israel.

Tu B'Shvat is known as the "New Year of the Trees". In Israel, it is how a trees age is measured.  "Tu B'Shvat is the new year for the purpose of calculating the age of trees for tithing. The Torah states that fruit from trees which were grown in the land of Israel may not be eaten during the first three years; the fourth year's fruit is for G-d, and after that, the fruit can be eaten. Each tree is considered to have aged one year as of Tu B'Shvat, no matter when in the year it was planted."1 It is customary to eat fruits that grow in Israel for Tu B'Shvat.

Tu B'Shvat has blended nicely into the enviormental movement. There are green and secular as well as religious celebrations of Tu B'Shvat.

 

The Kabbalah teaches that there is a seder for Tu B'Shvat. My father became intrigued with the Tu B'Shvat seder and was working on one when he died. His yartziet is two days before Tu B'Shvat. This would have meant several different books open on the dining room table or in a neat stack with bookmarks and a legal pad. Witting this, I have ten windows open in my browser along with notepad and Nvu, the HTML Editor. The fruit doesn't fall far from the tree. Notepad nicely strips all of the formating out of something cut and pasted into a web document. The Aish Seder is probably the easiest  to follow. Here are some more Seders. Ritual.org (reform, presented as a blog page), Aish,  and Rabbi Scheinerman. Rabbie Scheinerman is an Orthodox Rabbi. He has a very good website, although it has not been updated in some time. 

The fruits and nuts needed for a Tu B'Shvat Seder

The seven species from Israel

Figs

 

Dates

 

Pomegranates

 

Olives

 

Grapes(or raisins)

 

wheat and barley (in the form of bread, cake or cereal)

nuts with the shells

walnuts, almonds, pistachios, coconut

fruits with peels

oranges, pomegranates, avocado

fruits with edible seeds

blueberries, strawberries, bananas

fruits with inedible pits

peaches, plums

Wine or grape juice

both white and red