Did you know that there is a long tradition of holding a Tu BiShvat Seder that harks all the way back to the 16th century? Unlike the Passover Seder, however, the focus is the mystical aspects of the natural world and humankind’s connection to the Earth, particularly the Land of Israel. Here are some ideas you can use to make your own Tu BiShvat Seder:
Drink Four Cups of Wine
It is customary to drink four cups of wine. Traditionally, the first cup is white wine, representing snow, winter, and a lack of natural growth. The second cup is a mixture of 2/3 white and 1/3 red wine to represent the beginning of spring and the potential for growth. The third cup is half white and half red to represent spring in full bloom, and the fourth is pure red to represent summer and the end of the agricultural cycle.
Eat A Variety of Fruits and Nuts
It is customary to make a blessing on fruits falling into four different categories, each symbolizing a particular aspect of our connection to the Earth:
Fruits or nuts with a hard shell and a soft interior, such as almonds or coconuts, represent the protection afforded us by the Earth and the importance of guarding and nurturing our spiritual interior.
Soft fruits with a hard pit, such as olives or dates, symbolize the essential life-giving energy emanating from the Earth and the spiritual potential we hold inside us.
Fruits that are soft throughout, like raisins or figs, represent God’s omnipresence in the natural world and in our lives.
Tough-skinned fruits with a sweet interior, like citrus fruits or prickly pears (sabra), symbolize the hidden mysteries of the Earth and our study of Torah to uncover them.
Add Poetry & Readings About Trees And The Environment
Now more than ever, it is essential to find time to reflect on the natural world, our inextricable connection to it, and our obligation toward it. You can use the Tu Bishvat Haggadah on Custom & Craft, and customize it with any of the resourcs on the site, or write your own!
Buy only organic fruits and nuts for your Seder
Recycle by printing your readings or haggadot on the backside of used paper, or use a digital PDF on Custom & Craft
Compost the peels and shells from your Seder
Make your Seder meal vegetarian or even vegan!
Take a walk in the park or the woods and notice the sights, sounds and smells around you!
by David Diamond