The 40 Year Old Bat Mitzvah

Weekend in Pictures: Tu B’Shevat Seder

Posted in Uncategorized by Juliet on January 23, 2011

(From “A Seder for Tu B’Shevat,” by Harlene Winnick Appelman and Jane Sherwin Shapiro, illustrated by Chari R. McLean.)

The Kabbalists, a group of Jewish mystics living in Israel in the 16th century, created a seder for Tu B’Shevat. Today we gather as they did to study, sing, and celebrate the great miracle of trees.

seder plate

We have three seder plates:

1. fruit with a peel or shell that cannot be eaten, e.g. orange, tangerine, grapefruit, kiwi, coconut, peanut, walnut, almond, pomegranate (the oranges and blood oranges on the seder plate today came from the Eizenwassers’ trees, and they were delicious – simply perfect!)

2. fruit with pits or seeds that cannot be eaten, e.g. peach, plum, avocado, date, olive, cherry, apricot

3. fruit edible both inside and outside, e.g. grape, raisin, fig, cranberry, apple, pear, strawberry, carob

We drink four cups of wine (or, in the case of the religious school kids, grape juice), each to remind us of a different season.

The first cup is entirely white grape juice, reminding us of winter.

The second cup is darker. Add a bit of red grape juice to the white. It reminds us of spring.

The third cup is red juice with a dash of white: summer.

The fourth cup is all red: the autumn harvest season.

In past years, we’ve planted a tree on Tu B’Shevat, but this year, the kids planted parsley from seeds. Presuming it grows, we can use the parsley at Passover.

Parsley seeds do NOT taste good. (There's one in every crowd.)

Many years ago in Israel, there lived a righteous man whose name was Honi. One day, Honi saw an old man planting a carob tree. His grandchild was helping him. Honi laughed. “Foolish man,” he said, “do you think you will still be alive to eat the fruit of this tree?”

The old man replied, “I found trees in the world when I was born. My grandparents planted them for me. Now I am planting for my grandchildren.”

Weary from the heat of the day, Honi retired to a shady spot for a nap. But the short nap became a sleep of 70 years, and when he awakened, he did not know that his hair had turned white as snow. He was surprised to see a full-grown carob tree and an elderly man picking its fruit. “Are you the man who planted the tree?” Honi asked.

“No,” the old man replied. “My grandfather planted it for me.”

Many Jewish children are given Hebrew names for flowers and trees that bloom in Israel:

  • Tamar – palm
  • Oren – pine
  • Ilan – tree
  • Shoshana – lily
  • Alon – oak
  • Vered – rose
  • Dafna – laurel
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  1. […] girls’ religious school had a Tu B’Shevat seder as part of their Sunday school day this weekend. Usually a seder is associated with Passover, but […]


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