Your Very Own Tu B'Shvat Seder
Updated: May 3
Today we want to recommend an Israeli tradition: The Tu B'Shvat Seder / סֵדֶר טוּ בִּשְׁבָט.
What is Tu B’shvat anyway?
In ancient times, Tu B’shvat was just a date on the calendar which told Jewish farmers when to bring produce to the Temple as an offering. The Tu B’shvat “Seder,” meaning “order” was first celebrated in the 16th century in the Northern Israeli city of Tzfat (Safed). The seder created ceremonious eating of the land’s fruits to celebrate their new year. Originally, this seder connected the agricultural new year of trees to the spiritual “Tree of Life” which is spoken of in the Torah.
Today, many people celebrate different versions of the Tu B'shvat Seder all over the world to connect themselves to the fruit and trees in the Land of Israel!
iKonnect wants to help you make your very own Tu B’shvat Seder!
First... wash your hands (and not just because of Corona)
Hand-washing is an important ritual at the start of any real meal in Judaism, which always involves bread. So the first thing we do at the beginning of the Tu B’shvat seder is...wash our hands!
4 cups of wine and 4 fruits
Each of the four cups of wine (or grape juice!) represents the colors of Israel’s landscape during one of the four agricultural seasons.
The first cup of wine is white wine or grape juice symbolizing winter, the season of Tu B’shvat. After the hot summer, Israel is covered with the dust that has settled on the land, and the white wine symbolizes the soft, light shades of Israel.
For the first fruit, grab a fruit that is hard on the outside, but soft on the inside like walnuts, coconuts, or almonds. The hard shell symbolizes the protection that the earth gives us and reminds us to nourish and strengthen the healing power of our own bodies.
The second cup of wine should be mostly white with a little bit of red mixed in, to symbolize the first blossoms on the trees during Israel’s rainy seasons.
The second fruit has a pit in the center, like olives, dates, peaches, or apricots, and symbolizes the life-sustaining power that emanates from the Earth.
The third cup of wine or grape juice is mostly red with a little bit of white mixed in, symbolizing the new rush of color as spring overtakes the winter’s dryness. The red wine might remind you of the flowering fields of poppies that cover Israel in the Spring, Kalaniyot in Hebrew!
The third fruit should be soft throughout and completely edible, like figs, grapes, and raisins.
The fourth cup of wine is all red, and symbolizes the autumn season in Israel, representing the mystical concept of the fire of God that lives in each of us.
The fourth fruit has a tough skin on the outside but sweet fruit within, like mangos, bananas, avocados, or sabra! Ever eaten a sabra before?
End the Tu B'shvat seder with the tastes of a new fruit (a tradition of the seder)!