Last weekend was the Jewish holiday of Tu Bishvat, the “New Year of the Trees” — a Jewish Earth Day, or Arbor Day. It’s not a major holiday, but has some lovely ritual associated with it, especially the seder, which was created by Isaac Luria in 17th century Israel as a mystical, kabbalistic way to celebrate the Tree of Life.
Just for fun — and because we were missing the Tu Bishvat seder his Hebrew school hosts — we had a seder at home, loosely following this outline. Most Tu Bishvat seders eat no fruit with the fourth cup of wine, as this is meant to evoke the realm of God, but I like the idea alluded to in the outline I linked to of choosing as a fourth fruit a “fruit of the Gods.” Chocolate, for example. We also tried to include the seven species, as well as a fruit none of us had eaten recently (papaya), so we could sing the shehechyianu.
Here was our menu:
- First Cup: Pina Coladas in Coconut Shells
- First Fruit: Mixed Nuts
- Second Cup: Pina Colada mixed with a bit of Sparkling Grape Juice
- Second Fruit: Olives
- Third Cup: Sparkling Grape Juice mixed with a bit of Pina Colada
- Third Fruits: Dried Figs, Red Grapes, Strawberries
- Dinner: My Grandmother’s Special “Orange Mud” Soup (which contains barley, one of the seven species), Bread Drizzled with Honey
- Fourth Cup: Sparkling Grape Juice
- Fourth Fruits: Guacamole with Chips
- Papaya, Kiwi, Pomegranate, Mango, Chocolate
It was really a lovely seder. We’ll definitely do it again next year.