Watch a Tu B'Shevat Seder - Windows Media Player
There are different ways to have TU B'Shvat Seders from the very simple to the very elaborate ones. The simple way may be by having some assorted dried fruits and nuts and say the brachot/blessings pertaining to them before eating each kind. The elaborate ones can include wine, fruits of every kind, different vegetables, juices, grain products in the form of pasta, cereal and cakes, nuts and seeds. Some elaborate ones usually follow a sequence of eating with the help of a Tu B'Shevat Seder Book - there are a few different ones.
A TU B'Shvat Seder that made a great impression on me is where there was every imaginable produce and grain products in many different forms and colors. That is an amazing experience! The table is full of the bounty of the earth. When seeing that, it is easy to say, Thank you Hashem!
Here is something you might like. There is a TU B'Shvat Seder I love to do. It is no too structured. I thought for those who do not have any minhag/custom, to try this one. It is very simple, also within the frame of Halacha/Jewish Code of Law and enjoyable. It is a TU B'Shvat Seder that I developed from different ideas and experiences that I had and does not trespass on the Laws.
When preparing and or eating the meal, keep in mind that the TU B'Shvat Seder can be a filling meal on its own when the table is filled with different types of grain products, seeds, nuts and fruits. It may contain hot vegetarian foods and cold salads that have been prepared with a mix of vegetables, beans and pasta. If it is an intimate meal, a small piece of fruit of each kind can be cut up and used as well as dried/candied fruits, mixed nuts, seeds, crackers, cookies and vegetables. The table or plate should look good and festive for a happy experience. Candied fruits are a nice way to add to the event.
When having your meal, in your mind, invite to Hashem into this event. Thank Him in your mind as you go through the Seder, enjoy the food/fruits/produce, the words of Torah. Bring happiness to the table as well. Make it an event to honor Hashem and that thanks Hashem for His goodness.
*** When purchasing your variety of produce, keep in mind to purchase a fruit that has not been tasted in the season for the blessing of She'hecheyanu to be said. *** I like to have Candied Etrog Jam at the table or dried carobs for that purpose. Dried carobs can be very hard in consistency hence I recomend to soak them in water for about 2-3 days in advance before the seder so they will be soft enough when ready to eat. Etrog/Estrog/Citron Jam is delicious when done properly or very bitter otherwise. Best, the over sweetened candied glazed Etrog.
There is an order to this Seder. Start the Seder by eating from the Sheva Minim/Seven Species first and move on to the other food items that are at your table, making sure to taste each item and saying the bracha/blessing before eating!
The Seven Species are also listed in the NCSY Bencher in the Brachah Me'ayin Shalosh/"Blessing After a Snack". Sheva Minim/Seven Species is refered to grains and fruits that are associated with Eretz Yisrael/The Land of Israel as per Devarim/Deuteronomy 8:8 where it refers to "A land of wheat and barley, and vines and fig-trees and pomegranates; a land of olive-trees and honey". Honey being an allusion to dates.
On TU B'Shevat, after tasting a food item at the seder, I like to say a sentence from Pereq Shirah related particular to that food item. I have included in here these sentences. Other Divrei Torah/Words of Torah could also be said. If you like to continue with the theme for the seder, look for Dvar Torah that mentions that particular food item. **To consume food and say no words of Torah at the table is compared to being involved in Avodah Zarah/idol worship. A good practice may be to always have a chapter of Tehilim/Psalms to say or to know some by hart whenever sitting to a meal.
Here are the details following the order the food should be eaten, the brachot/blessings that are recited along with the sentences that are mentioned in Pereq Shirah to each food item. - Pereq Shirah is the song of creation. According to our sages, everything in the universe has his own song that in combination, forms a symphony.
Here is the Seder...
1. Grain Products that are associated with the Land of Israel are Wheat, Barley, Spelt, Oat and Rye. These may be at the table in the form of baked goods, pasta and cereal.
Brachah: Baruch Atah Adon-nai, Elohai-nu Melech HaOlam, Boreh Minay Mezonot.
Blessing: Blessed are you G-d, King of the Universe, Who creates species of nourishment.
Sentence in Pereq Shirah pertaining to...
**WHEAT: A song of ascents. Out of the depths have I called to You, Hashem (Psalms 130:1)
Hebrew: Shir LaMa'alot MiMa-amakim Kratichah Adon-nai (Tehilim 130:1)
**BARLEY: A prayer of the pauper, when enwrapped (with affliction) he pours out his speech before Hashem (Psalms 102:1)
Hebrew: Tefilah L'Anee Ki Ya'atov V'Lifney Adon-nai Ishpoch Sichoh (Tehilim 102:1)
**OTHER GRAINS: The meadows are clothed with flocks, the valley are covered with grains, they shout for joy and sing. (Psalms 65:14)
Hebrew: Lavshoo Karim HaTzon VeAMakim Ya'atfu Var Yitroe-ru Af Yashiru (Tehilim 65:14)
Wine or Grape Juice
After making the Brachah for Mezonot:
Brachah: Baruch Ata Adon-nai Elohai-nu Melech HaOlam Boreh Pri Ha-Gafen
Blessing: Blessed are you G-d, King of the universe who creates the fruit of the vine.
2. Fruits associated with the Land of Israel are olives, dates, grapes, figs and pomegranates
Brachah: Baruch Atah Adon-nai Elohai-nu Melech HaOlam Boreh Pri Ha-Etz.
Blessing: Blessed are you G-d, King of the Universe, Who creates the fruit of the tree.
Olives - There is no sentence from Pereq Shirah for olives, you may want to insert the following instead:
For the L-RD thy G-d bringeth thee into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths, springing forth in valleys and hills; a land of wheat and barley, and vines and fig-trees and pomegranates; a land of olive-trees and honey; a land wherein thou shalt eat bread without scarceness, thou shalt not lack any thing in it; a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills thou mayest dig brass. And thou shalt eat and be satisfied, and bless the L-RD thy G-d for the good land which He hath given thee. -- Dvarim/Deuteronomy 8:7-10
Ki Adon-nai Elecha Mevi'echa el Eretz Tovah, Eretz Nachalei Mayim, Ayanot, U'Tehomot, Yotzim BaBiKa'ah U'Va'Har; Eretz Chitah U'Seorah, V'Gefen U'Te'enah, V'Rimon; Eretz Zeit Shemen, U'Dvash. Eretz Asher loh Vmizkenut Tochal Bah Lechem -- Loh Techesar Kol Bah; Eretz Asher Avaneyha Varzel, U'Meharareyha Tachtzov Nechoshet. V'Achaltah V'Savahta, -- U'Virachta Et Adon-nai Eloheycha, Al HaAretz HaTovah Asher Nahtan Lach. -- Dvarim 8:7-10
**DATES: The righteous will flourish like a date palm, like a cedar in Lebanon he will grow tall (Psalms 92:13)
Hebrew: Tzadik KaTamar Yifrach KeErez KaLevanon Yisgeh (Tehilim 92:13)
**GRAPES: Thus saith the L-RD: As, when wine is found in the cluster, one saith: 'Destroy it not, for a blessing is in it'; so will I do for My servants' sakes, that I may not destroy all. (Isaiah 65.8)
Hebrew: Koh Amar Adon-nai, Ka-asher Yimatzeh HaTirosh BaEshkol VeAmar, Al Tash-chiteh-u Ki Vrachah Boh Ken E'eseh L'Ma-an Avadai L'Vli-tee Hash-chit HaKol (Yeshayahu 65:8)
**FIGS: Tho one who guards the fig will eat of her fruit. (Proverbs 27.18)
Hebrew: Te-enah Omeret, Notzer Tehenah, Yochal Priyah (Ketuvim 27:18)
**POMEGRANATES: Your cheeks are like a piece of pomegranate behind your veil (Song of Songs 4:3)
Hebrew: KeFelach HaRimon Rakatech MiBa'ad Le'Tzamatech (Shir HaShirim 4:3)
~~ Here ends the Seven Species/Sheva Minim ~~
All fruits that was not eaten in that season. Etrog or Carob
Sheh Hecheyanu: Take the fruit that has not been eaten that season and say the following Brachah/Blessing before eating - This Blessing is usually said for something new or after a certain period has elapsed of which it is considered new again in terms of fruits
Brachah: Baruch Atah Adon-nai, Elohai-nu Melech HaOlam, Sheh He-cheyanu VeKee-yimanu VeHee-gee-yanu La Zman Hazeh.
Blessing: Blessed are You G-d, King of the Universe, Who has kept us alive, sustained us, and brought us to this season.
~~ Continue with other fruits, Dvar Torah and blessings for other items ~~
**APPLE: Like the apple tree amongst the trees of the forest, so is my beloved amongst the sons. Under its shadow I delighted to sit, and its fruit was sweet to my taste. (Song of Songs 2:3)
Hebrew: KeTapuach Ba'Atzei HaYa'ar Ken Dodi Ben HaBanim B'Tziloh Chemadeti V'Yashavti U'Virioh Matok L'Chiki (Shir HaShirim 2:3)
A little extra.... A Brachah can be said before/when enjoying the smell of fruits
Brachah: Baruch Atah Adon-nai, Elohai-nu Melech HaOlam, HaNoten Re'ach Tov BaPerot
Blessing: Blessed are you G-d, King of the Universe, Who gives good fragrance in fruits.
3. All other fruits that grow from plants that are not considered trees and for vegetables
Brachah: Baruch Atah Adon-nai Elohai-nu Melech HaOlam Boreh Pri HaAdamah.
Blessing: Blessed are you G-d, King of the Universe, Who creates the fruit of the earth.
Hebrew: Telame-ha Raveh Nachat Gedodeha B'Revivim Te-mogeh-gehna Tzimcha Tevarech (Tehilim 65:11)
Brachah/ Blessing for all other liquids including fruit juices when wine or grape juice was not consumed first: (This brachah is also applicable for meat, fish, eggs and cheese and is said separately for those items when the Brachah/Blessing for the wine - HaGafen - has already been said)
Brachah: Baruch Atah Adon-nai Elohai-nu Melech HaOlam Shehakol Nihyah Bidvaroh.
Blessing: Blessed are you G-d, King of the Universe, that everything was created through His words
~~ Enjoy the other fruits and your Seder table ~~
While at the table...
Have friends with some words of Torah prepared to say at the table
Let them have a turn at saying the sentences...
Let the men do some singing at the table, specially on Shabbat
Tov L'Hodot/L'Hodos/It is good to give thanks
Words to the song: Tehilim/Psalms 92 2:3
2. Tov, L'Hodot L'Hashem, U'Lezamer Shimchah Elyon,
3. Lehageed BaBoker Chasdecha,V'Emunatecha BaLeilot
Above clip is the original song clip of Rabbi Carlebach singing Tov L'Hodot
If the event is large enough, invite a rabbi and let him give some
Dvar Torah/Words of Torah in an informal manner
At the end of the meal:
Brachah Achronah/Me'en Sholosh is said after a meal not consisting of bread when enough of any of the Sheva Minim/Seven Species was consumed to thank Hashem for His wonders and kindness.
~~~ Here is also a chance to use your NCSY Bencher to do so ~~~
This brachah is also said when at least a small cup - 4 fl. oz. - of wine or grape juice is consumed. When bread is used, Birkat HaMazon is said instead. For further reference see Blessings on Food.
If TU B'Shvat is on Shabbat, it might be an idea to have the Seder during the day, after the Kiddush which is before the 2nd meal and proceed with the Shabbat meal as in every Shabbat or have it for Seudat Shlishit/The 3rd meal for those who do not usually have bread then. Some will have the seder on Motzei Shabbat/at night, after Shabbat is over. Please consult with your local Orthodox rabbi.
Below is a short shiur/lesson on the Month of Shvat:
~~ The above audios are from a Sephardi Halachic point of view ~~
More suggested Tehilim/Psalms:
Have a Wonderful TU B'Shvat!
Posting last updated on Jan 12 '10