That’s because there’s a cornucopia of information online about Tu B’shvat, the New Year of the Trees, which starts tomorrow night (Tuesday, February 7th) and goes through Wednesday. You can find plenty of information about the AriZal (Rabbi Yitzchak Luria), the 16th century kabbalist who initiated a mystical fruit seder. My husband usually conducts this each year (with the full 72-fruits and accompanying readings—though this year we might abbreviate) and which I have grown to love.
Below my HJC ramblings which follow are links with mystic and basic insights into this most luscious of holidays.
Tu B’shvat marks the first Torah workshop I ever gave and the holiday customs hold universal appeal. So if you’re:
Vegetarian, even vegan? No problem. Although many people do serve a traditional dinner, fruit takes a central place. Fruitarians welcome.
Leery of religious restrictions? There are none. You can drive, use your iPhone, and bungee jump. As long as you “eat a nice piece fruit and make a brucha“.
Green-inclined? Fruit, fruit, and more fruit, all of which can be entirely organic and grown on cooperative farms by indigenous peoples anywhere from Latin America to Southeast Asia. Feel free to recycle.
International? Brush up on your Nahuatl, Amharic, Vietnamese, and Quechua. Practice pronouncing “rambutan”.
Gluten intolerant? Let someone else eat the wheat part of the seder. You’re not missing much anyway, it’s usually just crackers.
An old hippie? I heard that the first tree-hugger was actually a guy named Rainbow Shmuly who, in 1967, had one too many glasses of wine at his Tu B’Shvat seder and decided to go outside and hug the trees in solidarity with their New Year. From there it was a short jump to the summer of love, the environmental movement, and Occupy Wall Street
Politically incorrect? Use paper plates. Don’t carpool.
Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai-The Seven Holy Fruits of Israel (Wheat, Barley, Grapes, Figs, Pomegranate, Olives, Date Honey)