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Tu BiShvat: A Tree Table Seder

Follow these steps to create a Tree Table Seder. It’s a fun, hands on way to grow an edible crafty tree, sample a variety of holiday fruits, and consider the characteristics we share with trees and how they can us help us explore our own personal and spiritual growth.

Step 1) Grow Your Tree: Lay a table cloth over on a dining room or other long table. Gather a variety of nuts that you can use to create a tree trunk and branches. Almonds work well for trunks and branches, walnuts are good for roots or the base of your tree, and cashews work well all around. If you’re allergic to nuts, you can use popsicle sticks or even downed branches. Kale chips are great for adding leaves if desired. Get creative.

Step 2) Extend Four Branches: The Tu Bishvat Seder revolves around four cups of wine or juice and blessing and tasting different fruits: The first fruit is hard on the outside and soft on the inside; the second is soft on the outside and hard, with a pit, on the inside; the third fruit is both soft on the inside and outside. (see Haggadah for fruit samples and full explanations on the symbolism behind each fruit and how they represent stages in our spiritual growth.)

At the end of your tree’s first three branches, place the corresponding fruit type: e.g. 1st branch)  pomegranates or coconuts. 2nd branch) dates or olives. 3rd branch) figs or blackberries. 

Step 3) Your Seder, Bless and Sample Fruit and Wine/Juice: Start the seder at the bottom of your tree. As you work your way up the trunk of spiritual growth, stop at each branch to bless the respective fruit, and drink the corresponding cup of wine or juice. 

  • The first cup/fruit eaten is Asiyah, or Action, the physical world around us. This is the world of earth and the season of Winter.
  • The second cup/fruit eaten is Yetsirah, or Formation, the world of feelings and emotions. This is the world of emotions and water, Spring and thaw.
  • The third cup/fruit eaten, Beriyah, or Creation, the world of intellect and the mind represented by air and the season of summer.
  • The fourth and final branch is fruitless and God’s essence or spiritual enlightenment. Our hearts are full and we require no further nourishment.

Blessing recited over a tree fruit

Barukh ata Adonai, Eloheinu melekh ha-olam, borei peri ha-eitz.

Blessed are You, O Lord, our God, Sovereign of the Universe, Creator of the fruit of the tree

Blessing recited over wine or grape juice

Barukh ata Adonai, Eloheinu melekh ha-olam, borei peri ha-gafen.

Blessed are You, O Lord, our God, Sovereign of the Universe, Creator of the fruit of the vine

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