Celebrating the Jewish holiday of Tu B'Shvat


         

Celebrating the Jewish holiday of Tu B'Shvat

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Tu B'Sh'vat

Tu B'Shvat come this year on Wednesday, February 11th. It is the Rosh Hashanah (new year) for trees. No, we don't send new year greetings to our neighboring trees or even walk up to them to wish them a "good year." The custom is to eat fruit on this day. Many people try to find a fruit which they haven't yet eaten this year so that they may make the blessing "Shehecheyanu." (thanking G-d that we made it to this time) Especially now, people also try to by fruits that have been grown in Israel.

This is a time made for brushing up on the order of blessing that are made on fruit. Invite over your friends and relatives. A large plate or platter should be placed on the table. On it put many type of fruits, both fresh and dried. Raisins, olives, different types of nuts, apples, oranges, bananas, also grain products, the list is endless.

Now come the good part. No, not the eating! (Of course that is pretty good too!) The fun comes when you and your guests try to chose which fruit to take first. See who knows what should be taken first, then second, then third, etc. Well, where are we supposed to know all this? There is such a thing as a order of preference as outlined by a verse in the bible. In Dueteronomy 8:8, it praises the land of Israel, saying, "A land of wheat and barley and vines and fig trees and pomegranates; a land of olives oil and (date) honey" Now according to this list so is the proper order of choosing the fruit on the table. (Ah, you are probably wondering where are apples and oranges, right? - Soon, ) If you noticed that the verse is split into two parts. In both parts the verse is begun with the word "land." Now which ever word is closest to the word land has preference.

order
1st "land"
2nd "land"
1st
wheat
olives
2nd
barley
honey = dates
3rd
vines = grapes
 
4th
figs
 
5th
pomegranates
 

In cases of equal distance from the word land, the first land has precedence over the second. Fruits which are not listed in the above verse have no preference, so apples and oranges are equal in last place. Bananas and peanuts don't even make it to last place since they are not classified as fruit of the tree, but rather, fruit of the ground. You can still eat them but it's a different blessing.

Now get ready and see who of your guests know what to select first.

Do you know the blessings? Well just click here and see them in color!

 

 

 

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