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Tu B'Shevat Customs

Tu B'Shevat Customs

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On the 15th of Shevat on the Jewish calendar we celebrate Rosh HaShanah L'Ilanot,the "New Year for the Trees." Some customs for this day:

• It is customary to increase in the amount of fruits one eats on the 15th of Shevat, in order to praise G‑d who created all these species of fruits.

The blessing recited on fruit is:

(In Hebrew:)

(Transliteration:)
Baruch atah A-donoy, Elo-heinu Melech Ha’Olam borei pri ha-aitz.

(Translation:)
Blessed are You, L-rd our G‑d, King of the universe, who creates the fruit of the tree.

• In particular, one should include among the fruits one eats on this day the species of fruit which the land of Israel is praised for: grapes, olives, dates, figs and pomegranates.1 If one eats a sufficient amount of fruits of these fruits, one recites the special after blessing Al Ha'aretz ve'al HaPeorot.

• One should make an effort to eat at least one fruit which one has not eaten that entire season, and would require the blessing of Shehecheyanu. When eating such a fruit, the Shehecheyanu should be said prior to reciting the blessing of "Haetz." If he has already partaken of other fruits (at that particular sitting) than he only needs to say the Shehecheyanu upon eating the new fruit.

The blessing of Shehecheyanu:

Transliteration: Ba-ruch A-tah Ado-nai E-lo-he-nu Me-lech Ha-olam She-heche-ya-nu Ve-ki-yi-ma-nu Ve-higi-a-nu Liz-man Ha-zeh.

Translation: Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, who has granted us life, sustained us, and enabled us to reach this occasion.

• Many also have a custom of eating carob on this day.2. There is yet another custom which many have and that is to eat the Etrog, either in the form of preserves, sugared slices, etc.3

• It was the custom of the famed Kabbalist Rabbi Isaac Luria ("Arizal") to eat 15 varieties of fruits on the 15th of Shevat.

• On this day Tachnun is omitted from the Shacharit and Mincha (morning and afternoon) prayers as well as from the Mincha prayer on the afternoon beforehand.

Footnotes
1.
Deuteronomy 8:8.; Nitei Gavriel, Laws of Tu Beshevat Chapter 2.
2.
It is questionable whether one says a Shehecheyanu when eating carob, since it is inedible when fresh. One must wait until it hardens a bit before it becomes edible and then the new carob is no longer distinguishable from older stock and thus would be similar to nuts upon which no Shehecheyanu is said (see Sefer Bircas HaShir Vehashevach for further elaboration).
3.
It seems that the consensus of opinions is that no Shehecheyanu is said on the Etrog. One reason given is that the Shehecheyonu has already been said over the Etrog on the first day of Succot. (see Nitei Gavriel, Laws of Tu Beshevat 2:7).
Rabbi Eliezer Wenger taught at the Beth Rivkah High School in Montreal, Canada, was rabbi at Congregation Oneg Shabbos in Montreal and the author of over a dozen works on Jewish law.
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Mercedita Cabagte November 26, 2012

Hi! Just curious, why is it advised to eat dried fruits?

Thanks for the info. Reply

April O Sacramento, CA February 8, 2012

Happy Tu B'Shevat! Hi and happy Tu B'Shevat!

Thank you for your answer :) Wish you a happy Holiday. Reply

Anonymous l.a., California February 8, 2012

to april o sacramento the answer to your is question (i'm afraid :)) is no, we don't specifically give presents on tu bishvat Reply

April O Sacramento, CA February 5, 2012

question Hi everyone,
I have a question. Do people from Jewish families exchange gifts or offerings on tu b'shevat?

Sincerely, Reply

Anonymous January 19, 2011

That is one good question ---I would really wanna know the 15 too Reply

Ruth Takoma Park, MD January 31, 2010

Fruit -- what's in season To Anonymous in Launceston:
Most of these fruits are eaten dried, from earlier harvests. Almond trees are in blossom. There's a photo of a Tu B'Shevat plate at the wikipedia entry. Perhaps it has to do with promise, or just celebrating what the trees bring us. And maybe eating the sweet dried fruits helped lessen the sting of having to figure taxes! Reply

Anonymous Launceston January 31, 2010

Fruit If the holdiay celebrates the leaf burst of the earliest fruit trees why then do we eat fruit which clearly isn't in season when the leaf is only just coming out on the trees? Reply

p shaer NY February 9, 2009

Tu B'Shevat What were the 15 varieties tha the Arizal ate Reply

David Beaulieu Boston, ma January 11, 2006

Tu B' Shevat and Groundhog Day I'm the Landscaping Guide on the About.com network. A reader of mine expressed surprise that I did not mention Tu B' Shevat in my article, "Don't Reenact the Groundhog Day Movie in Your Yard." She provided a link to this page on your site, so I decided to check it out and learn more about Tu B' Shevat. Very interesting. Reply