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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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Discussion (9)
November 26, 2012
Hi! Just curious, why is it advised to eat dried fruits?

Thanks for the info.
Mercedita Cabagte
February 8, 2012
Happy Tu B'Shevat!
Hi and happy Tu B'Shevat!

Thank you for your answer :) Wish you a happy Holiday.
April O
Sacramento, CA
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
Anonymous
l.a., California
February 5, 2012
question
Hi everyone,
I have a question. Do people from Jewish families exchange gifts or offerings on tu b'shevat?

Sincerely,
April O
Sacramento, CA
January 19, 2011
That is one good question ---I would really wanna know the 15 too
Anonymous
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!
Ruth
Takoma Park, MD
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?
Anonymous
Launceston
February 9, 2009
Tu B'Shevat
What were the 15 varieties tha the Arizal ate
p shaer
NY
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.
David Beaulieu
Boston, ma
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