Next week, we celebrate the holiday of Tu B’Shevat, which is known as the new year for the trees. There is a kabbalistic tradition to mark this holiday with a ceremonial meal, a Seder (similar to the Passover Seder), in which the participants taste the various fruits of the land after making blessings and expressing gratitude for them. It’s also customary to eat fruits you haven’t tasted before and to say the Shehecheyanu blessing of gratitude when experiencing something new.
“It is the custom of some to eat 15 types of fruit on Tu B’Shevat, while others eat of the Seven Species with which the Land of Israel is blessed. It is the custom of many, however, to partake of fresh fruit, dried fruit, cooked and preserved fruits, to the number of fifty, while others partake of 100 types!” (Rabbi Haim Flaji, The Appointed Festivals for All Living, 654b)
Using the texts below, explore the seven species of the land of Israel — blessing, tasting, and reciting some traditional texts associated with these fruits. Through the prompts, uncover and express the gratitude that resonates for you. You may do this with your family or others in a group setting, taking turns with the readings.