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Home > Holidays > Tu B'shvat > Haggadah for Tu B'shvat

Haggadah for Tu B'shvat
Haggadah Shel Tu-Bishevat

Hine ma tov uma na-im shevet akhim gam yakhad


For a thousand years the Jewish people lived in Zion, but for the following two thousand years Zion lived in the people. Throughout our exile and wanderings, Zion was the center of our life.


At worship we faced toward Jerusalem. At Seder time we called out, "Next year, in Jerusalem!" We prayed for rain in Zion, and celebrated its harvest festivals. We mourned its destruction and wept over its devastation.

Reader: Our hope was to see the fulfillment of the biblical promise:

"And I will bring again the captivity of my people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities and inhabit them, and they shall plant vineyards and drink the wine thereof: they shall also make gardens and eat the fruit thereof. "

(Amos 9:14)


Today we come together to reaffirm our bond with the land of Israel and rejoice in its rebirth. Tu Bi'Shevat, Rosh HaShanah La'ilanot, marks the awakening of nature after its winter slumber. As we celebrate this Seder, we renew our pledge to share in the rebuilding of Medinat Yisrael and make the desert bloom.


As we stand before God on Rosh HaShanah to be judged, so, according to a legend, are trees judged on Tu Bi'Shevat. These sentiments are expressed in this poem by S. Shalom:

The Fifteenth of Shevat

On the fifteenth of Shevat
When spring comes,
An angel descends, ledger in hand,
And enters each bud, each twig, each tree,
And all our garden flowers.
>From town to town, from village to village
He makes his winged way,
Searching the valleys, inspecting the hills,
Flying over the desert
And returns to heaven.

And when the ledger will be full
Of trees and blossoms and shrubs,
When the desert is turned into a meadow
And all our land is a watered garden,
The Messiah will appear.

First Cup (Fill the cup with white wine only.)

Leader: Our first cup of wine is white, symbolizing the winter. As we drink it, we recall that nature had been dormant these many months, awaiting the warmth of spring and the annual cycle of rebirth.


Leader: Let us recite together:

"He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle and herb for the service of man that he bringeth forth food out of the earth; And wine that maketh glad the heart of man, and oil to make his face to shine, and bread which strengthenth man's heart."

(Psalm 92, 14:15)

Baruch atta adonai eloheinu melech haolam, borei p'ri hagafen.

Fruit plates are on the table. Reader lifts and shows the plate of almonds.

Reader: The first kind of fruit we eat in honor of Tu Bi'Shevat is of the type which has an outer, inedible shell-the almond. In Israel, the almond tree blooms just about this time. Its white blossoms tinged with pink brighten the countryside after the bleak grayness of winter. Israeli children have nicknamed it "the Queen of Tu Bi'Shevat."

(Almonds are distributed.)

Leader: Let us recite together:

Baruch atta adonai eloheinu melech ha'olam, borei p'ri ha'eitz.

(Eat almonds.)


Tu Bi'Shevat is Here

The almond tree is growing,
A golden sun is glowing;
The birds sing out in joyous glee
From every roof and every tree.


Tu Bi'Shevat is here,
The Jewish Arbor Day.
Hail the trees: New Year,
Happy holiday!

Let's make the land a garden,
With water from the Jordan;
And our land will flow once more
With milk and honey, as of yore.

Chorus: Tu Bi'Shevat is here...

Reader: We have drunk of the fruit of the vine, and eaten the fruit of the almond tree. Trees nourish us, and we enjoy the fruit of trees that others have planted for us. As others have provided for us, we, too, have the responsibility to provide for others.

Reader: The Holy One, blessed be He, said to Israel, "Although you find it filled with all manner of goodness, do not say, 'We shall sit idly by and not plant', rather, just as others planted for you, so shall you plant for your children. "

(Leviticus Rabbah 208)


The Talmud relates that an old man was seen planting a carob tree as the king rode by. "Old man," the king called out, "how old are you?" Seventy years, your majesty," the man replied. "How many years will it take before that tree will bear fruit?" the king asked. "Perhaps seventy years," the man replied. Mockingly, the king went on. "Do you really expect to ever eat of the fruit of that tree?" "Of course not," the man said, "but just as I found fruit trees when I was born, so do I plant trees that future generations may eat from them."


In Israel, the Jewish National Fund has been planting trees for over ninety years. It planted so that future generations could benefit from them. It has made the desert bloom and turned the barren wastelands into green forests. Jews, wherever they lived, shared in this mitzvah of rebuilding the land by planting trees in Medinat Yisrael. We, too, have planted trees; may they flourish and be a blessing for all.


Every year, at the approach of Tu Bi'Shevat residents of Israel, young and old, veterans and new olim, civilians and soldiers, students and teachers from all over the country fulfill the important mitzvah of planting trees. This unique and magnificent educational act is being organized by Keren Kayemeth Le'Israel (JNF). Hundreds of thousands of people, among them over a quarter of a million students, from kindergarten to senior high school, participate in these tree planting ceremonies.

The days are among the nicest in the State of Israel.


Vekhi tavo-u el ha-aretz
unetatem kol etz ma-akhal
venatan ha-etz pirio
veha-aretz yevula.

et lintoa ilanot
et lintoa ilanot
et lintoa velisnot.

Second cup (Fill the cup with white wine, but add a few drops of red wine.)

Leader: Our second cup of wine is white, but tinged with red. It symbolizes the beginnings of springtime and the earth's reawakening. In Israel, pink and white flowers dot the hills and mountains at this season of the year.

Let us recite together:

Baruch atta adonai eloheinu melech ha'olam, borei p'ri hagafen.

Reader lifts and shows the plate of dates.

Reader: The second type of fruit we eat in honor of Tu Bi'Shevat is one that has an inner pit which cannot be eaten-the date. When the Bible spoke of "a land flowing with milk and honey", it referred to the honey from the date palm, tamar. The tamar is one of the trees which abounds with blessing, for every part of it can be used. For this reason, the rabbis compared the people of Israel to this noble tree.


"This your stature is like to a palm tree" (Song of Songs 7:8). Why is Israel compared to a palm tree? Just as a palm tree contains no waste matter, rather the dates are eaten, the lulavim [branches; one of the Four Species taken on the Sukkot holiday] in the Hallel [prayer], the dried branches are used for thatch, the fibers for rope, the twigs as a sieve, and the many beams for roofing the house.

(Midrash Rabbah, Leviticus)


The Garden of Rachel

On April 16, 1931, a fresh grave was dug here. On the white marble tombstone, one word was inscribed:


Her friends, who had loved Rachel and her poems, planned to fulfill her dream here on the shores of Lake Kinneret by planting a living blooming memorial - a tree. Upon the site where she had risen with the sun to begin her day of labor, Rachel's friends planted a date grove.

"The Garden of Rachel."

A fitting memorial to the dreams of the poetess-and a gift to the land. In ancient days the country had been blessed with magnificent date palms, but the trees graced the land no longer. The people of Kinneret said: "Let us restore to the land what has been taken from it. Let us restore to our homeland one of her ancient fruits. "


The late Ben-Zion Yisraeli, one of the founders of Kvutzat Kinneret and a friend of Rachel, took upon himself the task of planting the grove. All the members of the group joined in the effort. Friends front around the country helped and gave their support, as did the Jewish National Fund. Before Israel came into being, Ben-Zion secretly entered hostile Iraq, which forbade the export of date palms. At great risk and after many daring adventures he succeeded in returning safely, bringing the first seedlings of high quality date palms.

Third Cup (Fill the cup with red wine, but add some drops of white wine.)

Leader: Our third cup of wine, mostly red but with some white, represents the full arrival of spring. The red tulip and red buttercup spring up in Israel and brighten the countryside. As spring arrives, the soil is warmed and softened.

Let us recite together:

Baruch atta adonai eloheinu melech haolam, borei p'ri hagafen.

Reader lifts and shows the plate of avocado.

Reader: The third type of fruit we eat in honor of Tu Bi'Shevat has both an inner pit and a hard outer skin-the avocado.

(Avocado is distributed.)

Leader: Let us recite together:

Baruch atta adonai eloheinu melech ha'olam, borei p'ri ha'eitz.

(Note: Since it is most likely that the avocado has not yet been eaten this season, a special prayer may be recited:)

Baruch atta adonai eloheinu melech haolam, she'hecheyanu ve'keyemanu ve'hegeyanu lazman hazeh.

(Eat avocado.)

Reader: In the book of Bereshit, Genesis, we read:

"And God said, let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit trees yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, Upon the earth, and it was so.

And the earth brought forth grass and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind; and God saw that it was goal."

(Genesis 1:11-13)

Leader: When Moses sought to praise the Land of Israel, he made special mention of its fruits: "A land of wheat and barley, and vines and fig trees and pomegranates; a land of olive trees and honey". (Deuteronomy 8:8)

"Honey" refers to dates, because they are sweet.

(from the commentary of RaSHBaM, Rabbi Samuel ben Meir)

Eretz hita u'seora ve'gefen u'te'ena ve'rimon eretz zeit shemen u'dvash.

We have had wine and fruit. Let us have a taste of wheat.

(Cookies are distributed.)

Let us recite together:

Baruch atta adonai eloheinu melech hatolam, borei minei m'zonot.

(Eat cookies.)


"Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem, praise your God, O Zion. For He hath strengthened the bars of thy gates; He hath blessed thy children within thee. He maketh peace in thy borders and filleth thee with the finest of the wheat. "

(Psalm 147:12-14)


Shibolet basadeh
kora baruakh
me-omes gar-inim ki rav
uvemerkhav harim
yom ki yatu-akh
hashemesh ketem vezahav.
urn, hoi urn
shuru, b'ney kfarim
kama zo bashla kevar
al peney hakarim
kitzru shilhu magal
et reshit hakatzir.


At the beginning of the Creation of the world, the Holy One, blessed be He, was engaged in planting first (see Genesis 1:11). You too, when you enter the Land of Israel, engage in planting first: "And when you shall come into the land, and shall have planted all manner of trees" (Leviticus 19:23).

(Midrash Rabbah, Leviticus)

Reader: God created the tree for man's benefit. Therefore, it is man's obligation to uphold and preserve this legacy for future generations. The tree establishes a living link between man and nature. This poem, by Rachel, speaks to us in its simplicity.

Land of Mine

I have never sung to you,
Nor glorified you name
With heroic deeds,
Or the spoils of battle;
All I have done Is plant a tree
On the silent shores
Of the Jordan,
And my feet
Have trodden a path
Across the fields.


Rabbi Yohanan ben Zakkai would say, "If you have a planting in your hand, and someone says to you, 'Here is the Messiah'-go and plant the planting, and afterwards go to greet him. "

(Avot de-Rabbi Natan)


The Planters' Prayer

Our Father who is in Heaven,
the Builder of Zion and Jerusalem.
Be pleased, O Lord, with Your land,
and bestow upon it from the goodness of Your lovingkindness.
Give dew for a blessing,
and cause desirable rains to fall in their time,
satiate the mountains of Israel and its valleys,
and water in them every plant and tree.
As for these saplings
that we plant before You today,
deepen their roots and increase their magnificence
that they may blossom and be accepted
among the other trees of Israel
for blessing and for beauty.
Strengthen the hands of all our brethren
who labor in the work of the holy soil
and who cause the wilderness to bloom.
Bless them, O Lord, that they may succeed,
and that the work of their hands be acceptable.
Look from Your holy dwelling, from Heaven,
and bless Your people Israel
and the land which You gave us
as You swore to our fathers.


This prayer is recited during the tree-planting ceremonies of the Jewish National Fund. (Rabbi Uzziel was the first Chief Rabbi of the State of Israel.)

Reader lifts and shows the plate of raisins.

Reader: The raisin is a dried grape and it is the fruit of the grapevine.

Why is Israel compared to the grapevine? Just as when the owner of a vine seeks to improve it, he uproots it and plants it in another place, thereby improving it-so too, when the Holy One, blessed be He, sough to make Israel known in the world, what did He do? He uprooted them from Egypt and brought them to the desert, and they began to prosper there. They received the Torah, and their name went forth throughout the world.

(Exodus Rabbah 44)

Reader lifts and shows the plate of pomegranates.


"Come, my beloved, let us go into the field; let us stay in the villages; let us go early to the vineyards, to see whether the grapevine has budded, whether the vine blossoms have opened, if the pomegranates are in flower."

(Song of Songs, 7:12,13)


"And the pomegranates were in flower"-these are the children who sit and engage in [the study of] the Torah, and they sit in rows, like the seeds of pomegranates.

(Song of Songs Rabbah, on 6:11)


a. Etz harimon natan rekho ben yam hamelakh lirikho shav khomati gdudekh minedod shad tamati dodekh midod.

b. At kelula mikol kalot at degula banidgalot shtayim e1layikh kishtayim yoking vekol kolekh pa'amonim.

c. shad el hakeshet, shav hakhetz shad harimon el rosh haetz lakh veelayikh hakhayil yokhel bo-i kala ki rad haled

Reader lifts and shows the plate of olives.

Why is Israel compared to the olive tree?

Just as the leaves of the olive tree do not fall, neither during the summer nor during the rainy season, so too, Israel can never be destroyed, neither in this world nor in the World to Come.

(Babylonian Talmud 53b)


At the end of the flood, Noah knew the waters had receded when a dove returned to the ark with an olive leaf in its mouth.

Whence did the dove bring the olive leaf? Rabbi Abba says: From the branches of Israel she brought it. Rabbi Levi said from the Hill of Annointing (Mount of Olives) she brought it, as Eretz Yisrael was not inundated by the flood.

(Breshit Rabbah 33:6)


Ose shalom bimromav ho ya-ase shalom aleinu ve-al kol Israel veimru, imru Amen.

Fourth Cup (Fill the cup with red wine only.)

Leader: Our fourth cup of wine is completely red, symbolizing the full glow of summer. The crops are growing and flowers are in full bloom. In the months to come, nature will provide many varieties of fruit for our delight and sustenance.

Let us recite together:

Baruch atta adonai eloheinu melech haolam, borei p'ri hagafen.

Reader lifts and shows the plate of figs.

Reader: The fourth fruit we eat in honor of Tu Bi'Shevat is one which can be eaten entirely, the fig.

(Figs are distributed.)


Why is the Torah compared to a fig? Because every fruit has in it something inedible: dates have pits, grapes have seeds, pomegranates have skin. But every part of the fig is good to eat.

(Yalkut Shimoni Joshua I)

Leader: Let us recite together:

Baruch atta adonai eloheinu melech ha'olam, borei p'ri ha'eitz

© JTA Inc., 2000. May not be reproduced without written permission.

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