TU B'SHEVAT SEDER, JANUARY 24, 2014
Reader: Every 15th day of the Hebrew month Shevat, Jews gather together to remember the miracle of nature and celebrate our relationship to it. We are about to begin our Seder, to taste the fruits of God's creation and to reflect on our role in the world. Let all who hunger for knowledge and change come together to reflect on our partnership with the earth and our connection with nature. Tu B'Shevat is a time for us to remember our bond with the earth, and renew our covenant with God. Today, as we eat, sing, and pray together, let us envision a paradise that we are partners in, shaping, cultivating, and guarding.
All of the things we will eat today (including Ice Cream) have special meaning for
us. Aside from ice cream, we will be eating several different kinds of fruits. Some of those fruits are hard on the outside and soft on the inside and some of them are the other way around—soft on the outside and hard on the inside. As you know people are exactly the same way. It is only after we get through the hard outside, that we can really come together as a community.
The Four Questions:
THE TEN (ENVIRONMENTAL) PLAGUES
1. WATER POLLUTION
6. GLOBAL WARMING
Distribute Grapes and Strawberry Ice Cream
Question 3 - Why do we have a holiday that honors trees?
Trees are a symbol of our investment in the future, and because they take so long to grow, planting them is the most selfless act one can make for their children. Trees give us shade and food; they purify our waters and house our wildlife. Honoring trees honors the investment of our ancestors and reminds us of our obligation to our children.
For all that they do, they are given very little credit and this day honors them and strengthens our often overlooked connection to the natural world.
Reader: In this section of our seder we eat a fruit that is entirely edible to remind us of the world's beauty. After each day of creation, God paused, looked at all of G-d's work, and remarked that it was good. As we taste this fruit we remember that although our lives may feel rushed, we too must pause to look at God's creations and learn to love and appreciate them.
Grapes are soft both on the inside and outside. Like a grape, our environment is very fragile and we must take excellent care of it. If we handle it the wrong way, we will likely hurt or crush it.
The bracha is said together for the grapes and then we can eat.
The next ice cream is strawberry because the best strawberries grow in the summer. In the summer we are able to enjoy less work, good times with friends, campfires, and barbeques.
Distribute Apples and Chocolate Ice Cream
Question 4 - Why is it important to focus on conservation?
There is a story told of a man named Honi. One day he saw an old man planting a tree. Honi said to him: "Foolish man, do you think you will live to eat and enjoy the fruit of the tree you plant today? It will not bear fruit for many, many years." The old man replied: "I found trees in the world when I was born. My grandparents planted them for me. Now I am planting for my grandchildren." And so Honi learned the importance of planting seeds for future generations.
Apples come directly from trees. They are hard both inside and out symbolizing the consistent role that God plays in our lives. The environment is God's creation and we only have the right to make use of it. We do not have the right to destroy it or abuse it. If you plant a tree or save a life (human or plant), it is as if you have saved the world.
One lonely tree, One lonely tree
Then came the chill
Then came the snow,
Then came the rains
Then came the sun and the tree grew lush