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A Kabbalist’s Feast: New Edition of the Tu B’Shevat Seder

Years ago in the ancient city of Safed, a group of Kabbalists uncovered the mystical secrets of Tu B’Shevat, the Jewish holiday referred to as the “New Year of the Tree.”

The secrets this group revealed were compiled in the 18th century into a ritual ceremony patterned after the Passover Seder and observed on the night of Tu B’shevat, the 15th of the month of Shevat, which coincides with the full moon.

The seder features four cups of wine, a ritual text, various fruits, cakes and other delicacies. In place of the story of the Exodus from Egypt the Tu B’Shevat seder uncovers the inner dimensions of reality as revealed in nature. In place of matzah and chicken soup with matzah balls, there are a dozen kinds of fruit. In place of Seder plates, there are plates piled high with fruits.

What you will need for your seder: Red wine, white wine, beer, cake, olives, dates, grapes, figs, pomegranates, walnuts, almonds, carob, apples, pears, and if you can, candied etrog rind. In addition, bring other fruits with inedible shells or peels, fruits with edible skins, but have seeds, fruits that are totally eaten, and fragrant fruits. Use as many different kinds of fruit as you can find, especially exotic fruit that you rarely eat.

How to make it happen: Gather a group of friends, and ask each to bring something for the feast. Se

t the table with a fine tablecloth, candles, flowers etc. Have a good time – there is really no “wrong” way to do the Seder. You can use my Seder guide as a roadmap and feel free to improvise, make additions, sing and dance!

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Contact me if you have any difficulties with the download and we will email it to you!

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#JeSuisJuif

As we read this past Shabbat in synagogue from Parsha Shemot, God says to Moses, “I will be THAT I will be.” Rashi teaches that God wants Moshe to reassure the Jewish people that “I will be with you during this time of distress in Egypt and in future times of distress.” Moshe isn’t so happy with this. Why bother them with the news that there will be still other times of distress after this slavery!? “You’re right, says God, tell them…”

Moshe didn’t want us to hear the news then, and it is hard to hear the news now.

Our hearts grieve as one over the tragic deaths of our brothers and sisters, and a dozen others in Paris in the last two days.

You know what? God is also heartbroken. So heartbroken. Just as God promised to Moshe, God is with us in our distress now.

But we cannot afford to be silent, to sit in sorrow or fear in the darkness, because now is the time to turn on the light and bring blessing and goodness to the world.

Outpourings of kindness, mitzvoth, love for one another are needed. And prayer. Pray with all our hearts to God to protect our people around the world, in Israel, and bless us with peace.

God, you took us out of Egypt, to be your people. Don’t forsake us and don’t abandon us. Please comfort our mourners, and do not let their deaths be in vain.

#JeSuisJuif