You may have heard of a Passover seder, but did you know that many people celebrate Tu BiSh'vat with seders also?
With the revival of Jewish mysticism—kabbalah—in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, Tu BiSh'vat received renewed attention and importance. The kabbalists created a special ritual, modeled after the Passover seder, which celebrated God’s presence in the natural world. This ceremony focused on eating several varieties of fruit and drinking four different colors of wine. As the rituals and readings for the Tu BiSh'vat seder developed, they were eventually collected into a book, Pri Etz Hadar, (The Fruit of the Goodly Tree), which was published in 1753.
Many of our contemporary Tu BiSh'vat haggadot (texts that set forth the order of the seder) draw on its rituals. Often we group the fruits into three types: fruits with tough outer shells and edible interiors (melons, peanuts, pomegranates, coconuts, citrus, etc), fruits with edible exteriors and inedible pits (dates, olives, plums, peaches, apples, etc) and fruits that are entirely edible (berries, figs, grapes, etc). These are said to represent different seasons and/or ways of being in the world, often following kabbalistic categories.
Below are some seders for you to download and enjoy with your family or community.