Tu Bishvat Seder
Tu Bishvat Seder
For practical purposes, I will allow myself to redefine the word "experience" with the term, "being".
An inspiration is the place in which the soul of an individual becomes attached to that of the entire creation and together they unite in a single living soul; This is the street in which the life of an individual and the life of the entire creation are transformed and united and achieve eternal life ... (A.D. Gordon from Man and Nature)
Being that man, as a human being should always spend time in nature; being that nature is to a person with sensitivity and awareness exactly what water is to fish. For not only does the reflection of nature within man's soul does man need; he needs the realm of nature, the universal and unifying pressure, that nature, that the infinite state of being presses every point of his body and soul and forces him to live, to be a human being and to be an individual himself. (A. D. Gordon)
I am hereby ready and willing to fulfil the commandment of the first cup of Tu Bishvat – a cup of white wine – a cup that signifies the Autumn season – the declining sun, the skies covered with clouds, and nature going into a coma.
Fill our granaries with grains
Fill our granaries with grains and our vineyards - with wine
May our houses be blessed with children and our cattle multiplied
Hey! What else do you ask of us - our homeland
That is lacking as of yet?
The world of Asiyah, the world of Yetzira, the world of Briah
Rabbi Chaim Vital, one of the important Kabbalists of Safed, teaches us that eating fruit on Tu Bishvat corresponds worlds reflected in the world we live in: The level of the Asiyah world, the level of the Yetzira world, and the level of the Briah world. Every level is higher and purer than the one preceding it and every one of them is matched with a fruit type that corresponds it.
The Fruit of the Asiyah World
The world of Asiyah is the lowest of creation, it is the material world, the world of extinction.
To signify this world, we shall eat fruit that need a good amount of external protection.
Fruit, whose internal parts are eaten and whose peels are thrown away: wheat, nuts, almonds etc.
The people of Israel are likened to a heap of nuts that is capable of be stable, only if they are put in place. If a single nut is pulled out, the entire heap falls apart and is upset. In regard to this our sages teach:
When dealing with every other fruit, a person can pull one out from a bag and this does not affect the rest of the fruit in the bag. But when pulling out a few nuts, the rest of them become 'excited' and unnerved. So are the children of Israel, if one of them is taken and placed into captivity, the rest are immediately alerted and they redeem him.
(Shir Hashirim Raba, 6)
Wheat and Barley:
What was the type of tree that Adam and Eve had eaten from? Rabbi Meir said: It was wheat. When a person does not exhibit knowledge, we say: This person has never eaten a slice of bread made out of wheat in his life.
(Bereishit Raba 15:8)
The Sea of Stalks:
Sea of surrounding stalks
The wind blew its waves.
A thousand smiles – has spring sent to me,
A lovely sun went out to stroll
over the strings that produce golden sounds
They sing across the light blue.
A thousand angels greet autumn with a song
kiss and caress wounds of leaves fallen from trees.
Loves, too, in a wonderful light,
Flourish once again in fields of melodies.
A thousand smiles sent to you - girl,
A bouquet of poems written to you by the poet.
About the Senses
These are the external senses. All admit, it seems to you, that the external senses are the primary means of feeling and awareness, are of special importance to a person who feels and knows, and it is incumbent upon him to develop them, to increase their strength and bring them to the highest perfection.
And in fact, what do you see?
Do not these senses become progressively limp, becoming increasingly damaged while the limits of human awareness and feelings expand and their supply becomes richer?
Could you find many healthy eyes, who see well and see far amongst those enlightened with science, amongst those who personally "enjoy" and call on others to "enjoy" nature, amongst those who see a broad and profound view of nature from their study-room and their demand?
I am hereby ready and willing to fulfil the commandment of the 2nd cup of Tu Bishvat – a cup that is mostly white wine, containing only a small part of red wine – a cup that symbolizes the winter – the revelation of early signs of awakening, blossoming of trees and nature in bloom. The beginning of a new life cycle in nature.
Blessed are you G-d our Lord, king of the universe, who created the fruit of the vine.
The Pomegranate Tree
The pomegranate tree gave out its scent
Between the Dead Sea Jericho
Returned, has my wall, your troop from wandering
Returned, has my pure one, your beloved of loving.
Treasures of Ofir and the balsam of Gilad
The chariots of Egypt, I've plundered for you, daughter.
A thousand songs I shall hang on you as a shield
From the Nile until the Jordan.
You are the most complete of all brides,
You are most distinguished of all the outstanding,
Your two eyes are like two pigeons
And your voice is like bells.
To you are the cheers, for you are the wreaths,
For you are all the heraldry,
What difference does an army of a thousand or ten thousand make?
My heart dies of love.
Fruits of the World of Yetzira
The world of Yetzira is the medium level of creation.
A level that entails the power of creativity and renewal, one that attaches the physical to the spiritual. As a symbol of the level of the Yetzira world we shall eat life-creating fruits with seeds: Dates, olives and apples...
Why are Israel likened to a date?
Just as the date palm has no wastes, rather: The dates are for eating, the fronds to praise with, its branches used as a cover (for the Sukkah), its strings for ropes, the stems for creating sieves, their beams to build (and furnish) houses. Likewise, the Children of Israel have no wastes. Some of them are well versed in the Bible, some – in the Mishnah, some – with the Legends, some – diligently fulfil commandments, others are people who excel in donating charity.
(Bereishit Raba, 41, 1)
A righteous person shall grow like a date palm tree and he shall rise up high, like a cedar in the Lebanon.
(Psalms, 92, 13)
Why are Israel likened to an olive tree?
Just as an olive tree does not shed its leaves in the summer nor in the winter, so Israel never ceases to exist, not in this world and not in the world-to-come.
(Shemot Raba, 36)
"And the pigeon came t o him in the evening in her mouth was a plucked off olive leaf..."
And since we are focusing on Yetzira:
From "On the Way Long Lasting Creative Works are Built" / Bertolt Brecht
Do works take? All the time
Until they are ready.
As long as they require effort
They do not sink.
When they call for effort
When they reward participation
Their essence lives on, as long as
they are inviting and rewarding.
There is room for art
those meant for perfection
which last for days
always about to fall
Those that were really planned at length
Are not finished.
Never go ahead before
you turn back and check the direction!
Those who ask are those
to whom you provide answers, though
those who listen to you, they
are who will ask you then.
Who will speak?
Those who have not yet spoken.
Who will enter?
Those who have not yet entered.
Those whose position seems weak
when you look at them
the strong people of tomorrow
Those who need you, they
will be in power.
Who gives art works their continuation?
Those who will live then.
Who will we choose as builders?
Those who are not yet born.
Do not ask: What will be their nature? But rather
Be the one to set it up.
Human beauty - if there is any human beauty worthy of this name - man can find only it in the real life of all the powers of his body and soul to all their scope and depths, since man can achieve human beauty only by raising his life to the stages of expressing a sublime ideal stemming from his unique self, and that a flaw in life ought to be filled not by an outer beauty nor by imaginary beauty, but by a light emanating from within.
Life is a great creation, an incessant creation, that one must not be distracted from it for a moment, if not for its own needs; Life is a living creation, that all the works of art must receive their lives from, the abundance of their light, which all works or art are not used for anything other than pronunciation symbols of written letters, a kind of strong emphasis in the heart of the supreme idea.
I hereby am willing and ready to fulfil the commandment of drinking the third cup of Tu Bishvat – a cup filled mostly with red wine and with a bit of white wine – symbolizing spring – when there are more warm days than cold ones, the cup of the days of with heat waves, the cup of the colorful carpets spread out in the fields.
Blessed are you G-d, our Lord king of the universe, who creates the fruit of the vine.
The Fruit of the World of Briah
This is the highest level reflected in creation.
It is the world of spirit. And to match it we shall eat fruit eaten in their entirety, with no loss and no waste. Figs, grapes and cherubs.
Why was the Torah likened to a fig?
Since all the fruits contain wastes: dates have pits, grapes have pips, pomegranates have peels, but the fig is eaten in its entirety.
(Yalkut Shimoni, Yehoshua 1)
Why are the Children of Israel likened to a vine?
When vine owners would like to improve their quality what do they do?
They remove them from one location and plant them in a different location and they become improved.
In the same way, when the Holy-One-Blessed-Be-He wished to make Israel known to the world, what did he do? He uprooted them from Egypt and placed them in the desert and they started to be successful there. They received the Torah and became well known around the world.
(Shemot Raba, 44, 1)
In the Land of my Love the Almond Tree Blossoms
In the land of my love the almond tree blossoms
In the land of my love we await a guest
Seven brides at the gate.
On the turret there's a flag
To the land of my love a pilgrim shall arrive.
In a good hour,
In a blessed hour,
That dispels all sorrow.
But who has the eyes of a vulture and will see him,
And he who has a wise heart will recognize him.
Who will not err,
Who will not stray,
Who will not open the door?
In the land of my love the almond tree blossoms...
"And man said this time, a bone of my bones, flesh of my flesh, this will be called a woman, since she was taken from man: Thereupon, a man should leave his father and mother and unite with his wife and they shall be one flesh."
(Genesis, 2, 23-24)
And in the same way, Gordon felt strongly that the distance be removed and one must strive to come to the point where "the soul of an individual becomes attached to that of the entire creation and together they unite in a single living soul".
The Fourth Cup
I am hereby ready and willing to fulfil the commandment of drinking the fourth cup of Tub Bishvat – the cup of red wine – the cup that symbolizes the summer – the warm days, the fruit as they are already ripe, the time of ingathering.
Waltz for Plant Protection
Daffodils are already blooming in nature reserves
Rugs unfold on the coastal plain
Anemone and crocus, a thousand shades and color
And the law that says - here is forbidden to pick!
Only me does the law fail to protect
Only I have no guards
If only I had sepal
My status would be different.
Rare birds are already sitting in a rock
Rare trees are preserved separately
Frightened deer gaze at the sign
In which it is explicitly stated that hunting is prohibited.
Only I have no sign that guards
Around me there is no fence
If I were - say - a deer
My situation would be different!
Sir, be careful, do not touch the Iris!
Colorful-mountains are off limits!
Every hill perked up on the city outskirts -
Is a wild reserve and a registered zone!
So, I sometimes think
Because it might have been better
This is How the Planters Walk
This is how the planters walk,
With joy in their hearts and a spade in hand,
From the city and from the village
From the valley and from the mountain.
On Tu Bishvat!
Hope for Peace
"Great is peace – that all the commandments of the Torah – are preceded by the word ki (if) – as in – If you see the mule of your enemy, if you encounter the ox of your enemy, if you encounter a bird's nest, if you build a new house...
When you meet up with the necessity to fulfil the commandment, you must fulfil it. But peace – what is written about it? 'Seek peace and pursue it', seek it in your place and pursue it in other places".
(Derech Eretz Tractate, The chapter on Peace, Law no. 4)
Do not halt after beating swords
Into plowshares, do not stop: continue beating them
And turning them into musical instruments.
Whoever would like to wage war once more
Will have to go back through the working utensils
Love / Amos Oz
It is impossible to "train to love".
Not the love of the land, not the love of scenery.
Love is contagious though.
You can sometimes arouse feelings of love
But not with an upheld hand
And not by force.
And it shall be, man, when you return to nature – and you open your eyes on that day, and you peek directly into the eyes of nature and find your image there. And you shall know that you will have returned to yourself. Since if you disregard nature you disregard yourself... and it shall be on that day and you, man shall be given a new spirit, a new hunger – not hunger for bread and not thirst for money, but – for work. And you shall find pleasure in every task you fulfil and, in every act you carry out, as the pleasure you take in eating and drinking...
And it shall be when you do your work, and the space of the world shall be your workshop, and you work with nature. And you and nature share a single heart and a unified spirit... and you shall work with energy, with power, with joy and you shall hear an echo resounding from you work, saying: "Work men, all of you work!" and you shall then know and contemplate in your heart about the fact that work has such a spiritual treasure that you see only the edge of... and afterwards nature's echo will respond with "Amen": saying: "Work, people: do not underestimate your work – and you shall complete that which I had missed, so that I complete whatever you are missing..
And you shall know on that day, man, with nature, since your eyes and all of your senses shall then be quite revealed, your heart – quite opened, your mind quite deep. And on that day, the light of your wisdom and knowledge shall not be a cold and terrible light, it will be a living light, flowing from all the worlds. And you shall know on that day, man, how you live nature – since you shall wish to know this.
(A. D. Gordon)
May it be the will of above that by celebrating this Seder, that in the virtue of the four cups and the merit of the fruits of the Land of Israel, that we be privileged to realize all of our values:
That every woman and man, that every single tree shall give off the fruit unique to it, in the community and in nature, for the love and the enjoyment of Israel's trees.
That we become renewed with a New Year for Trees that is good and flowing with endless blessings.