Tu BiShvat Seder

When: 7:30 PM, Wednesday January 27, 2021
On Zoom: https://zoom.us/j/98217644015?pwd=Q3ZHb2ZiTC9SS0pMdmRVSFZUV2ZQdz09

Dear all,

This year, of all years, what a joy to embrace and celebrate the ancient Jewish holiday of ecological and spiritual renewal, Tu Bi-Shvat, along with my favorite vegan feast, the Seder Tu Bishvat. While it has been our custom to gather together in person and share fruits and nuts and stories, this year we are coming together in the holy Zoom Room, creating our own virtual arbor (in Ann Arbor and beyond) to celebrate the stirring of life, and the (ineluctable) promise of Spring, whose tendrils are just beginning to sprout.

Seder Tu Bish’vat is a special ceremony that weaves together two of our deepest passions, Jewish mystical tradition and practices (with roots in the Zohar and Safed renaissance of the 16th century) and our abiding commitment to eco- Judaism, to earth-centered spirituality and sustainable foods. This year we are suggesting that you have at your side at least one fruit or nut from each of the 4 Kabbalistic worlds, described below, and that you have at the ready both dark and light colored grape juice or wine!!

I will be sharing a revised and renewed (pruned?!) interactive Seder, for this year, as our interbeing with trees and the Web of Life is marked and celebrated!!! It will be a Seder of Joy, resilience, and fierce commitment to align with the healing of the Planet. Hope you can join us!

Come join us as we:

  • Celebrate the rabbinic holiday marking the promise of spring, the flowing of sap [Hebrew, שרף/seraph] through the trees and the re-awakening of the earth
  • Explore our relationship in & with the web of lifeerets um’lo’ah, the sheer variety of life-forms
  • Explore and align ourselves with the cosmic Tree of Life, as the kabbalists called divinity: Ilan ha-sefirot, etz ha-hayyim—open to the renewed flow of energy (shefa, divine abundance)
  • Meditatively move through the four stages of this seder
    • the four seasons
    • four worlds (key modes of consciousness): from Rooted Embodiment (Assiyah) through the World of Relation (Yetsirah) to Mind (Beria’ah) to the world of Pure Being (ah, Atzilut)
    • four cups of grape juice/wine, each with a different tinge, taste, symbolism
  • Explore the bounty of the orchard and forest: as we eat fruits, nuts, & sip juices with heightened awareness, thanksgiving and joy (Yes, this is the holiday all vegans love!)
  • Be ready to integrate: songs, poetry, sacred texts (from Safed to Baghdad to the Lower East Side), and to explore our own relationship with trees, fruits, and dare I say it: nuts. And our locavore delight: maple syrup. All that, and fruity-nutty-seraphic humor too.

So, can you devote a bit of your busy life to the deep (and deeply Jewish) celebration of the earth? What could be finer! There is, Hamlet notes, one fundamental question: Tu B- or not Tu B (ba-dum). Tu B-fully in the Season and the promise of Shvat. We will gather at 7:30 p.m. sharp, and be done by 9:30 p.m. at the latest.

I sent out by email a chart by Rabbi David Mevorach Seidenberg (of  neohasid.org) that graphically charts the flow of the Tu Bishvat Seder and yesterday’s blog post lists the fruits and nuts used in the seder.

Tu Bishvat sameach,
Reb Elliot