Tu B’Shvat Seder
(Listen to the lecture from 1:03:50 for more detail)
The idea is to focus on a large variety of fruits and nuts, not necessarily on quantity of each. Ideally strive for 30 selections.
Prepare 4 cups of wine or grape juice for each person. You will need both white and dark grape juice and/or wine.
1st cup: represents Winter; when nature sleeps, snow, blankness of the trees, talk about the changes outdoors, how the animals behave in the winter time. Use white wine or white grape juice only to symbolize the white of winter.
2nd cup: represents Spring; mix small amount of red grape juice or wine to color the white. Symbolizes melting snow, flowers that bloom, watch the colors change, talk about the changes that take place to the trees and animals.
3rd cup: represents Summer; mostly red grape juice or wine with a little white. Nature is in full bloom, talk about the changes that take place in the summer time.
4th cup: represents Autumn; full red cup of wine or juice. Rich deep colors.
Fruits: divided into tree worlds
Olam Ha’Asiya (World of action, this world) – Hard, inedible peel or shell, fully edible soft on the inside.
Bananas, Coconuts, Pineapple, Melon, Kiwi, Almonds, Walnuts, Peanuts, Pistachios, Pomegranate.
Furthest from perfection, requires the most protection. Peel away the shells that hold us back, the materialism, the yetzer hara that holds us in his grips.
Olam Ha’Yitzirah (World of formation) – Soft, outer edible peel, inedible inner pit.
Peaches, Plums, Apricots, Avocado, Dates, Cherries, Plums, Mango, Olives with pits
Less level of purity: soft on the outside yet strong inner heart. Pit represents regrowth, although we generally discard it and don’t pay attention to it.
Olam Ha’Briya (World of creation) – Edible inside and out.
Grapes/Raisins, Apples, Kumquats, Grapefruits, Oranges, Lemons, Figs, Pears, Berries, Cranberries
This is the most holy: represent people who are good through and through, inner and outer. This symbolizes Hashem’s presence in the world and our unbreakable connection to Him. No barriers – the Divine spark flows freely.
Olam Ha’Atzilut (World of emanation) – Fragrant flowers or spices
Pure G-dliness, wholesome spirituality, nothing physical; we use our sense of smell.
Seven species from Eretz Yisrael:
1) Wheat signifies chesed/kindness/work of the soul; Hashem provides for our basic needs such as bread. Rectifies our emotional realm.
2) Barley signifies gevurah/might/work of the animal soul; Used as animal grain. Elevates our physical drives to the spiritual plane.
3) Grapes signify tiferet/beauty/work on simcha; The idea of humility. Just as the larger, heavier clusters hang lower than the smaller, lighter ones so should those in Klal Yisrael who are greater in Torah act humbled even in front of those with less wisdom.
4) Figs signify netzach/victory/work on thoughts/speech/action; Be quick to perform deeds, seek to do good, to do mitzvot.
5) Pomegranates signify hod/splendor/work on mitzvot; The idea of collectivity and unity. We must rely on one another to perform the entirety of the 613 mitzvot.
6) Olives signify yesod/foundation/work on transforming the bitter into something good; Needs to be crushed in order to be used for light. The roots of the olive tree go deep into the soil holding it down and preventing erosion; so too Klal Yisrael.
7) Dates signify malchut/kingship/work on spiritual growth; The entire date tree can be utilized. The date tree grows tall and straight, so too the righteous. The tree is resistant to changing winds, so too the Jewish people.
** Use beer for barley.
** Use bread, crackers or cakes for wheat.
** Use honey as part of the seder.
** Put fragrant flowers and plants on the table as part of the seder and to smell.
(Listen to the lecture from 51:06 for more detail)
11th of Shevat 5778 / Friday,
Jan. 26, 2017
Shabbat Shira there is a special segula, good luck omen, to bake challah in a certain shape. It is a segula for parnassa. The diagram shows the shape of three circles. The segula is to bake 4 challahs in these shapes (3 challah rolls clumped together).
Place these challah forms on the table Erev Shabbat (should have a total of 4 of these challah shapes), 2 on each side of the person reciting the bracha of the motzei (2 on his left side and 2 on his right side) – one on top of the other. This according to the AriZal is a segula for receiving shefa, an abundance of parnassa.
Wishing Klal Yisrael emuna shleimah that each one of us should always feel ‘full’ and ‘satiated’ by what we have and recite words of appreciation and gratitude to Hashem for all of the goodness that He continuously bestows upon us, Amen!
The shape of challah. (Listen to the lecture from 47:04 for more detail)