Pray as if the Earth Matters: A Tu BiShvat Seder, by Sarah Barasch-Hagans, et al (The Shalom Center)

Created by students of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and Rabbi Arthur Waskow. Written by Sarah Barasch-Hagans, Sarah Brammer-Shlay, Miriam Geronimus, Lonnie Kleinman, Chayva Lerman, Michael Perice, Rabbi Arthur Waskow, May Ye. Formatted and Edited by Sarah Barasch-Hagans. . . .

סדר ט״וּ בִּשְׁבָט | Tu BiShvat Seder Haggadah in presentation format, by rabbis Rachel Barenblat and David Evan Markus (Bayit: Your Jewish Home 5778)

The Bayit’s Tu BiShvat Seder Haggadah in PowerPoint presentation format was designed to be projected on a screen to save paper; accompanied by instructions for how to celebrate Tu BiShvat. . . .

נשמה שנתת בי | Neshamah Shenatata Bi (the breath you have given me), interpretive translation by Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, z”l

This English translation by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi z”l of “Neshama Shenatata Bi,” was first published in his Siddur Tehillat Hashem Yidaber Pi (2009). Linear associations of this translation according to the nusaḥ ha-ARI z”l by Aharon Varady. . . .

אשר יצר | Asher Yatsar, interpretive translation by Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi z”l

This English translation of the prayer “Asher Yatsar” by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi z”l, was first published in his Siddur Tehillat Hashem Yidaber Pi (2009). Versification by Aharon Varady according to the nusaḥ ha-ARI z”l. . . .

A Blessing for the Bugs on Rosh Ḥodesh Elul and Rosh Hashana LaBehemot, by Trisha Arlin

I have come to see That we are not the only creatures who are B’tzelem Elohim, We are all in God’s image. So today, on Rosh Ḥodesh Elul, On the New Year of the Domesticated Beasts, Let’s give thanks to the bugs Like the four questioning children Wise and snarky and simple and oblivious, Like the four worlds of the kabbala The earth, the sky, the heart and the spirit We give thanks and acknowledge The bugs we have domesticated The bugs who serve us in their wild state The bugs that hurt us or gross us out And the bugs who live only for themselves, without any reference to us. . . .

הגדה לסדר פסח | Haggadah of the Inner Seder, by Rabbi David Seidenberg (neohasid.org)

The Haggadah of the Inner Seder focuses on revealing the inner structure of the seder. This haggadah gives signposts and cues as to where the important shifts in meaning are happening. It also makes clear the seder’s structure and adds in some commentaries that will make sense of not just what things mean but how they work. It also includes some of the customs I am fond of. It does not include a lot of material meant to update the seder or to bring in contemporary issues (though it does have a few commentaries related to peace between Israelis and Palestinians). The Haggadah is 18 pages long. . . .

סדר ט״וּ בִּשְׁבָט | A Tu BiShvat Seder to Heal the Wounded Earth, by Rabbi Arthur Waskow (The Shalom Center)

This Tu BiShvat haggadah focuses on healing the wounded Earth today, with passages on major policy questions facing the human race in the midst of a great climate crisis and massive extinctions of species. In each of the Four Worlds in this Haggadah (Earth, Water, Air, Fire) there are traditional, mystical, and poetical passages, and in each there are also contemporary passages on aspects of public policy (Earth: food and forest; Water: fracking; Air: climate; Fire: alternative and renewable energy sources.) These policy-oriented passages help make this a distinctive Haggadah. After these passages, this Haggadah encourages Seder participants to take time for discussion. They may also decide to omit some passages and/or add others. The desire for such a Haggadah grew from discussions of the Green Hevra, a network of Jewish environmental organizations. Thanks to Judith Belasco, Rabbi Mordechai Liebling, Sybil Sanchez, Rabbi David Seidenberg, Richard Schwartz, Rabbi David Shneyer, and Yoni Stadlin for comments on an earlier draft of this Haggadah. . . .

סדר ט״וּ בִּשְׁבָט | Seder Rosh Hashanah La’Ilan: A four worlds seder for Tu Bishvat, by Rabbi R. Karpov

A four worlds, neo-ḥasidic haggadah for the Seder Tu BiShvat . . .

ט״וּ בִּשְׁבָט | Rebirthing the Tree(s) of Life: Four Teachings for the Four Worlds of Tu BiShvat/Yah BiShvat by Arthur Waskow

The four teachings above are connected with the Four Worlds that the kabbalists saw as the architecture of the universe. When the Kabbalistic community of Tz’fat created the Seder for Tu BiShvat/ Yah BiShvat, they unfolded these Four Worlds in four cups of wine and four sorts of fruit and nuts (one sort so ethereal it was invisible and untouchable). This year, the full moon of Shvat will fall on Shabbat Shira itself, January 24-25. . . .

ברכה לסבוב הסביבון | A Blessing for Dreidel Spinning, by Lieba B. Deutsch

Every Jewish holy day, even Shabbat and the highest ones, we call forth all the 22 Hebrew Letters to join us in celebration. For those of us who study Kabbalah from within the realm of the Alef-Bet, Ḥanukkah is unique in that we are given a magical tool with which to activate these signs and wonders. . . .

סדר אכילת הסמנים | Seder Akhilat haSimanim: The “Symbolic Foods of Life” Seder for Rosh Hashanah by R’ R. Karpov, Ph.D.

Ḥazal, — some of our Jewish Sages, May Their Memory Be For A Blessing — suggest that ‘simanah milsah‘ — a symbol has significance. Some of the teachers of Jewish tradition encourage us on Rosh HaShanah to partake of a variety of foods suggestive of prosperity and happiness. This usage is alluded to in the directive of the prophet Nechemiah to the assembly: ‘Go your way, eat the fat and drink the sweet …” (Nechemiah 8:10). Our kavvanoth — sacred intentions — are that these Symbolic Foods Of Life are to help us effect a good coming year. . . .

סדר ט״וּ בִּשְׁבָט | A Tu Bishvat Seder Meditation on the World of Yetsira, by Ben Murane

The Tu Bishvat seder is a metaphor. But usually we use metaphor in our daily lives to accomplish, persuade, inspire or explain. There is something we’re bending metaphor to accomplish. This meditation is an exercise in free-thinking. Here, just play with metaphor for the sake of expressing and exploring your emotional state, history, anticipations and apprehensions. Each of the quotations from the Torah or rabbinical writings below represents an emotion. After we say the blessing over the olives, read the quotations, pick one (or more) that resonate, and play with the metaphor to reach a deeper understanding of yourself and others. . . .

סדר ט״וּ בִּשְׁבָט | On Sweet Fruit and Deep Mysteries: Kabbalistic and Midrashic Texts to Sweeten your Tu Bishvat Seder, by Rabbi David Seidenberg (neohasid.org)

From [the Holy One’s] form/to’ar the constellations are shimmering, and God’s form projects the exalted ones. And Her crown blazes [with] the mighty, and His garment flows with the precious. And all the trees will rejoice in the word, and the plants will exult in His rejoicing, and His words shall drop as perfumes, flowing forth flames of fire, giving joy to those who search them, and quiet to those who fulfill them. . . .

סדר ט״וּ בִּשְׁבָט | The Trees are Davvening, a Tu Bishvat Seder Haggadah by Barak Gale and Ami Goodman with excerpts from the P’ri Ets Hadar (1991 abridged)

Tu biShvat, the 15th of the month of Shevat, was designated by the Talmud as the New Year for the Trees. It was tax time for HaShem, a time of tithing for the poor. This tithing has its origin in the following Torah verse: “Every year, you shall set aside a tenth part of the yield, so that you may learn to revere your God forever.” The Kabbalists of 17th century Safed developed the model of tikkun olam that we embrace today — healing the world by gathering the scattered holy sparks. To encourage the Divine flow — shefa — and to effect Tikkun Olam, the Kabbalists of Safed (16th century) created a Tu biShvat seder loosely modeled after the Passover seder. In recent decades we have learned how the well being of trees is intimately connected to the well being of all creation. This relationship is clearly stated in the following Midrash: “If not for the trees, human life could not exist.” (Midrsh Sifre to Deut. 20:19) Today the stakes of environmental stewardship have become very high. Tu biShvat calls upon us to cry out against the enormity of destruction and degradation being inflicted upon God’s world. This degradation includes global warming, massive deforestation, the extinction of species, poisonous deposits of toxic chemicals and nuclear wastes, and exponential population growth. We are also deeply concerned that the poor suffer disproportionately from environmental degradation. Rabbi Abraham Heschel wrote: “[Human beings have] indeed become primarily tool-making animal[s], and the world is now a gigantic tool box for the satisfaction of [their] needs…” . . .

סדר ט״וּ בִּשְׁבָט | The Trees are Davvening: A Tu biShvat Haggadah Celebrating our Kinship with the Trees and the Earth, by Barak Gale and Ami Goodman (1991, unabridged)

THE TREES ARE DAVENING: A Tu biShvat Haggadah Celebrating Our Kinship with the Trees and the Earth Developed by: Dr. Barak Gale, Congregation Sha’ar Zahav, San Francisco Dr. Ami Goodman, Congregation Beth Sholom, San Francisco

Hebrew English אִם אֵין אֲנִי לִי, מִי לִי.‏           וּכְשֶׁאֲנִי לְעַצְמִי, מָה אֲנִי.‏       . . .

סידור תהילת ה׳ ידבר פי | Siddur Tehillat Hashem Yidaber Pi: A Weekday Siddur ~ As I Can Say It (for Praying in the Vernacular), by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi (2009)

If you are not used to reading Hebrew with comprehension and with the ability to dilate the Hebrew from the literal meaning, or if you cannot read Hebrew and need a resource for daily davvenen, I offer you this set of texts, which I, too, use frequently for myself. I translated the Psalms and the liturgy in the way in which I experience them in my feeling consciousness. This does not offer the ‘pshat’, the literal meaning of the words, but the devotional interpretation that can make it a prayer of the heart. . . .


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