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09.01.2014 13:31    Comments: 0    Categories: Holidays      Tags: torah  holidays  new year  tu bishvat  

Digest of the Laws of Tu Bishvat by Rabbi Shlomo Aviner



1. Tu Bishvat – the Fifteenth of Shevat -- is the date that separates last year’s fruit from next year’s fruit as far as taking tithes (Talmud Rosh Hashanah 15).


2. We don’t recite Tachanun on Tu Bishvat (Orach Chaim 13:6).


3. There is an ancient Ashkenazic (Mishna Berura ad loc., se’if katan 31) and Sephardic (Peri Etz Hadar Seder Limud LeLeil Tu Bishvat ) custom of eating a lot of types of fruit. There is no mention in those sources of eating specifically fifteen types.


4. It is good to look for fruits one doesn’t have the opportunity to eat all year (Mishna Berura 225, se’if katan 19. Viz. Jerusalem Talmud at the end of Kiddushin).


5. One should seek out fruits of the seven species of the Land of Israel (see Deuteronomy 8:8). Yet fruits from the Land of Israel that are not from those seven species are preferable to fruits of the seven species imported from abroad. This is because a bounty of fruit in our holy land is a sign of redemption (Sanhedrin 98a; Rashi). The Divine Presence rests upon the Holy Land, and it is absorbed by those fruits (Bayit Chadash, Orach Chaim 208). Therefore, our master Rav Tzvi Yehuda Kook would call an Israeli banana “the holy banana”.


6. Here is a practice of Rav Avraham Yitzchak HaKohen Kook: “To show his love for the holy fruits of the Land, he would strive to wash his hands ritually before eating them”(Lishlosha BeElul 78).


7. One should eat of the seven species first, in the following order: olives, dates, grapes, figs and pomegranates (see Orach Chaim 211:102).


8. If someone eats both fruit from Israel and fruit from abroad, he should conclude his after-blessing with the ending for fruit from Israel, “al peroteha” rather than with the ending for fruit from abroad, “al pri haetz”, for the former take precedence (Siach HaPesach p. 105, quoting from the Steipler Gaon, HaRav Yaakov Yisrael Kanievsky, and from HaGaon HaRav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv).


9. Our master Rav Kook wrote: “Tu Bishvat has some aspects of a day of rejoicing over our resettling the holy land” (Igarot HaRe’iya II,p.61).


10. Some have the custom of planting a fruit tree on Tu Bishvat. When I visited Jonathan Pollard in an American prison, Pollard humbly told me, “I have a very large request to make of you: When you go back to Israel, plant a fruit tree.”


I therefore ask our readers to plant a tree for Pollard.


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