Where to Find a Tu Bishvat Haggadah

Resources for hosting a Tu Bishvat seder.

Tu Bishvat is a Jewish festival for the trees that falls in January or February. Originally, Tu Bishvat wasn’t a festival at all, but simply a day on which all trees were considered to age one year, a kind of collective birthday. This helped people comply with the biblical prohibition on consuming the fruit of a tree less than three years old. A mid-winter date was chosen because it marked a distinct boundary between tree planting seasons.

In the medieval period, Jewish kabbalists imbued the Jewish birthday of the trees with mystical significance. They recognized trees, like humans and all other living things, as vessels containing sparks of the divine which could be released in order to strengthen God’s presence in the world. They also pioneered a special ritual for the celebration of trees: the Tu Bishvat seder, which is modeled on the Passover seder.

In the 20th century, Tu Bishvat took on other significance in Jewish circles, primarily as a celebration of the land of Israel and as an expression of Jewish environmentalism. The practice of holding a Tu Bishvat seder spread far beyond the Jewish mystical community and is popular in Jewish homes and synagogues worldwide.

There is no single template for a Tu Bishvat seder. Some are infused with mystical insights, others are Zionist leaning, and still others focus on the environmental interpretation of the holiday. Most are structured around four cups of wine and the consumption of tree fruits.

My Jewish Learning has a sample Tu Bishvat ceremony and there are a number of Tu Bishvat haggadahs available for free online, most as downloadable PDFs. We’ve collected several below.

Tu Bishvat Haggadahs Online

A variety of full Tu Bishvat seder texts, along with individual Tu Bishvat readings and suggested activities. Hosted by the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, RitualWell is a clearinghouse for creative Jewish rituals and liturgy.

Hazon Tu Bishvat Haggadah: Seder and Sourcebook
Hazon is a Jewish environmental organization.

Long Island CSA Fair Trade Tu Bishvat Seder
CSA stands for community-supported agriculture, programs in which members pay a farm at the beginning of the season to receive regular (usually weekly) shares of produce from that farm.

PJ Library Child-Friendly Tu Bishvat Haggadah
PJ Library is an organization that distributes free Jewish children’s books.

Velveteen Rabbi Tu Bishvat Haggadah for Adults
Velveteen Rabbi is Rachel Barenblat, a Renewal rabbi.

Pri Etz Hadar, the Original Tu Bishvat Haggadah
Hebrew text and English translation of the first-ever Tu Bishvat Haggadah, first published in 1728. The text is available through the Open Siddur Project.

Rabbi Amy Scheinerman’s Tu Bishvat Haggadah
A printable text geared toward families.

Juliette Hirt’s Mystical Tu Bishvat Haggadah
This meditative haggadah is designed to guide readers toward forming individual intentions. You can download this haggadah and print it out or purchase a professionally printed and bound copy at cost of production on Amazon.

Know of a great Tu Bishvat haggadah that we missed? Let us know in the comments below.

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