Religion & Beliefs

A Seder of Scents for Tu B’Shevat

Rabbi Jill Hammer has a very interesting bit over on RitualWell about Rosh Chodesh Shevat, the first of the month of Shevat, when women and some men can hold an alternative to the Tu B'Shevat seder. Tu B'Shevat celebrates the … Read More

By / January 23, 2008

Rabbi Jill Hammer has a very interesting bit over on RitualWell about Rosh Chodesh Shevat, the first of the month of Shevat, when women and some men can hold an alternative to the Tu B'Shevat seder. Tu B'Shevat celebrates the birthday of a community's trees — useful because taxes depending on how old the trees were. But as Rabbi Hammer explains:

[T]here is a Talmudic passage that some rabbis believed the date of the birthday of the trees was the first of Shevat. Women, or women and men, who celebrate Rosh Chodesh together as a sacred time can honor that minority opinion by engaging in a "Rosh Chodesh Shevat seder." The Tu b'Shevat seder celebrates the multiple faces of God, and the fruits of the land this Rosh Chodesh Shevat seder will revive the facets of our souls as we prepare for spring. Instead of a seder of taste, this will be a seder of fragrances. Just as we smell spices to enliven us at the end of havdalah, we will use our sense of smell to wake us up to the worlds around us and the worlds within us.

We missed the boat this year for Rosh Chodesh, but it's something to consider for next year — or at least something to consider considering.

JOFA also has an interesting take on a Tu B'Shevat seder.