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How is Tu b'Shvat celebrated?

by Rabbi Naftali Silberberg

  

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1. On this day it is customary to partake of the fruit which the Holy Land is famous for: olives, dates, grapes, figs and pomegranates.1 If you are tasting any of these fruit for the first time this season, remember to recite the Shehecheyanu blessing on one of these fruit; otherwise recite the Shehecheyanu on a different fruit you have yet to eat this season.

Blessing for fruit:

Baruch attah Ado-noy Eh-lo-hay-nu Me-lech ha-oh-lam, Boray pe-ree ha-etz.
[Blessed are you, Lord our G-d, King of the universe, who creates the fruit of the tree.]

Shehecheyanu blessing:

Baruch attah Ado-noy Elo-hai-nu Melech ha'olam she-he-che-yanu, v'kee-manu, v'hee-gee-anu l'zman hazeh.
[Blessed are you, Lord our G-d, King of the universe, who has granted us life, sustained us and enabled us to reach this occasion.]

2. This day is not one of the major holidays, and all forms of work are permitted. However, due to the festive nature of the day, we omit the Tachanun from the prayers. When Tu b’Shvat falls out on Shabbat, we omit the Av Harachamim from the Musaf service and Tzidkatecha from the Minchah prayer.

See also What is Tu b'Shvat? and When is Tu b'Shvat?

Footnotes

  • 1. Deuteronomy 8:8

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Shabbat
(pl: Shabbatot). Hebrew word meaning "rest." It is a Biblical commandment to sanctify and rest on Saturday, the seventh day of the week. This commemorates the fact that after creating the world in six days, G-d rested on the seventh.
Shehecheyanu
A blessing recited on joyous occasions. The blessing thanks G-d for "sustaining us and enabling us to reach this occasion."
Tachanun
Sections of the prayers involving confession and asking for forgiveness. Tachanun is omitted from the prayers on the festive days of the Jewish calendar.
Av Harachamim
A solemn piece of the Sabbath prayer service. In this prayer we ask G-d to avenge the blood of Jewish martyrs throughout history. This piece is omitted if Sabbath falls out on a festive day.
Tzidkatecha
A solemn piece of the Sabbath afternoon prayer service. This piece is omitted if Sabbath falls out on a festive day.
Musaf
The additional prayer service added (after the morning prayers) on Sabbath, Biblically mandated holidays and the first day of the Jewish month.
Minchah
Afternoon prayer service. One of the three prayers a Jew is obligated to pray every day.
G-d
It is forbidden to erase or deface the name of G-d. It is therefore customary to insert a dash in middle of G-d's name, allowing us to erase or discard the paper it is written on if necessary.