Tu BiShvat Prayers, Customs and Segulahs
On Tu B’shvat the sustenance of the trees are renewed and the gates of heaven open up to give ‘fruits’ of abundance in the spiritual and material sense. Through fulfilling these Tu BiShvat prayers and customs, you can merit blessings in many areas of your life and receive abundance for the whole year.
What is Tu BiShvat?
Tu BiShvat, the fifteenth day of the Jewish month Shvat, is a minor Jewish holiday that celebrates the renewal of the trees in preparation for spring. According to Jewish sources, it’s on this day that the sap of the trees starts to rise in preparation for spring, and the process of the tree coming back to life begins. Tu BiShvat is also called Rosh Hashana La’ilanos, which means the New Year for trees. It’s on this day, sources explain, that the trees are judged by Hashem to decide what kind of fruit they will bear in the coming year. This idea is behind many of the Tu BiShvat prayers and customs. We know that Hashem is involved in deciding what kind of fruits will grow in the next year. So we pray that His decision will be for beautiful fruits to grow.
There are many other prayers and customs for Tu BiShvat, as explained below.
How is Tu BiShvat Celebrated?
Tu BiShvat is celebrated differently in various Jewish communities. Many Jewish people mark Tu BiShvat with a festive meal of eating fruits, giving charity, and reciting prayers. There are different Tu BiShvat customs for the amounts and types of fruits that are eaten. It’s very common to try to have at least one seasonal fruit that you haven’t eaten all year, so that you can make the bracha of Shehecheyanu (blessing for new fruits). Another custom is to try to eat from each of the Seven Species, which are seven types of fruits native to the Land of Israel. These include: wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and dates.
What is a Tu BiShvat Seder?
The Tu BiShvat seder is a Kabbalistic (Jewish mystical) custom that was practiced by Jewish mystics. Today, many people create their own Tu BiShvat seder based on these mystical practices. A lot of deep ideas and significance can be found in the Tu BiShvat mystical seder. Some of the customs practiced include drinking four cups of wine, starting with a white wine and moving to deeper and deeper red. There is also an order to the eating of the fruits, of which there should be either 12 or 15, specifically focused on the inedible and edible parts of the fruit.
Tu BiShvat Prayers
Tu BiShvat prayers focus on praying to Hashem for good fruit. But when we say the Tu BiShvat prayers for good fruits, we aren’t only thinking about the fruits we eat. We also focus on the fruits we’ll need in the coming year to perform mitzvos (Torah commandments,) of which there are several.
Tu BiShvat Prayer for a Beautiful Esrog
The most famous example of this is praying for a kosher and beautiful esrog for the upcoming Sukkos. Many great tzaddikim (righteous Jews) used to pray for this on Tu BiShvat. This prayer is known as a segulah to merit an especially beautiful esrog.
Download here a beautiful copy of this special prayer.
Tu BiShvat Prayer for Good Fruits
Another fruit which we need in order to perform many mitzvos is the grape, which is used to make kosher wine for Kiddush and Havdala. In the following special prayer for Tu BiShvat composed by the Ben Ish Chai, we pray for all manner of good fruits and especially for the grapevine.
It is advised to say this special prayer composed by the Ben Ish Chai:
יהי רצון מלפניך ה’ אלוקינו ואלוקי אבותינו, שתברך כל מיני אילנות ויוציאו פירותיהם בריבוי שמנים וטובים ותברך את הגפנים שיוציאו ענבים הרבה שמנים וטובים, כדי שיהיה היין היוצא מהם מצוי לרוב ולכל עמך ישראל לקיים בו מצוות קידוש ומצוות הבדלה בשבתות ובימים טובים, ויתקיים בנו ובכל ישראל אחינו מקרא שכתוב: ‘לך אכול בשמחה לחמך ושתה בלב טוב יינך כי כבר רצה אלוקים את מעשיך
Translation: “May it be the will of G-d, the G-d of our fathers, May you bless all kinds of trees that they should bear good fruit in abundance and the vines should produce many good grapes, so that the wine that comes out of them should be plenty for the whole nation of Israel to observe the mitzvah of Kiddush and the mitzvah of Havdalah on Shabbos and on Yomim Tovim. And may it be on us as it is written: “Go and eat your bread with joy and drink with a good heart, for you will be blessed, for G-d has already accepted your deeds.”
Tu BiShvat Prayers for Good Children
Many people pray for good children on Tu BiShvat and merit to see Tu BiShvat yeshuos in the challenges of raising children. Tu BiShvat prayers in this area are specifically powerful, because our offspring is referred to as “fruits” in Jewish tradition. When we pray for good fruits, we can also pray for righteous children and grandchildren who follow Torah and mitzvos.
Tu BiShvat Prayers for Healing and Recovery
Tu BiShvat yeshuos are also common in the area of healing and recovery. The day of Tu BiShvat is designated for Refuah, healing and recovery of the sick for all the Jewish people.
Tu BiShvat Prayers for Kosher Matzah
Another species of plant that we need in order to fulfill a mitzvah is that of wheat. We use wheat to make matzah for Pesach. Part of Tu BiShvat segulos is to pray on Tu BiShvat that you should be able to obtain kosher and mehuda matzah for Pesach. This is a segulah to keep the mitzvah of matzah properly.
Tu BiShvat Customs for Fertility
Tu BiShvat Customs of Giving Charity
Another of the Tu BiShvat customs is to give charity on Tu BiShvat. This custom comes from the fact that Tu BiShvat is the day of calculating the new year for tithing trees in Jewish law. While today we cannot fully practice the laws of tithes because we don’t have the Beis Hamikdash (the Holy Temple) we can commemorate this law on Tu BiShvat through giving charity to the poor instead.
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Tu BiShvat Customs for Eating Fruit
Tu BiShvat Customs for Character Renewal
Tu BiShvat is a special day for a new you. Just as the tree is renewed on this day, so too, man can change his deeds for the better on this day. We can all become a new, better version of ourselves on this day. Even the wicked are given the power to renew their deeds. (Magen Dovid from Tolna)
Tu BiShvat for the Redemption of Israel
Our sages compare the Jewish people to a tree. Just as a tree stands bare and frozen in the winter, shaking from the winds and seemingly dead and withered, the Jewish people sometimes appear withered, thrown from place to place. The situation seems hopeless. But just as on Tu BiShvat, the frozen tree begins to regenerate and the sap rises within it, so too the Jewish people will be redeemed and resurrected. Just as the tree begins to blossom and bear fruit, the Jewish people, with the help of Hashem, will soon be able to lift their heads and be redeemed. Therefore, Tu BiShvat is a day designated to pray for the redemption of Israel.
The Impact of Tu BiShvat Yeshuos
Tu BiShvat is a powerful day to see yeshuos and blessings in many areas of your life, including raising children, health, and personal growth. When you fulfill the Tu BiShvat customs of eating good fruit while remembering to say blessings that praise Hashem for the delight, and you recite the Tu BiShvat prayers for good fruits and success in life, you can merit to see yeshuos in whatever challenge you are facing. An extra powerful merit for Tu BiShvat yeshuos is to fulfill the customs and say the prayers along with giving charity.
Year Round Segulahs and Customs:
Rabbi Meir Baal Haness Prayer for Lost Objects
Rav Meir Baal Haness Prayer Request (Kvittel) at Kever