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Jan 28, 2010

Tu B'Shvat musings

Tu B'Shvat is one of those holidays that don't really have any celebration. If you are hassidic or sefardic you might have a "Tu B'Shvat Seder", which is basically sitting down to a plate of dried fruits and nuts. Not very celebratory as far as Jewish holidays go (compare it to the lavish meals we serve in honor of all our other holidays).

As kids we used to eat buxer on Tu B'Shvat. I can't think of any way more repulsive and repugnant of celebrating a holiday than by eating buxer. It was absolutely disgusting. I always thought of it like eating tree bark, but worse. We would nibble a tiny bit from the tip to "be yotzei", if we could get away with it. What kind of holiday is this if we have to eat buxer??? I don't see people eating buxer nowadays, so either it is not common in Israel or people finally wised up to the fact that eating something disgusting is a silly way to celebrate an important day.

I also heard you are supposed to daven on Tu B'Shvat to have a nice kosher Esrog on Sukkos. I don't know why you need to daven for an esrog more than for any other object of a mitzvah, but so be it.

What else do people do on Tu B'Shvat?

It seems to be more symbolic of the beginning of spring, kind of like Groundhog Day, l'havdil, rather than a real holiday.

15 comments:

  1. How about planting trees, eating of the 7 minim, fruits of Israel (NOT Turkish figs), having Seder Tu BeShevat. Some people avoid the seder like the pague, apparently it reminds them that Pesach is only 2 months away.

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  2. Kupa Shel Vaad Rabbonei RBSJanuary 28, 2010 12:52 PM

    How about an Emergency Tzedaka campaign?
    That's a great way to celebrate any day of the year.

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  3. planting trees on shabbos? tu bshvat falls out on shabbos this year.

    to rephrase, eating dried fruits and the like is not much of a celebration. not compared to the big lavish meals of other holidays

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  4. Not common? The hills around Beit Shemesh (across the valley, in the Kever Dan / Shimshon area) are covered in the stuff. You could drive over right now and fill your trunk to the brim with it!

    Actually fresh it's pretty good - it's when it's been dried out for a year that it's horrid. Also it's the outer coating that's bitter - the inside is sweet and kind of like chocolate, WHEN IT'S FRESH.

    BTW, ground up it's called carob, the chocolate substitute.

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  5. Akiva - still disgusting. By not common I didnt mean it cant be found. I meant I dont see people eating it.

    Also, I dont go much for substitutes.

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  6. (Rafi not G)
    What is "buxer"?

    Tu BiShvat is not a holiday as such. It's significance is esoterically halahkic only. BTW does anyone celebrate Rosh HaShana LeMaaser Behemah? I suppose that would be a good excuse for an "Al HaEsh" as a parallel to the Seder Tu BiShvat.

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  7. buxer is what we used to call the carob. I dont know where it got that name or if it is from a different language. that is the name we knew it by.

    Maaser behaima - that is a holiday i could relate to

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  8. Whoops!!! I meant of course to plant the trees before Shabbat on Friday or on Sunday.

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  9. FOR THE LAST 2 YEARS OR SO, LES HAS HOSTED A WOMENS ONLY SEDER FOR TU B'SHVAT AND HAD A NICE TURNOUT OF FRIENDS. SHE PREPARES A WHOLE SEDER PROGRAM AND EVEN A DVAR TORAH SOMETIMES. MOST OF THE SEDER CAN BE FOUND ONLINE

    sorry for the caps, didn't watch and I'm not retyping - -ppphhbbbtttt

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  10. In Bnei Brak yesterday there was a guy at the bus stop selling sedarim for TuB'Shvat in both Ashkenaz and Sephardi.

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  11. Rafi- I think the "buxer" was a BYYTT thing... Not sure where they got it from, but I remember it too...

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  12. Buxer is in Yiddish.

    Forget about the bad taste, it smells way worse.

    BTW, we still have on the table every year, though no one except for the pious come close. :)

    I know someone who had a grocery store and used to soak them for a week before and had steady customers come to him every year for his 'excellent' buxer.

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  13. I cooked for Shabbos with Olive Oil, does that count for anything?

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  14. Hey, Rafi! I'm really late with this comment, but that's b/c I was sick (I'm gonna milk this excuse for what it's worth), wasn't at the computer for days, and didn't see your post until now (hope you saw mine about Tu b'Shevat, and here, too...)

    I love Tu b'Shevat-planting trees (not on Shabbat) and eating the fruit while reading the appropriate psukim from the Torah and singing the various niggunim connected with those psukim, serves to connect me with the land of Israel.

    I also love the mysticism of the Seder, which we try to do most years.

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  15. Oops--forgot to write about charuv, or bokser! In grade school in NY, every year we students received a cardboard box filled with "fruits of Eretz Yisrael" which always included the strange, hard bokser.

    I never understood why we ate it; it seemed more like eating a pod, which it is! (I was told it is sweet, but had trouble finding the sweetness, between the seeds!)

    That said however, to this day, bokser brings back fond memories and reminds me of Tu b'Shevat. If I could find it, I would buy one, just for the tradition of having it for the chag.

    I'm just sentimental that way...

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