Seders are about questions. We see that of course at the Passover seder. But there is a lesser known seder that shouldn’t be forgotten – the Tu B'Shvat seder. Tu B'Shvat is a holiday which takes place on the 15th of the Jewish month of Shevat and is considered the “New Year of the Trees.” Like Passover, the Kabbalists instituted a seder of sorts for the holiday of Tu B'Shvat and for some reason it seems to be more widely celebrated in Israel, where I live. So here is my list of questions that I plan to ask at this year’s Tu B'Shvat seder. Feel free to add your own.

Questions Asked by People Trying to Figure Out Why We Eat So Much Dried Fruit

Why are we only eating dried fruits? Is this even safe?
Why are we eating almonds with no salt that are very dry and hard to digest?
Why on all other nights are our peanuts salted and enjoyable?
Why is my stomach hurting?
Why does this hurt more than drinking milk?
If I like apples and I don’t like dried fruit, can I please just eat an apple?
How does eating all of these fruits and vegetables still make you fat? Asking for a friend.

Questions Asked by People Who Are Confused About Israeli Agriculture

What are the seven holy species of the Land of Israel?
Is the pomelo not one of the seven fruits of the Holy Land?
If not, then why do they sell it so passionately in the shuk?
Similarly, shouldn’t sunflower seeds be one of the seven species?
Why are Bamba peanut butter puffs not a species? They are an Israeli national treasure!
As an aside, why are Bamba so tasty?
If almonds are not one of the seven species of Israel, then why are we eating the dry unsalted ones that make me cough?

Questions About the Environment and the People Who Care

Why did the Jewish National Fund (JNF) take my money to plant trees in Israel when I was a child?
Where is my tree? Why did the JNF take that money I earned from the tooth fairy and never tell me where they planted my tree in Israel?
Is it solidarity with the trees if I refuse to sit on chairs?
Why is he lying down on our couch?
No, you can’t sleep here. You’re here for the Seder. Why did you just drool on our pillow?
Why don’t you recycle something for once?!!!
Why don’t you take out the garbage every once in a while?!!!
Why are we witnessing a family fight?
Why have you never reused a plastic bag?
Why are you the only guy still shopping without one of the big clothy supermarket bags?
Where are the kids?

Spiritual Questions of Man’s Connection to Earth and Tu B'Shvat

How many times do we have to sing ‘Jerusalem of Gold’ to fulfill the commandments of this holiday?
Can somebody please pass another plastic knife and fork? Mine all broke.
Are we helping or hurting the environment right now?
Are you sure the Talmud teaches that we should eat all the new fruit? I saw some loquats in the shuk, and I didn’t buy them, should I feel bad?
Why do they charge so much for loquats - I want to celebrate Tu B'Shvat!
Should I go now? I think the shuk is still open.
(For those who live outside of Israel):Why did we not move to Israel, where all of this makes a lot more sense?
Why is my stomach still killing?

Questions People Ask that Show They Are Confused this is Not a Passover Seder

What happened to the second Tu B'Shvat Seder?
Why are we using plastic dishes and plastic cups for our Seder?
Is there anything that is not plastic here?
Why are children not asking questions?
Where are the kids?
Is there a commandment to burn all non-vegetarian food?
If it’s a Jewish holiday, shouldn’t we at least have Tam Tams?
What do apricots have to do with slavery in Egypt?

Questions Asked by Parents

Why do kids ask so many questions?
Really. Where are the kids?
Can somebody please find them?
Can you please tell them we hid the Matzah? They might come.
Why did we not get a babysitter when we knew we were going to be drinking?
Why did we pay for her to go to Jewish day school when they teach them nothing about Tu B'Shvat?
Can they really raise themselves? Asking for a friend.

Questions Asked by People Trying to Figure Out What is Going On

Tu B'Shvat is a new yearly period of tithing for the poor? What does tithing mean?
Can I give this man a tenth of my almonds? I really don’t like these unsalted almonds.
I’m sorry. I thought he was poor? Oh, he is your downstairs neighbor? Well his shirt looks really old and shoddy.
Why does this Seder not feel like a Seder right now?
Why do I have a stomachache?
How is it possible that this Tu B'Shvat Seder made me fatter?
When Pesach comes, I am going to eat a lot more meat this year. If I am getting fat anyway I might as well eat meat.
My fork just broke again. Can you please pass another fork?
Are you sure this Seder was good for the environment?
I still want to know where JNF planted my tree in Israel.

There are lots of fights at my Tu B'Shvat seder. These questions usually don’t get answered but as with many things in Judaism, it’s not always about the answer, rather, it’s about the question.

Happy Tu B'Shvat!