Part Two "For Man is as a Tree in a Field"
The activities below contain worksheets and require visual media preparation.
If there is insufficient time to conduct more than two short sessions, it is possible to limit the programming to the OVERVIEW/TRIGGERS below.
Triggers & Overview Activities
Tu B'Shvat Wall Exhibit
- Younger children, as preview to Seder Tu B'Shvat or other traditional activity; older children as preview to community trigger session.
- Wall exhibit / collage with details appropriate for questions below. Questions as worksheet.
The analogy between the Seder on Tu B'Shvat and Pesach led us to review several issues related to Tu B'Shvat. Of these, we bring a few - there are many more - and there are also more answers than we present!
- Q. Why was Tu B'Shvat selected as the New Year for Trees?
- A. Because at this time most of the winter rains in Eretz Yisrael had fallen and trees began to blossom.
- Q. How is the New Year for Trees traditionally marked in the agricultural cycle?
- A. It is the beginning of the calculation of tithing on produce.
- Q. What significance did Tu B'Shvat gain after the Exile from our country?
- A. On this day, Jews in the Diaspora developed the custom of eating fruits from Eretz Yisrael and so maintain the link between the people and their land.
- Q. Why is there a custom at the Tu B'Shvat Seder to begin by drinking white wine only and gradually move to red wine?
- A. The colour change recalls the process in nature - from white blossom to the dark red of the anemone and the poppy.
- Q. How is Tu B'Shvat marked in modern Israel?
- A. By tree-planting ceremonies, eating new fruits / 15 fruits / produce from the seven species traditionally associated with Eretz Yisrael.
- Q. What is the significance of Tu B'Shvat today in the Diaspora?
Shorts Activities on Jewish Sayings and Words
For teenagers & pre-teens
- Think of the answers you would give to the Four Sons of the Pesach Haggadah (the Wise, the Wicked, the Simple and the One who Doesn't Know How to Ask) in the context of Tu B'Shvat.
- Proverbs Tree
There is an ancient Jewish proverb which says that "man is as the tree in the field". Many of the sayings on the tree reflect this analogy, e.g.:
A tree with many leaves bears little fruit
A just man like the date palm shall grow
[Heb.: Tzaddik katamar yifrach]
The fruit resembles the tree
[Heb.: Ka'etz perav]
For the purpose of this and the following activities, consult our inventory of well-known idioms.
- Group the sayings into categories (positive/negative; analogous to Man or not; related to parts of the tree...).
- Draw implications about the meaning of the sayings from their layout; look for other explanations of the proverbs.
Explain the idiom - visual Activity
Pre-teens and early teens
Cards with idioms in/translated from the Hebrew or well-known English idioms related to trees [See inventory of idioms file...] Colored poster paper, writing materials, colors, scissors, glue etc. Headings or prepared lettering / computer graphics to title the worksheets
- An activity which can be worked individually, in pairs or threes.
- Each participant/group chooses from their own knowledge or the cards one of the sayings relating to trees/fruit and explains what it means. Examples: "For Man is as the Tree of the Field" "The apple doesn't fall far from the tree" [Heb.: ke'etz ken perav" is similar in meaning]
- Each person/group finds a way to use the saying in context.
- The participants can choose to illustrate the saying literally or metaphorically.
- Exhibit the posters, placing together any which relate to the same idiom. Allow time to view the exhibit, for questions and review.
Shortened Adult Activities/Triggers
My Own Ideas
- Choose a saying related to trees or forests suitable as a trigger in an analogy between Nature and your Jewish community. For instance: "You can't see the wood for trees" could mean the members of the community are confused by the excessive number of Jewish institutions dealing with different aspects of daily life).
- Each group prepares its own community forest on the basis of the different elements in the analogy between a Jewish community and a forest.
- Draw a comparison between the various types of forests in different ecological environments and the Jewish community within the surrounding political entity (whatever type of regime that might be).
Please see wall exhibit below, which can be used to round off the debate.