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    Tu B’shvat Kashruth Questions

    There is a custom on Tu B’Shevat to eat fruits, especially those from the seven species with which Eretz Yisroel was blessed. Can you please review the order of the brachos?

    If one has an assortment of fruit in front of them, one should say the bracha of Borei Pri Ha’eitz on the most important fruit, and the bracha will exempt the rest of the fruit that one will eat. Fruit from the seven species are considered more important than other fruit. Among the seven species olives are considered the most important, followed by dates, grapes, figs and then pomegranates. If one has a whole fruit and a sliced fruit of the same species, one should recite the bracha on the whole fruit, but a sliced olive would come first before any other species even if it is a whole fruit. If one does not have any fruit of the seven species, one should recite the bracha on the fruit that they usually prefer. If one does not have any preference, one should say the bracha on a whole fruit, if one is available.

    Therefore, the order of the brachos is as follows:

    Olives, dates, grapes, figs and then pomegranates

    The fruit that one usually prefers

    If one has a whole fruit, this comes before a pitted or sliced fruit of the same species.

    Are there any special minhagim to be practiced in honor of Tu B’Shevat?

    The Magen Avrohom (131:16) writes that there is a minhag on Tu B’Shevat to eat many varieties of fruit. Some poskim write that one should especially eat the fruit of the species with which the land of Israel was blessed (grapes, figs, dates, olives, and pomegranates) [Yalkut Yosef – Minhagei Tu B’Shevat]. The Bnei Yisaschar (Ma’amer Chodesh Shevat) writes that there is a minhag to daven on Tu B’Shevat that one should merit a kosher and beautiful esrog. Piskei Teshuvos (288:7) writes that such a tefilah may even be said on Shabbos. However, one who sells esrogim should not say this tefilah on Shabbos, since his concern is for success in business and it is inappropriate to pray for one’s business dealings on Shabbos.

    Some have the minhag to eat esrog jam on Tu B’Shevat. Mishnah Berurah (225:16) writes that one does not recite the bracha of shehechiyanu, even if one has not eaten an esrog this season. Since the esrog can live on the tree the entire year, it does not have a specific season.

    From when do I start counting the years of orlah?

    Regardless of whether one planted a seed, a branch from a tree, or grafted a branch onto an existing tree, one must wait until after Tu B’Shevat of the fourth year to eat new blossoming fruit. Even if one uprooted an entire tree and then replanted it, they must wait the full amount of time before partaking of the fruit (Shulchan Aruch YD 294:16). However, if the tree was uprooted with enough dirt so that it could have survived even if it were not replanted, one does not restart counting the years of orlah (Shulchan Aruch YD 294:19).

    However, if a tree was uprooted with its own dirt and then placed in a pot without holes (atzitz she’eino nakuv), it is a matter of dispute whether one would have to restart the orlah count (Derech Emunah, Neta Revai 10:65). The rule is that all doubts regarding orlah outside of Israel are permitted (based on the fact that the prohibition of orlah outside of Israel is Halacha l’Moshe m’Sinai i.e. a set of laws given to Moshe that were not written in the Torah, where the Halacha was specifically taught to Moshe that only fruit that are definitely orlah are forbidden, but whenever there is any doubt, it is permitted). Therefore, outside of Israel, if a tree wrapped in a ball of original dirt was placed on a truck or car (which have the same status as atzitz she’eino nakuv), one would not need to restart the counting of orlah.