Multicultural & Non-English Songbook

Shivat HaMinim - The Seven Species

Music and lyrics by Joanie Calem

©2009 Joanie Calem

Tu B'Shvat is the Jewish holiday known as the Birthday of the Trees, kind of like the American Arbor Day.  In Israel, it is a time when school children go out into the country side and plant new seedlings every year.  People also have a festive meal, called a Seder (just like at Passover), that includes eating from the "seven species," seven fruits and grains that are native to Israel and celebrated with thanks at this holiday. Tu B'Shvat is a winter holiday in North America, usually falling in late January-mid February (the 15th of the Jewish month of Shevat).

This song lists these seven species in Hebrew and in English and teaches a bit about what they represent.

It is an easy song for children to participate in as there is an echoing clap following each species.


We are the wheat (clap, clap), anachnu hahitah (clap, clap)
Every week you use our flour to make hallah. (clap, clap)

We are the barley (clap, clap), anachnu hase’ura  (clap, clap)
We were the grain that made the bread at the time of Grandpa. (clap, clap)

We are the grapes (clap, clap), anachnu ha’anavim(clap, clap)
We make the wine for kiddush to bring the shabbat queen. (clap, clap)

We are the figs (clap, clap), anachnu hate’anim  (clap, clap)
Our trees and our fruit thrive in hot sunbeams. (clap, clap)

We are pomegranates (clap, clap), anachnu harimonim  (clap, clap)
Our seeds are plentiful as mitzvot* six hundred and thirteen. (clap, clap)

We are the olives (clap, clap), anachnu hazeitim  (clap, clap)
From our oil the candles burn to light our homes and dreams. (clap, clap)

We are the dates (clap, clap), anachnu hatmarim  (clap, clap)
Our fruit is as sweet as the love of elohim*. (clap, clap)

We are the Seven (clap, clap), Shivat HaMinim (clap, clap
B’Tu B’Shvat we come and celebrate with the etzim*. (clap, clap)

La la la la (clap, clap), La la la la (clap, clap),
La la la la……… (clap, clap)

"It is a land of wheat, barley, grapes, figs and pomegranates - a land of olives and honey-dates." [D’varim 8:8]

* mitzvot means good deeds that one does every day

* elohim means God

* etzim means trees

For Preschoolers:

1.  Show pictures of each of the fruits and the vegetables in the song and ask who has tasted any of them.

2.  Teach the rhythmic response of two claps at the end of every phrase.

3.  Review the Hebrew words.

4.  Review the concepts: in Judaism, there are 613 mitzvot, which are the good deeds that one does every day.  There is a legend that pomegranates are special because they have 613 seeds.  Ask the children if they think that this is true?  Ask if they think that pomegranates always have 613 seeds?  How would we know?

5.  Turn the song into a partner activity: Instead of clapping one's own hands, clap hands with a partner in rhythm.

6.  Add rhythm instruments: Have the children only play on the claps.

7.  Make it a mixer activity: Children can move on the words and then clap hands with the person near them on the claps.  For every verse, the children must find a new partner.

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