These three teachings were submitted by Jacob Fine, great-great-great-great grandson of the Zhidachover, the author of the first teaching. The second two teachings can be found in Yitzhak Buxbaum's compendium A Person Is Like a Tree: A Sourcebook for Tu Beshvat (available here). See links to more Tu Bish'vat Torah compiled by Reb Duvid and others here.|
1) It is indeed a sign of a good heart when one's every action is for the sake of God and he does everything with heaven in mind, nevertheless, this is not what we call "the perfect service" in the tradition we have received. So did I hear in the name of the Maggid (R. Yisrael of Koznitz), with regard to the talmudic saying, "What is perfect service? One after which no other service follows." The Maggid said: "When one's eating is intended only to strengthen his body for Torah study and worship, how can one call this a perfect service? While eating, he neither prays nor learns; hence this is merely an act of service for the sake of and which leads to the true service which follows." However, if the eating is done in accordance with the meditations of R. Isaac Luria, to refine and elevate the holy sparks in the food... then he can unify as much with his eating as he can with his prayer.
R. Tzvi Hirsch of Zhidachov, Sur me-Ra va-Aseh Tov, 116a, (18th-19th c.)
2) A blessing recited over a fruit that one eats draws down a supernal flow from above. The angelic minister appointed over that species of fruit is infused with power to again produce more of that fruit. Therefore, someone who eats without a blessing is called a "robber" because she consumed a creation that contained spiritual power, and destroyed and removed that power from the world. She should have drawn down a renewed flow of blessing from above to replace what she had consumed. Now, because she failed to recite a blessing, that angel is deprived of that power and has been "robbed"...To encourage this flow of divine life-energy from above, it is fitting on Tu BiShvat to eat many kinds of fruits and to recite blessings over them with this intention. Although this should be our intention in eating during the whole year, it is still true that it is precious to perform a mitzvah at its best time.
Pri Etz Hadar (ca. 17th c.), p. 3-4
3) A person should intend [on Tu BiShvat], when reciting a blessing, to channel divine life-energy to all creations and creatures–silent, growing, moving and speaking [inanimate, plant, animal and human]. She should believe with perfect faith that God, blessed be, gives life to them all and that there is a spark of divine life-energy in every thing, which gives it existence, enlivens it, and causes it to grow.
Rabbi Avraham Yaakov of Sadiger (19th c.), Beit Yisrael, Emet LeYaakov, 38b