From Figs to Pomegranates

In the Torah, the Land of Israel is described by God to be a land “flowing with milk and honey” (Exodus 3:8).  Once you taste the fruit in the Holy Land, you will understand that this biblical reference remains true, even in modern times.

As mentioned in a previous post about ice cream and sorbet, the produce in the Holy Land is f-r-e-s-h.  There is always a fruit in season that the whole country raves about.  A few weeks ago the talk was about figs.  For the next few weeks, pomegranates will be hot on the market.

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figs entering Jerusalem’s shuk (market). Photo courtesy Jessica Curhan for Breakingbreadjourneys.com

Both figs and pomegranates are considered to be part of the Seven Species.  According to Judaism, these fruits are special and during the times of the Temple, they were brought to the Temple as an offering to God.  Today, because there is no Temple, Jews say a special prayer before eating one of the seven species.  The other five other species are wheat, barley, grapevines, olives, and date honey (which is believed to be the honey in the biblical reference mentioned above).

According to Christianity, the fig symbolizes the search for truth.  A way to search for truth is by producing fruit.  It is said that if a Christian does not produce fruit in a certain period of time, his life is cut off from God because God does not profit from unproductive Christians.  When the New Testament talks about this, it specifically references fig trees.  Perhaps it refers to fig trees because it is a sterile fruit, meaning it requires seasonal labor.

Fun fact: It is believed that edible figs are one of the first plants cultivated by humans back in 9400–9200 BCE.
More fun (because “funner” isn’t a word) fact: It is also believed that these figs were cultivated in t
he Holy Land’s Jordan Valley.

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pomegranates in Jerusalem’s shuk #nofilter. Photo courtesy Jessica Curhan for Breakingbreadjourneys.com

It is also written in the Torah that Adam and Eve “sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths” (Genesis 3:7) once they discovered they were naked.  They discovered their nakedness after they ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil.  Some Jewish scholars believe that it was a pomegranate Adam and Eve ate.  Additionally, is believed that pomegranates contain 613 seeds, which correlates with the 613 commandments.

In Christianity, opening pomegranates symbolizes the fullness of Jesus’ suffering and resurrection.  Pomegranates are used for religions decoration in both Christianity and Judaism.

Which fruit season do you want to be in when you come on a Holy Land tour?

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