Fruits and Grains of the Bible
From Lisa Katz, former About.com Guide
The Hebrew Bible describes Israel as a land blessed with seven fruits and grains:
"a land of wheat and barley, and (grape) vines and fig-trees and pomegranates; a land of olive-trees and (date) honey." (Deuteronomy 8:8)
These seven fruits and grains are called the seven species (shivat haminim). While many other fruits and grains can be found in Israel, the seven species have special status.
The Jews and The Land
The seven species symbolize the close relationship between the Jewish People and the Land of Israel.
Deuteronomy Chapter 8 begins:
"All the commandment which I command thee this day shall ye observe to do, that ye may live, and multiply, and go in and possess the land which the LORD swore unto your fathers." (Deuteronomy 8:1)
Then the land is described as a good land with the seven species:
"For the LORD thy God bringeth thee into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths, springing forth in valleys and hills; a land of wheat and barley, and vines and fig-trees and pomegranates; a land of olive-trees and honey;" (Deuteronomy 8:7-8)
Deuteronomy Chapter 8 ends:
"And it shall be, if thou shalt forget the LORD thy God, and walk after other gods, and serve them, and worship them, I forewarn you this day that ye shall surely perish. As the nations that the LORD maketh to perish before you, so shall ye perish; because ye would not hearken unto the voice of the LORD your God." (Deuteronomy 8:19-20)
Thus, according to the Bible, if the Jews observe God’s commandments, they will be given a good land blessed with the seven species. If the Jews do not obey, then they will perish.
The Seven Species and Tu B’Shvat
On Tu B'Shvat, the Jewish New Year for trees, it has become customary to eat and bless the seven species.
While the almond (shaked) is not one of the seven species, it is the most visible sign of the arrival of Tu B'Shvat in Israel. With the arrival of the midwinter festival of Tu B'Shvat, the pink-white flowers of the almond trees can be seen all around Israel's hillsides.
Translations of Biblical Verses from Mechon Mamre Related Articles
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