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pomegranates.” Deuteronomy 8:7–9 . and deep springs gushing out into the valleys and hills. olive oil and honey. a land with wheat and barley.Seven FruitS oF iSrael Wheat ‫חיטה‬ Barley ‫שעורה‬ Grapes ‫ענבים‬ Figs ‫תאנים‬ Pomegranates ‫רימונים‬ Olive Oil ‫שמן זית‬ Dates ‫תמרים‬ “For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land—a land with brooks. a land where the rocks are iron and you can dig copper out of the hills. streams. a land where bread will not be scarce and you will lack nothing. vines and fig trees.

I hope this brief background on the history and spiritual significance of the seven fruits will make this booklet useful as a cookbook and as a starting point for spiritual reflection. I recite a blessing over it and reflect on how blessed I am to be eating the fruits of Israel—something my ancestors could only dream about through 2. each one of the Seven fruits of Israel represent a unique attribute of God and deserves a special berakhah (blessing) to be recited over them. vines and fig trees. the seven fruits are considered more special than other fruits. pomegranates.” on Sukkot. God made a promise to Israel that when they returned to the land. even in exile. I see this every day. Thank you for your interest in the land and the people of Israel—the land and people of the Bible! With blessings from the Holy Land. the Festival of Tabernacles or Booths. Deuteronomy 8:8 says that Israel was “a land with wheat and barley. So it is a true joy and delight for me to share with you this book of recipes and devotions that I wrote from here in the Holy Land. the Festival of Weeks.000 years of exile! The seven fruits are traditionally eaten on Tu B’Shvat.” These seven foods—two grains and five fruits—are known in Jewish teaching as the seven fruits (Hebrew: Shiv’at HaMinim). the Jewish “New Year for Trees. In halakha (Jewish law).Shalom. the seven fruits have played an important role in the diet of the Jewish people and in the religious traditions of Judaism. and on Shavuot. olive oil. which are mentioned as being special products of the Holy Land. One of the best parts of my role with the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews is getting to introduce friends like you to the beauty and wonders of the land of Israel. Yael Eckstein Senior Vice-President International Fellowship of Christians and Jews 3 . Often when I pick a fruit to eat. and [date] honey. As you will learn in this booklet. For thousands of years. the desert would bloom (Isaiah 35:1).

4 . Food for Thought: We must put thanksgiving and intention back into the simple things in life. and other provision that God graciously gives through His creation of nature. fruit.” a promise that speaks to His goodness and loving care for us. and everyone scrambling for the next new gadget.” Wheat is a picture of God’s eternal love for His children. Amen. is known as the “breadbasket” of Israel. vegetables. and today it is still one of the staples of the Jewish diet. In Psalm 147. The way to practice chesed is to reach out and give as an expression of kindness to others. simple acts. In this verse He assures us of the abundance He will provide and the safety He alone brings through peace. where most of our wheat crops are grown.God’s Unfailing Love for Israel “He grants peace to your borders and satisfies you with the finest of wheat. In Jewish teaching. God promises His gracious provision in the supply of the “finest of wheat. Even today in modern Israel. as described in Leviticus 23:15–22.” Psalm 147:14 The first of the seven fruits of the land listed in Deuteronomy 8:8 is wheat (Hebrew: chitah). the wheat turns a glorious golden color. The Negev area. you find a reference to God’s “unfailing love” which in Hebrew is called chesed. When you jump ahead in Psalm 147 to verse 11. Wheat is also an important part of the celebration of Shavuot. just before the harvest begins at Shavuot. Take a moment to think about the wheat. water. With everything being so complex in this age of technology. This promise is so comforting to us here in Israel. Wheat was an important crop in ancient Israel. chesed is the godly attribute that corresponds to wheat. a beautiful sight that reminds me of Ecclesiastes 2:24: “A man can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work. May we find happiness and satisfaction in small. the Jewish harvest festival. where the threats of terrorism and war are always present. The Israelites were first commanded to observe this holy day in the Torah (the Bible). and in His faithful provision. don’t disconnect from the natural riches God gives us daily through His glorious creation.

Barley figures prominently in the Bible’s most beautiful love story: Ruth and Boaz. which not only helped feed her and Naomi. In Jewish teaching. Because it was cheaper than wheat. Ruth served on the threshing floor of Naomi’s relative Boaz during the barley harvest. or restraint. In biblical times. For others.A Promise of Provision “Do not withhold good from those who deserve it. often used in porridge or as a cake. we all have something special to give the world. a woman from Moab. returned to Bethlehem with her Israelite mother-in-law. it may be a prayer and a kind word to share with others. For example. Do not say to your neighbor. Since both were widows and had no one to provide for their needs. barley was considered the food of poor people. What tools do you possess? How will you use them to enrich others? It is our sacred responsibility and privilege to share what God has given us in order to bless others. Boaz filled Ruth’s cloak with barley. when it is in your power to act. Each of us has been provided with the tools needed to bless others. mainly during the festival of Shavuot. after both of their husbands died. barley (Hebrew: se’orah) is a grain that has been harvested in Israel for centuries. For some people these gifts are financial. 5 . Ruth. each barley seed is enclosed in a strong hull. This union ultimately produced King David! Boaz’s actions are the very essence of the command in Proverbs 3 to help the poor. a kind of boundary that remains intact even during threshing. ‘Come back later. Naomi. barley is related to the godly attribute of gevura. who were impoverished. It brings to mind the idea of boundaries. What a great example for us to follow! Food for Thought: The biblical story of Ruth and Boaz reminds us that regardless of whether we are rich or poor. but showed his determination to fulfill his obligation to marry Ruth. I’ll give it tomorrow’—when you have it with you today. barley was also used to feed cattle and other livestock.” Proverbs 3:27–28 Like wheat.

grapes are used mainly for the production of wine. where each system takes what it needs and gives away the rest to provide sustenance to others. Two of them carried it on a pole between them. for the Lord Almighty has spoken” (Micah 4:4). Nature functions on a giving cycle. On the sabbath and on Holy Days.A Blessing of Peace and Security “When they reached the valley of Eschol. we begin the meal by reciting a special blessing. To date in Israel. joy. although we also eat them fresh and dried. they cut off a branch bearing a single cluster of grapes. It’s a beautiful example that God calls us time and again to follow. Only then does the meal begin. Food for Thought: Take a moment to recognize what a journey the water in our glass and food on our plate has taken. “Every man will sit under his own vine and under his own fig tree.” Numbers 13:23 Grapes (Hebrew: gefen) are among the oldest produce cultivated in Israel. and simplicity in your life. or a nurturing meal. The rain falls and enables plants. Grapes are a wonderful example of the harmony in nature. a kind smile. along with some pomegranates and figs. Wine has always been an integral part of the rituals of Judaism. the land of Israel is shown as an ideal climate for grape growing. and no one will make them afraid. Let this simple thought inspire giving. We have the same ability to provide life and sustenance to others through sharing an encouraging word. In the famous description of the huge grape cluster brought back to the camp of Israel by the twelve spies (Numbers 13). Vines and vineyards are used in Scripture as symbols of prosperity and blessing. and fruits to grow. Find a simple way to give someone else life! 6 . The beautiful messianic blessing of peace and security is spoken of as a time when. vegetables. which feed the animals and sustain us.

since they ripen in rapid succession. Today. The great nineteenth-century Jewish rabbi and scholar known as Malbim explained that we need to watch the fig tree very carefully. from Dan to Beersheba. we are more free to experience peace in our hearts and the happiness that accompanies our every step. netzach (eternal). The fig tree represents longevity because it has one of the longest periods of ripening—more than three months. we need to observe our teachers daily in order to glean the fruits of their wisdom over time. When we redefine the meaning of success in terms of joy. This is why fig trees were often planted next to wells.Wisdom and Long Life “During Solomon’s lifetime Judah and Israel. Figs trees are cultivated throughout the Holy Land. and pick its figs daily. Choose a life based on your passions and joys and surround yourself with people who accentuate and complement your strengths. which symbolizes longevity. each man under his own vine and fig tree. In the same way.” 1 Kings 4:25 This verse in 1 Kings shows us that the blossoming fig tree was a symbol of prosperity in Israel. yet still a favorite treat to pick fresh from the tree and enjoy. In Jewish teaching. A fig tree produces masses of large green leaves and provides ample welcome shade during Israel’s hot months. dried figs are an expensive delicacy in the Holy Land. the thick dark shade kept the water cool. the image of resting under a fig tree suggests that the simple pleasures of life are truly priceless. lived in safety. figs (Hebrew: te’enah) show us the godly attribute. Food for Thought: Success today is too often judged by financial worth. 7 . By contrast. and their rich fruit ripens in midsummer.

and we wear those values as our garments. Pomegranate trees are a common sight in the gardens of Israel. Hod is also related to the Hebrew word toda. the Jewish New Year.Majesty. Today in Israel. take a moment to look at your actions and thoughts and decide if these are the garments you want the world to know you by. Food for Thought: When I think of pomegranates as part as the high priest’s clothing. Jewish tradition says that a pomegranate has 613 seeds to represent the 613 commandments in the Torah. the pomegranate is traditionally eaten on the Jewish New Year but are also used to flavor foods and as a topping for salads. In biblical times. in addition to its function as a dye. The pomegranate is a very beautiful and majestic fruit. With that in mind. 8 . the pomegranate was used for making wine and seasonings. and Thankfulness “Make pomegranates of blue. and scarlet yarn around the hem of the robe. which means thanks and recognition. yellow. I’m reminded of Job 29:14. and it even boasts what appears to be a crown. “I put on righteousness as my clothing. or the Feast of Tabernacles. where the patriarch said. and has rich green leaves heavy with fruit that ripens during Rosh Hashanah. They are the expressions we use to reveal our inner thoughts and world view. It corresponds to the godly attribute.” Exodus 28:33 It is clear from the Bible that the pomegranate (Hebrew: rimon) had a significance in ancient Israel beyond its nutritional value as a fruit. The plump red fruits are also often used to decorate the temporary structures in which we dwell during Sukkot.” We decide which values to possess. which means majesty and glory. or white flowers. Let your beautiful values shine to the world like a priestly garment that gathers everyone’s attention and admiration. hod. including the reference to the adornment around the hem of the high priest’s robe (Exodus 28:33). We find about 30 references to pomegranates in Scripture. The tree bears scarlet. with gold bells between them. purple. Glory.

olive oil is still one of the main ingredients in Israeli cuisine. Once we realize that each person on this earth has a spark of the divine. From this we see that the bark of the tree is as precious as the olives themselves. It had a religious use as the anointing oil for priests. olives correspond to the godly attribute of yesod (foundation). and was also used in sacrificial offerings and as fuel for the lamps in the Tabernacle. Olives were one of the blessings of the Promised Land that God gave to His people through His covenant with Abraham. running down on the beard” (v. The wood of the olive tree was also used to make the doors and posts of the Temple. Food for Thought: In Psalm 133. and grow from everyone. we can appreciate our differences. the olive (Hebrew: zayit) is a symbol of prosperity and longevity in Israel. We must learn to understand. respect. Olive oil is the foundation of foods in the Middle East and entire Mediterranean region. as well as for the carving of the cherubim. 9 . how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity!” (v.Peace and Prosperity “I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God. Respect and honor are universal principles of the God-centered home. They will also produce heavy crops with even a minimum amount of care. olive oil is used as a symbol of this important truth: “Behold. they can grow where no other trees can. We are told that this unity is “like precious oil poured on the head. referring to the anointing of Aaron as the high priest. 2).” Psalm 52:8 Perhaps more significant than any other of the seven fruits. Olive trees can grow where there is not much rain or soil. and later in the Temple at Jerusalem. 1). in fact. In Jewish teaching. Today.

Dates correspond to the godly attribute of malchut (royalty). It is generally thought that when the Torah mentions “honey” it is talking about palm date honey rather than traditional honey. “Better a meal of vegetables where there is love than a fattened calf with hatred. there is no such thing as failure. so the presence is more than initially meets the eye.” The wisdom conveyed in this verse is an ideal way to complete our study of the seven fruits of Israel. Food for Thought: In Proverbs 15:17 we read. the word used is d’vash. The outcome of our toil is based on our intentions. Dried dates would have been useful to carry on the long travels of caravans in the ancient world. which is called Silan. When we toil with positive thinking.A Land of Blessing “The Israelites generously gave the firstfruits of their grain. In Israel today. In biblical times. 10 . If we are content within ourselves and our surroundings. many people make date honey. The reference to Israel as a “land flowing with milk and honey” (Exodus 3:8) also likely refers to date honey. love. which translates literally to “honey. oil and [date] honey and all that the fields produced. new wine. joy and tranquility will follow us through all the journeys of our life.” In ancient times. The dates hang from the leaves in large clusters and can be dried for a delicious treat. palm dates were often made into a form of honey by mashing the dates and cooking them with water until they thickened into syrup.” 2 Chronicles 31:5 Dates (Hebrew: tamar or d’vash) are only mentioned by name a couple of times in the Bible. The word “dates” does not appear in Deuteronomy 8:8 in the listing of the seven fruits. or desert. Instead. But the palm trees mentioned are surely date palms. and an open heart. But modern irrigation has enabled date palm trees to take root near the Dead Sea and further south in the Arabah. dates grew in the Jordan Valley.

Chocolate Breakfast Muffins 2 cups whole wheat flour 2 teaspoons baking powder ½ teaspoon salt 2 tablespoons cocoa powder ¼ cup chocolate chips 1 egg. beaten ¼ cup oil ½ cup honey 1½ cups soy milk (or milk) Wheat (‫)חיטה‬ Combine dry ingredients and mix in separate bowl combine wet ingredients. D­ ­D Pomegranate Salad 1 (10 ounce) package mixed baby greens or fresh spinach 1 pomegranate. Fold the wet and dry ingredients together until flour is moistened. chopped chopped scallions or red onion (optional) Dressing: ¼ cup mayonnaise 2 tablespoons mustard 1½ tablespoons honey ½ tablespoon lemon juice Salt and pepper to taste ! Pomegranate (‫)רימונים‬ D­ ­D 11 . then bake at 400 for 15 minutes. Spoon into greased muffin tins. Makes around 12. peeled and seeds separated 1 (8 ounce) package crumbled feta cheese 1 small cucumber.

crushed salt to taste Dates (‫)תמרים‬ Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. mix the date honey. In a bowl. On the bottom of a baking tin. pitted 2 garlic cloves 1 /3 cup olive oil ¼ tablespoon thyme Drain the cans of olives. place the cut onions. and garlic.–1 hour. D­ ­D 12 . Enjoy with cut up vegetable sticks. salt. then lay the chicken out on top of it. soy sauce. Bake for 45 min. Spoon some sauce from the bottom of pan over the chicken every 20 minutes.Date Honey Chicken 2 cut onions 3 chicken legs and thighs (or light meat if you prefer) 3 /4 cup date honey 2½ tablespoons soy sauce ¼ cup canola oil 2-3 garlic cloves. or as a spread on bread. Pour sauce over the chicken coating the chicken with the sauce. put all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. ! Olive Dip D­ ­D Olive Oil (‫)שמן זית‬ 2 (16 ounce) cans green olives. oil. pita chips.

put together in a big bowl. and pour over salad or rice—this dressing tastes good with everything! Honey (‫)דבש‬ D­ ­D Fruit Salad 1 apple 1 bundle of grapes (without seeds) 1 pear 1 orange 5 figs 5 dates 1 cup of pomegranate seeds ½ teaspoon of cinnamon Chop all of the fruits. mix well.Creamy Tahina Salad/Rice Dressing ½ cup olive oil 3 tablespoons soy sauce ½ teaspoon toasted sesame oil 1 tablespoon honey ¼–½ tablespoon salt dash of pepper ½ teaspoon garlic powder 1 tablespoon of tahini Combine all ingredients. top with cinnamon. ! Grapes (‫)ענבים‬ D­ ­D 13 .

stir occasionally. sliced 2 bay leaves 4 sprigs fresh parsley 1 tablespoon chicken soup powder salt and freshly ground black pepper 1 cup coconut milk/cream 1 tablespoon canola oil 5 cups of water Barley (‫)שעורה‬ Sauté vegetables in oil for 5 minutes. Reduce the heat and simmer covered until the barley is tender. The Fellowship’s programs bring blessing and help to hundreds of thousands of needy people around the world. Add the coconut cream and heat.Coconut Milk Cream of Barley Soup 1 cup pearl barley. ! D­ ­D The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews promotes understanding and cooperation between Jews and Christians and builds broad support for Israel and other shared biblical concerns. 1 to 1½ hours. Together in true solidarity. 14 . sliced 2 celery ribs. Combine all ingredients except the coconut cream in a pot and bring to a boil over high heat. rinsed thoroughly 1 onion. chopped 1 carrot.

15 . and grass-roots individuals in the United States and around the world to stand with Israel through prayer and public advocacy. Hezbollah. clothing. and other lifesaving care to elderly Jews. Mobilizing churches. and street children in the lands of the former Soviet Union and other countries where they are in distress. medicines. Christian leaders.The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews blesses Israel and her people through these four core outreach programs: Helping bring hundreds of thousands of needy Jews to the Holy Land and building new lives for them in Israel. Guardians of Israel ® Assisting families in Israel to cope with poverty and assisting with much-needed security against Hamas. orphans. and other terrorists. ® Delivering food.

IL 60602-3356 800-486-8844 • INFO@IFCJ. Resting upon this foundation. His goal then. was to promote greater understanding and cooperation between Jews and Christians and to build a broader base of support for both Israel and shared biblical concerns.ORG • IFCJ.ORG ©2012 16 7FISYE . as it is now.The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews was founded in 1983 by Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein. 30 NORTH LASALLE STREET SUITE 4300 CHICAGO. The Fellowship has been instrumental in fostering better relations between these two faith communities and providing new avenues of support for Israel and Jewish people who are in need around the world.

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