From Biblical times to today, the land of Israel offers renewed resources

Almond trees bloom in the Shaharia Forest in southern Israel, late winter, February 29, 2024. (Photo: Edi Israel/Flash90)

From the beginning of time to this day, as the warmth of spring envelops nature, an age-old spectacle unfolds, not only heralding the arrival of a new season, but also reflecting ancient promises and spiritual meaning. It silently testifies to the enduring faithfulness of God and the promise of His return!

The promise of such innovation is blossoming again The almond tree of Israel.

The Hebrew name of the almond tree is part of the Rosaceae family and is “shkediyah” – שקדיה and the Latin name is Prunus Amygdalus. It is generally harvested from July to November and offers many delights, from practical nutrition to its profound spiritual symbolism. The almost-tree provides nourishment not only for the body but also for the soul.

A pleasure for the eyes

The almond tree is native to Turkestan and Central Asia and grows spontaneously in the regions of Lebanon and Moab. However, in Israel, where it grows abundantly, the almond tree is mainly planted and cultivated.

According to extends from Kibbutz Neot Semadar in the south to Kibbutz Dan in the north, and includes important commercial areas such as the Hula Valley, the southern Golan Heights, the lower Galilee, the Jezreel Valley, the Judean Plains and the northern Negev.

These 6,200 hectares are cultivated by 200 professional growers, 30% of whom work in kibbutzim (cooperative communities) and the majority in various private farming communities called moshavim. Training, selection and growth support are supervised by the Plant Production and Marketing Council and by the Ministry of Agriculture through the Agricultural Research Organization – Volcani Center.

Almond cultivation in Israel is distinguished by complete and advanced mechanization, which makes large-scale planting possible.

According to the USDA and the FDA (American Food and Drug Administration), almonds are considered one of the healthiest foods among the 100 foods tested, with nutritional profiles that rival superfoods like avocado and olive oil.

In addition to its beauty, the almond tree is a pleasure to enjoy and provides high-quality nutrition in various forms.

Photo collage by ALL ISRAEL NEWS

A pleasure for the taste buds

Almost all of ancient Greece cultivated the almond tree; hence the nickname “Greek nut”, which the Romans endured for centuries. On the contrary, ancient Egypt did not; and almonds, along with pistachios, were a highly prized gift to the Egyptians, as recorded when Joseph’s brothers prepared to return to Egypt during the famine in Canaan (Genesis 43:11).

Almonds are versatile and available whole, ground, powdered or in liquid form, such as milk or oil.

Very nutritiousConsumption of almonds has increased in Israel in recent years, recognized for their nutritional value: calcium, protein, vitamin E, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper, manganese, B vitamins, natural fiber, antioxidants and cholesterol-lowering. monounsaturated fat. Research shows that they protect against diabetes, gallstones and cardiovascular disease.

The State of Israel consumes approximately 10,000 tons (20 million pounds) of almonds annually.

Unlike animal milk, almond milk does not contain cholesterol or lactose. Historically, almond milk has been used as a beverage by the upper classes throughout Europe and Asia since Roman times.

Today, almond milk is sold in a variety of flavors, including vanilla and chocolate. A popular almond milk drink in the Middle East, “Rosetta” is usually sold as a sweetened almond-flavored white syrup, which is diluted with cold water or enjoyed with arrack.

Israel also sells a cold-pressed almond milk spread with a thick texture similar to tahini.

And of course, Israel has many famous almond-based sweets and typical Middle Eastern delicacies!

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A touch of pleasure

Almond oil is especially popular in the Israeli world of natural cosmetics. Recognized as a nutrient for the skin and scalp, and rich in natural components – including vitamin E, proteins, saturated fatty acids, potassium, zinc and minerals – almond oil is often recommended as the most suitable massage oil for babies and children. equally suitable for adults,

The pleasant scent makes almond essence a highly valued and commonly used scent in perfume, soap, shampoo and lotion.

Photo collage by ALL ISRAEL NEWS

A pleasure for the soul

In addition to their culinary and cosmetic appeal, almonds have deep symbolic meaning in Israel’s cultural and religious landscape.

From biblical references to prophetic visions, the almond tree symbolizes hope, renewal, and the fulfillment of God’s divine promises. In the story of Jacob, almond branches are mentioned by name Louz (Genesis 30:37) and Aaron’s famous rod, which blossomed at night and produced almonds (Numbers 17:8). Furthermore, it is worth noting that almond blossoms were used intricately to decorate the seven-branched candelabra, further enhancing its spiritual symbolism. (Exodus 25:33; 37:19)

The beautifully flowering almond tree is characterized by its pristine white petals, adorned with a subtle pink base that is only visible upon closer inspection. The crown of the flowering tree is reminiscent of the venerable white heads of old men, while Ecclesiastes 12:5 vividly depicts the infirmities of old age in its graphic description: “Before your hair becomes white as a blossoming almond tree.” (NLT).

The almond tree has a unique distinction in that it is the first tree to awaken from winter, usually in the month before Shvat (January/February) in Israel. This occasion is seen as joyful in Jewish tradition and marks a special date, heralding the arrival of spring Tu Bishvat is celebrated on the 15th day of this month on the Jewish calendar.

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During the day At Tu Bishvat celebrations, children sing in schools across Israel “Hashkedia Porachat‘ or ‘The almond tree is blossoming.’ Although the holiday also marks the anniversary of the founding of Israel’s parliament in 1949, it primarily celebrates the ‘New Year of Trees’.

Can the celebrations, the joy and the singing be prophetic? The Hebrew name “Shvat“(שבט) is also considered an abbreviation of: “שנשמע בשורות טובות – She’nishma be’shorot tovot” which stands for: “May we hear good news.”

“Good News” was indeed announced to us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Yeshua. Interestingly, the Hebrew word: “שקד” can be read in two ways: “shake-ked” or “sho-ked.” As we delve into the meaning of both words, we discover a rich spiritual parallel.

The Hebrew word “sho-ked” means: “vigilance or vigilance in Hebrew, suggesting a sense of alertness or attentiveness.” This concept ties in with the vigilance of those anticipating the Messiah’s return. The Good News of the Lord Jesus Yeshua has been announced, and those who believe in His coming also believe in His return. They act as watchful watchmen, foreshadowing the coming of spring and the coming of the Messiah.

The young prophet Jeremiah gives us another powerful prophecy in his vision recorded in Jeremiah 1:11. The Lord Himself is vigilant! The blossoming branch of the almond tree (shkediyah) also symbolizes, through its precocity, the watchfulness of the Lord and the promise of the coming fulfillment of His promises.

As almond trees once again blossom and bear fruit with numerous beneficial effects, we testify of the faithfulness of the God of Israel and the enduring truth of His promises, which remain steadfast and trustworthy even today.