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Neot Kedumim Park: 10 Kinds of Flora in Israel's Biblical Landscape Reserve

Image: Neot Kedumim Park: 10 Kinds of Flora in Israel's Biblical Landscape Reserve
Baby Pomegranates on a Tree. (Yudaman/Dreamstime.com)

By    |   Friday, 29 May 2015 09:29 AM

Neot Kedumim is a 620-acre natural preserve between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem that strives to keep the stretch of land as it was ecologically in the days of the Bible.

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The park is home to over 80 different plant flora, including the 7 species mentioned in Deuteronomy 8:8 as the staple foods of Israel.  The park also contains the 4 trees mentioned in Leviticus 23:40 from which branches are the building material for a sukkuh, a hut built for the Jewish harvest holiday Sukkot.

Below are the most noteworthy flora in Neot Kedumim:

1. Wheat

Wheat is significant in both the Torah and the Bible. In Judaism, wheat is one of the 7 species and signifies how the earth nourished and provided for the Israelites. Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus and location of the house of David, literally means “house of bread” in Hebrew. In the Bible, wheat represents love and charity.

2. Barley

The second of the Torah’s seven species, the Israelites ate barley when they first arrived in Israel. In the Bible, Christ is believed to have nourished thousands of people with bread made of barley.

3. Olive
The olive’s ability to be turned into oil is important to both the Torah and the Bible. In the Torah, olive oil is especially important to Hannukah because olive oil allowed for the miracle that kept the Maccabees’ menorah burning for a miraculous 8 days. In the Bible, olives represent charity, love, and faith because oil was again used for light and because kings were anointed with the oil.

4. Pomegranate
Pomegranates signify righteousness in the Torah because the fruit is believed to contain 613 seeds, which aligns with the Torah’s 613 mitzvots or commandments. The Pomegranate is also another of the Torah’s seven species that also represents fruitfulness and knowledge. In the Bible, the pomegranate is thought to be one of the original forbidden fruits in Eden.

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5. Grape Vine

The cultivation of grape vines is prevalent in both Jewish and Christian history. Grape vines are among the Torah’s 7 species and are a symbol of joy, as they are used to make wine. The grape vine is also a symbol of wisdom because wine has a greater value as it ages.

6. Fig
The fig tree represents longevity and wisdom to the Jewish people because of its long ripening period. In the Bible, Adam and Eve made their covering out of fig leaves, turning the flora into a symbol for prosperity and security.

7. Date Palm
The date palm is another one of the Torah’s 7 species and also one of the 4 species of Sukkot. Date palm fronds’ growth in desert oases like Neot Kedumim commemorates the 40 years that the Jews wandered Israel in Sinai wilderness.

8. Citron
The citron is difficult to grow in Israel and is thus considered a luxury. The citron is also one of the Torah’s 4 species of Sukkot. “The fruit of the goodly tree” signifies prosperity and represents the peak of the Israelites spiritual and agricultural success.

9. Myrtle
The Israelites found “the branch of a leafy tree,” another of the 4 species, to be too plentiful upon entering Israel and had to remove much of the flora in order to build, herd, and farm. The Hebrew word for Myrtle, hadass, was also one of Israelite Queen Esther’s nicknames.

10. Willow
The willow is another of the 4 species and according to the Torah, the “willows of the brook” grew next to the Jordan River before early Israelites entered the Promised Land.

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Neot Kedumim is a 620-acre natural preserve between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem that strives to keep the stretch of land as it was ecologically in the days of the Bible.
neot kedumim, israel
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2015-29-29
Friday, 29 May 2015 09:29 AM
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