Photo Credit: Tsuriya Zeevi/TPS
Israeli families almond tree blossoms near the Latrun monastery in Ayalon Valley, on the road to Jerusalem, Feb 28, 2020.

The almond is mentioned our grandfather Jacob as one of the “choice products of the land” (Gen. 43:11), when he urges his sons to return to Egypt to bring back provisions, and adds that they should bring with them a gift for the viceroy (only we, the readers, know it’s Joseph): “some balm and some honey, gum, resin, pistachios and almonds.”

The prophet Jeremiah uses the almond in a play on its Hebrew name, shaked, which also means to work hard (lishkod): “The word of the Lord came to me: What do you see, Jeremiah? I replied: I see a branch of an almond tree. The Lord said to me: You have seen right, for I am [shoked] to bring My word to pass.” (Jeremiah 1:11)

Israeli families almond tree blossoms near the Latrun monastery in Ayalon Valley, on the road to Jerusalem, Feb 28, 2020. / Tsuriya Zeevi/TPS
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Numbers 17:22-23 reports that “Moses deposited the staff before the Lord, in the Tent of the Appointment. The next day Moses entered the Tent and there the staff of his brother, Aharon the Priest, had sprouted blossoms and borne almonds.”

Israeli families almond tree blossoms near the Latrun monastery in Ayalon Valley, on the road to Jerusalem, Feb 28, 2020. / Tsuriya Zeevi/TPS

In Ecclesiastics (Kohelet) 12:5, there is a specific reference to “the almond tree,” while elsewhere in the Bible, its fruit and blossom are mentioned but not as a tree.

Ayalon Valley was first mentioned in the Book of Joshua, when Joshua defeated five Amorite kings, and pursued the coalition armies eastward, down through the descent of Beth-horon, and then southward across the Valley of Ayalon. But as the day wore on and darkness approached, the great commander need more time to complete the slaughter, so he commanded: “Sun, stand thou still on Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ayalon.”

Israeli families almond tree blossoms near the Latrun monastery in Ayalon Valley, on the road to Jerusalem, Feb 28, 2020. / Tsuriya Zeevi/TPS

Naturally, the moon and the sun came to a standstill in the sky, causing the solar system to disperse across the galaxy, on account of those pesky laws of Newton. But aren’t the almond trees just wonderful?

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