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The Eternal Jew and the Tu Bishvat Date:)


A morsel for your table this Tu Bishvat - when you eat your date!

Pictured above is a Jewish Date Palm.

Why Jewish? Because it was frozen in time for 2000 years. It was found, as a date pit, by Dr. Yigael Yadin when excavating Masada and then planted, 2000 years after the Romans crushed the rebellion and destroyed Masada. The tree has been named "Methuselah", after the longest-lived person mentioned in Tanach. Is there anything more quintessentially Jewish than this?

As you eat your date, think of this, with thanks to Peter Abelow and Jewish Action:

  • The Romans issued a coin, celebrating their victory over the Jewish people, and on that coin, we were pictured, languishing beneath a date palm. In modern Israel, the 10 Shekel coin has a date palm on it. A little wink and shoutout to the Romans: where are you and where are we? Your coins are in museums, ours are still in use :)

  • When the Jewish people had their first view of the land of Israel, before entering under Joshua, they encamped opposite Jericho - the city of "date palms". There is nothing more symbolic of the first taste, literally, of the land of Israel, than the date.

The title of this article, "The Eternal Jew" is of course the title of Goebbels' infamous film, and in turn it is borrowed from the German, "Der Ewige Jude" which described the eternally Wandering Jew, never at home, doomed for his past sins and ineradicable evil, to wander the earth.

This Tu Bishvat, as I eat my date (despite the mantissian spin on that), I will celebrate both our eternity, and the fact that we are homeless no more.


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