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ISRAEL: SEVEN SPECIES (4) FIGS
The fig is one of the seven species of fruits and grains specially named in Israel as the Israelites reached the Promised Land. They are extraordinary representives of agricultural problems of the land of Israel. These seven species are wheat, barley, grapevines, figs, pomegranates, olives and honey (from dates). The seven species are considered more important than the other fruits, and a special blessing is recited after eating them. Offerings of First Fruits are brought to the Temple from only these seven species. It is a warning to tthe Israelites to obey God's commandments. Just as the fruits depend upon the giver, God, the Israelites are also dependant upon the Almighty Lord God.
The fate of these crops depends on nature during the critical period between passover and shavuot. The passover is before the Israelites left Egypt when the angel of the Lord was sent to kill all the firstborn in the land of Egypt. Only the Israelites escaped from the slaughter. After they left Egypt, they were given the Ten Commandments.
SEASONS AND SYMBOLISM OF SEVEN SPECIES
The seven species of food symbolize the close relationship between the Jewish People and the Land of Israel.
- Rimon Season (pomegranate)—September/October—Rosh HaShanah/Yom Kippur/Sukkot
- Tamar Season (date/honey)—September/October—Rosh HaShanah/Sukkot
- Zayit Season (olive)—November/December—Hanukkah
- Te’ena Season (fig)—January/February—Tu B’Shevat
- Gefen Season (vine, grape)—March—Purim
- Wheat and Barley Season—April/May/June—Passover/Shavuot
SYMBOLISM OF FIG
Jewish Programs.org www.jewishprograms.org
The fig tree (in Hebrew, teena )
- a. What does the fig tree represent (e.g. tzadik, knowledge, new beginnings, prosperity for Israel, the Torah, mitzvot, hope, beauty, etc.)?
- b. Why are the people of Israel compared to the fig tree? (Several answers possible)
Text 42. The trees went forth on a time to anoint a king over them; and they said to the olive tree, Reign over us. But the olive tree said to them, Should I leave my fatness, by which they honor God and man, and go to sway over the trees? And the trees said to the fig tree, Come, and reign over us. But the fig tree said to them, Should I forsake my sweetness, and my good fruit, and go to sway over the trees? Judges 9:8-11
Text 43. Whoever guards the fig tree shall eat its fruit. Proverbs 27:18
Text 44. I found Israel like grapes in the wilderness, I saw your fathers as the first-ripe in the fig-tree at her first season (Hosea 9:10).
R. Yudan said: At first a fig tree’s fruit is picked one by one, then two by two, then three by three, until the figs ripen so abundantly that baskets and shovels have to be used to gather them. So, too, at the beginning “Abraham was one, and he inherited the Land” (Ezekiel 33:24). Then two: Abraham and Isaac. And after that, three: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Until finally, “the children of Israel were ...
SPECIAL MEDICAL AND SPIRITUAL PROPERTIES
The Seven species of the land of Israel have special medical and spiritual properties. by Rebbetzin Chana Siegelbaum
Figs correspond to netzach (endurance), which engenders longevity. The fig tree reflects everlasting fruitfulness as it has one of the longest periods of ripening, spanning more than three months. Malbim explains that we need to watch the fig tree very carefully by picking its figs daily, since they ripen one after the other; likewise we need to observe our teachers daily in order to glean the fruits of their wisdom. According to Maimonides, "Figs, grapes and almonds are always the best fruits whether fresh or dried." Maimonides also taught that figs alleviate constipation, which is one of the main tenets of longevity and health. Figs may benefit the elderly by strengthening the blood and arousing vitality.
FIGS IN OLD TESTAMENT
The first fig tree was mentioned when the eyes of Adam and Eve were opened, and they knew that they were naked: and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. This was only a temporary measure and God made coat of skins, and clothed them (Genesis 3:7,21).
GOOD AND BAD FIGS
God showed Jeremiah two baskets of figs, set before the temple. One basket had very good figs, like the figs that are first ripe: and the other basket had very naughty figs, which could not be eaten, they were so bad (Jer. 24). The whole chapter of Jeremiah symbolizes the bad figs set for destruction, but God will preserve the good and bring them back to Israel, though they were scattered like the bad figs...
FIGS IN NEW TESTAMENT
The fig symbolizes search for truth and the Lord uses parables and symbolism to stimulate and motivate man in his search for truth. Man is given power, and expected to produce fruit (works). The Israelites had the Aaronic priesthood which was meant to bring people to Christ, but the people misused the power. As a nation, they are full of leaves, but barren of good fruit. Jesus cursed the barren fig tree.
- Mark 11:13-20 And seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, he came, if haply he might find any thing thereon: and when he came to it, he found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet.
- And Jesus answered and said unto it, No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever. And his disciples heard it.
- Luke 13:6-9 He spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none.
- Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground?
- And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it;
- And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.
A Christian is allowed a certain period to produce fruit (works) and if he does not, his life is cut off from God. Unproductive Christians are of no profit to the Lord. They must produce works of good fruit, or be cut down.
PARABLE OF THE FIG TREE
- Matthew 24:32-33 Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh:
- So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.
Israel: Seven Species (4) Figs
Do you agree that the Israelites should be grateful to God for He gave them figs when they reached the Promised Land? They did not have to cultivate them.
Do you know that figs symbolize the search for truth?
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