Growing up, I always wished for a house with a garden. I was born and raised in a city and lived most of my life in apartments. So when finally we managed to buy a house with a backyard just a few years ago, it was for me a childhood dream come true.
It is a very small piece of land I admit but it's mine. (Well, almost. Half of it belongs to the Bank). One of the first things my husband and I planted was a pomegranate tree along with an olive tree and a vine. The area where we live is mentioned in many biblical stories so it is very rich in relics and reminders of Jewish history. We felt here a strong connection to past generations of Jewish settlers and wanted to keep the tradition of growing olives, vines and pomegranates.
|The tree in my backyard|
I love my pomegranates. I am so pleased the tree is thriving in my back yard and gives fruits we eat and use. I don't need to go to the supermarket for pomegranates anymore. In addition I find this fruit to be so beautiful. The red seeds look like gems, like giant rubies. I can understand why throughout history so much symbolism and tales evolved around the pomegranate.
|Organic pomegranate juice|
In Jewish tradition for example the pomegranate is used as a metaphor for wisdom and good deeds because it is full of juicy seeds. The book of Torah is decorated with silver pomegranates. In many ancient Jewish settlements pomegranates motives were used for decoration. Even the current Israeli coin for two Shekels uses the pomegranate motif from coins used during the Roman Empire. I feel a part of very old agriculture tradition. Pomegranates are common in other cultures as well; in Greek mythology for example it symbolizes life and fertility.
|A two Shekel coin from my purse|
Come autumn followed by Jewish New Year and the holidays, we find ourselves gathering produce almost every day, the tree is bursting with fruit. Since our tree is organic (no pesticides or herbicides) we use the fruits mainly for juice. According to recent scientific researches, pomegranate juice is really good for you. They're full of antioxidants, anti-cancerous agents; it lowers blood pressure and cholesterol levels and can boost the immune system. It is also very tasty.
It is traditional to eat pomegranates in Jewish New Year ceremonial dinner (you can read more about it in this post: http://www.sarahmelamed.com/2011/09/symbolic-foods-of-rosh-hashanah/). It symbolizes hope for a year full of good deeds like the fruits' seeds.
So later tonight we're bringing with us a bag full of pomegranates to the feast and we'll celebrate the coming of a new and hopefully good year.