Tu B’Shevat is the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Shevat, a special day when the Jewish people celebrate the breaking forth of seeds underground and the appreciation of trees by eating the Seven Miraculous Species of nourishment that God provided to the Hebrew children in the Promised Land.
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These miraculous gifts from the Lord have more than just satiating and delicious qualities. They carry with them a blessing. They are also representative of the behavior God wants to instill into our lives!
- Wheat (Kindness and Selflessness)
- Barley (Restraint, Self-governance, and Temperance)
- Grapes (Beauty, Joy, and Heart-fullness)
- Figs (Endurance, Energy, and Vitality)
- Pomegranates (Focus and God-awareness)
- Olives (Foundation and Cleanliness)
- Honey (Calmness and Peace)
and a Bonus…
Almonds (Awakening and Re-Calibration)
The Birkat HaMazon
This special prayer of thanks has been recited after eating the Seven Species from the Land for centuries. As a child thanks his parents after a wonderful outing or experience, how blessed God must feel for His children to remember Him as well.
Blessed are You, L-rd our G‑d, King of the universe, for the produce of the field, and for the precious, good, and spacious land which You have graciously given as a heritage to our ancestors, to eat of its fruit and to be satiated with its goodness. Have mercy, L-rd our G‑d, on Israel Your people, on Jerusalem Your city, on Zion the abode of Your glory, on Your altar, and on Your Temple. Rebuild Jerusalem, the holy city, speedily in our days, and bring us up to it and make us rejoice in it, and we will bless You in holiness and purity.
Add blessing to your life by partaking of these promised foods given by God to the Land. His blessing is upon all seven of these, even the eighth, therefore we should bless Him for the great provision He gives us.
The Seven Miraculous Species
Wheat is symbolic of the souls waiting for a harvest. Seeds planted in the lives of so many through the efforts of Evangelists, Christian media and individual testimonies have produced a ready crop of souls that the Spirit pursues to bring into the Kingdom. Even at the end of one’s life as he or she grasps at the reality of death and what is to come, God has created the seeds to sprout. It is important that we continue to plant seeds of the Kingdom, water them with kindness and encouragement and when possible, if there is receptivity, pray with them to confess Yeshua as their Lord and Savior.
It’s not surprising that there is no wheat grown today that is as pure as it was in ancient times. Gluten was introduced during the 6th century in Asia. The seed was modified over the centuries into a hybrid-type of wheat that causes many health allergies, serious digestive diseases as well as other health problems. It could be considered a “tare.”
Yeshua put before them another parable. “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; but while people were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, then went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads of grain, the weeds also appeared. The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where have the weeds come from?’ He answered, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants asked him, ‘Then do you want us to go and pull them up?’ But he said, ‘No, because if you pull up the weeds, you might uproot some of the wheat at the same time. Let them both grow together until the harvest; and at harvest-time I will tell the reapers to collect the weeds first and tie them in bundles to be burned, but to gather the wheat into my barn.’” Matthew 13:24-30 CJB
In the Bible barley was the first harvest or fruit that was harvested right after Passover. Back in ancient times there was no gluten in barley but today, unfortunately, all barley has some gluten in it. There is a protective hull around the grain that beautifully represents boundaries. Perhaps barley is to be eaten with restraint, only adding a little hulled barley to your diet. Hulled barley is better than pearled or other polished or rolled barleys as these have been completely stripped of the protective and nutritious casing around the kernel of grain. There are many health benefits to hulled barley but by the same token there is now an added (man-made) element that we must be aware of when eating it.
But each in his own order: the Messiah is the firstfruits; then those who belong to the Messiah, at the time of his coming; then the culmination, when he hands over the Kingdom to God the Father, after having put an end to every rulership, yes, to every authority and power. 1 Corinthians 15:23-24.
Individuals need to evaluate their lives. In historical times barley was considered peasant food. Could it be that we often think of ourselves too highly? Should we approach God lowly in heart – as a peasant? We must allow Him to be first. We must realize that He is our Captain and we are not in the driver’s seat.
Grapes contain powerful antioxidants known as polyphenols, which may slow or prevent many types of cancer, including esophageal, lung, mouth, pharynx, endometrial, pancreatic, prostate and colon. The resveratrol found in red wine famous for heart health is a type of polyphenol found in the skins of red grapes.
Wine is mentioned many times in the Bible and is representative of the blood as God “cuts covenant”. Because we, as mortal man, cannot meet the perfect behavior that God’s Law requires, we deserve to die. But God has shown us in His Word the innocent will die in place of the guilty. From the innocent animal sacrificed to cover Adam and Eve with its skin, to the animals sacrificed on behalf of those offering sin sacrifices at the Temple, they all point to what was to come – Yeshua pouring out His blood for all the guilty who repent. Doesn’t it make the heart glad to know our Covenant God has provided the Lamb?
Grapes and what it represents brings a blessing. It literally heals hearts and spiritually brings new life.
You grow grass for the cattle;
and for people you grow the plants they need
to bring forth bread from the earth,
wine that gladdens the human heart,
oil to make faces glow,
and food to sustain their strength.
Psalm 104:14,15 CJB
Figs correlate to vitality of life. They have wonderful antioxidant capabilities and are also natural antibacterial and antifungal agents. Because oxidation affects almost all body systems, the damage it causes has been linked to many major diseases, aging and cancer. More than 40 illnesses including, anemia, diabetes, leprosy, liver disease, paralysis, skin diseases, ulcers, gastrointestinal tract and urinary tract infections connected to the digestive, endocrine, reproductive and respiratory systems have been treated with fig fruit, extracts and components of the fig tree. Figs build up the immune system and are a great source of potassium, fiber and other depleted nutrients.
Figs clean the gastrointestinal track. The elimination of toxins and wastes causes one to feel energized.
They came to the Eshkol Valley; and there they cut off a branch bearing one cluster of grapes, which they carried on a pole between two of them; they also took pomegranates and figs. Numbers 13:23
Packed with antioxidants equal to those in green tea and red wine, and especially loaded with vitamin C and potassium. Pomegranates are also believed to lower risk of heart disease and cancer, especially prostate and breast.
This fruit is connected to procreating and the generating of seed. We are a new creation, born of the Spirit. This is why the love story conveyed in the Song of Solomon likens the cheeks of the bride to a pomegranate that has been split open revealing the seeds within.
Your lips are like a scarlet thread, and your mouth is lovely. Your cheeks are like a pomegranate split open behind your veil. Song of Solomon 4:3
Pomegranates look like a head with a crown on top. This interesting fruit correlates to majesty and glory. The fruit only has within its hard shell a tough membrane that has chambers containing edible seeds.
These seeds can be likened to the seeds of God as He plants His qualities within us that we may show forth His great character.
Olives and olive oil are foundational and a basic food necessity. The antioxidant nutrients in black olives impede oxidation of cholesterol, thereby helping to prevent heart disease. Olives do contain fat, but it’s the healthy monounsaturated kind, which has been found to shrink the risk of atherosclerosis and increase good cholesterol. In addition to decreasing blood pressure, olives can increase blood flow and help lessen the effects of illnesses such as asthma through its anti-inflammatory properties. With a high content of vitamin E, olives have been shown to protect skin from ultraviolet radiation, thus guarding against skin cancer and premature aging. It’s also possible that olives may have a special role to play as part of an overall anti-allergenic diet. Olive oil will improve circulation, the ability to breathe and activate the secretion of bile and pancreatic hormones. This keeps any one part of the digestive tract from having to work too hard and supports the ideal balance of chemicals and populations of microorganisms required for a healthy digestive system. Olives, especially black, are very high in iron. The ability of red blood cells to carry oxygen throughout the body is due to the presence of iron in the blood. Vitamin A which, when converted into the retinal form, is crucial for healthy eyes.
People who have the highest olive consumption eat fewer calories overall and are rarely overweight. Blood tests show they have higher levels of serotonin, a so-called satiety hormone that makes us feel full. Black olives are a great source of vitamin E, which has the brilliant ability to neutralize free radicals in body fat protecting against cancer. Anti-inflammatory nutrients in olives can act as a natural Ibuprofen.
The aroma extracts from olive oil can leave us feeling fuller, cutting our calorie intake by almost 200 calories a day.
Olive oil is representative of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit gives life and is foundational for leading a life that is Godly and fruitful. Without the Spirit, we attempt to operate in our own might instead of the power of His Might.
A story in the book of Judges reveals the function of olive oil:
But the olive tree replied, ‘Am I supposed to leave my oil, which is used to honor both God and humanity, just to go and hold sway over the trees? – Judges 9:9 CJB
The benefits of dates include relief from constipation, intestinal disorders, heart problems, anemia, sexual dysfunction, diarrhea, abdominal cancer, and many other conditions. Dates are rich in several vitamins, minerals and fiber too. These delicious fruits contain oil, calcium, sulfur, iron, potassium, phosphorous, manganese, copper and magnesium which are all beneficial for health. Some health specialists have said that eating one date per day is necessary for a balanced and healthy diet. The massive health benefits of dates have made them one of the best ingredients for muscle development and are good for gaining weight also.
Dates correlate to the Kingdom of God. Those who have submitted their hearts to Messiah come under His rulership and are partakers of His sweet promises.
How sweet to my tongue is your promise, truly sweeter than honey in my mouth!
Bonus – Almonds
Almonds contain lots of healthy fats, fiber, protein, magnesium and vitamin E. The health benefits of almonds include lower blood sugar levels, reduced blood pressure and lower cholesterol levels. They can also reduce hunger and promote weight loss.
Almonds are the “awakener” of the body, the calibrator! Used in the holy furnishings of the Tabernacle and the Temple, almonds have a spiritual significance in so much that God used the visual image for man to look upon. The almond is more of a seed than a nut, and is almost a perfect food. It is a seed that we need to plant in our bodies to awaken the spirit-man to bloom and grow.
The word of Adonai came to me, asking, “Yirmeyahu, what do you see?” I answered, “I see a branch from an almond tree. Then Adonai said to me, “You have seen well, because I am watching to fulfill my word.” Jeremiah 1:1-12