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From biblical times until today, the land of Israel offers renewed resources

Beyond their culinary and cosmetic appeal, almonds hold deep symbolic significance in Israel's cultural and religious landscape

Almond trees bloom blossom in the Shaharia forest in southern Israel, late winter, February 29, 2024. (Photo: Edi Israel/Flash90)

From the beginning of time to the present day, as the warmth of spring envelops nature, an age-old spectacle unfolds, heralding not only the arrival of a new season but also echoing ancient promises and spiritual significance. It silently bears witness to the enduring faithfulness of God and the promise of His return!

The promise of such renewal blooms anew can be seen in Israel's almond tree.

Part of the Rosaceae family, the almond tree's Hebrew name is “shkediyah”- שקדיה and its Latin name is Prunus Amygdalus. It is generally harvested from July to November and presents many delights, from practical nutrition to its profound spiritual symbolism. The almond tree offers nourishment not only for the body but also for the soul.

A delight to the eyes

Indigenous to Turkestan and Central Asia, the almond tree grows spontaneously in the regions of Lebanon and Moab. However, in Israel, where it grows abundantly, the almond tree is primarily planted and cultivated. 

According to, the cultivation spans from Kibbutz Neot Semadar in the south to Kibbutz Dan in the north, encompassing key commercial areas such as the Hula Valley, the southern Golan Heights, the Lower Galilee, the Jezreel Valley, the Judean Plains and the northern Negev.

These 6,200 hectares are cultivated by 200 professional growers, 30% of whom work in kibbutzim (cooperative communities) and the majority in various private farming communities called moshavim. Formation, selection, and growth support are supervised by the Plant Production and Marketing Council and by the Ministry of Agriculture through the Agricultural Research Organization - Volcani Center. 

Almond cultivation in Israel is distinguished by its complete and sophisticated mechanization, enabling large-scale planting.

According to the USDA and the FDA (American Food and Drug Administration), almonds are considered one of the healthiest foods among 100 tested, with nutritional profiles that rival superfoods like avocado and olive oil. 

Apart from its beauty, the almond tree is a delight to savor and offers high-value nutrition in a variety of forms.

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A delight to the taste buds

Nearly all of ancient Greece cultivated the almond tree; hence its nickname "Greek nut" bestowed by the Romans which endured centuries. On the contrary, ancient Egypt did not; and almonds, along with pistachios, were a much-appreciated gift to the Egyptians, as is mentioned when Joseph's brothers prepared to return to Egypt during the famine in Canaan (Genesis 43:11).

Almonds are versatile and available whole, crushed, powdered, or in liquid forms, such as milk or oil. 

Highly nutritious, almonds have seen a surge in consumption in Israel in recent years, acknowledged for their nutritional value: calcium, protein, vitamin E, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper, manganese, B vitamins, natural fiber, antioxidants and cholesterol-lowering monounsaturated fat. Studies indicate that they offer protection against diabetes, gallstones, and cardiovascular disease.

The State of Israel consumes roughly 10,000 tons (20 million pounds) of almonds annually.

Unlike animal milk, almond milk contains no cholesterol or lactose. Historically, almond milk has been used as a beverage by the upper classes since Roman times throughout Europe and Asia.

Today, almond milk is sold in various flavors, including vanilla and chocolate. A popular almond milk drink in the Middle East, "Rosetta," is usually sold as a sweetened white syrup with almond flavoring, which is diluted with cold water or enjoyed with arak. 

Israel also sells a cold-pressed almond milk spread with a thick texture similar to tahini. 

And, of course, Israel boasts many famous almond-based sweets and typical Middle Eastern delicacies! 

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A touch of delight

Almond oil is particularly popular in Israel’s world of natural cosmetics. Recognized as a nutrient for the skin and scalp, and rich in natural components – including vitamin E, proteins, saturated fatty acids, potassium, zinc and minerals – almond oil is often recommended as the most suitable massage oil for babies and children, while being equally suitable for adults,

Its pleasant fragrance makes almond essence a much-appreciated and widely used scent in perfume, soap, shampoo, and lotion.

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A delight for the soul

Beyond their culinary and cosmetic appeal, almonds hold deep symbolic significance in Israel's cultural and religious landscape.

From biblical references to prophetic visions, the almond tree symbolizes hope, renewal and the fulfillment of God's Divine promises. Almond branches are mentioned in the story of Jacob, under the name of louz (Genesis 30:37) and Aaron's famous rod, which blossomed overnight and produced almonds (Numbers 17:8). In addition, it is worth noting that almond blossoms were intricately used to adorn the seven-branched candlestick further adding to its spiritual symbolism. (Exodus 25:33; 37:19)

The beautifully blossoming almond tree is characterized by its pristine white petals, ornamented with a subtle pink base visible only upon closer inspection. The crown of the flowering tree is reminiscent of the venerable whitened heads of old men as Ecclesiastes 12:5 vividly portrays the frailties of old age in its graphic description: “Before your hair turns white like an almond tree in bloom” (NLT).

The almond tree uniquely distinguishes itself as it is the first tree to wake from winter, usually in the month of Shvat (January/February) in Israel. This occasion is seen as joyous in Jewish tradition and designates a special date, heralding the arrival of spring with Tu Bishvat being celebrated on the 15th day of this month on the Jewish calendar.

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During Tu Bishvat celebrations, children in schools across Israel sing “Hashkediyah Porachat” or “The almond tree blossoms.” While the holiday also marks the anniversary of the establishment of the Israeli Parliament in 1949, it primarily celebrates the "New Year of the Trees." 

Could the celebrations, the rejoicing and the singing be prophetic? The Hebrew name "Shvat" (שבט) is also seen as an abbreviation of: “שנשמע בשורות טובות - She'nishma be'shorot tovot” which stands for: "May we hear good news."

"Good News" was, indeed, announced to us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Yeshua. Interestingly, the Hebrew word: “שקד” can be read two ways: “sha-ked” or “sho-ked.” As we dive into the meaning of both words, we discover a rich spiritual parallel.

The Hebrew word “sho-ked” means: “vigilance or watchfulness in Hebrew, suggesting a sense of alertness or attentiveness.” This concept aligns with the vigilance of those who anticipate the return of the Messiah. The Good News of the Lord Jesus Yeshua has been announced, and those who believe in His coming also believe in His Return. They act as vigilant watchmen, foreshadowing the coming of spring and the arrival of the Messiah.

The young prophet Jeremiah gives us another powerful prophecy in his vision recorded in Jeremiah 1:11. The Lord Himself is watchful! The blossoming branch of the almond tree (shkediyah) also symbolizes, by its precocity, the vigilance of the Lord and the pledge of the coming fulfillment of His promises.

As almond trees bloom once again, bearing fruit with numerous beneficial effects, we bear witness to the faithfulness of the God of Israel and the enduring truth of His promises, which remain steadfast and reliable even today.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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