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Food for Thought

“G-d guides you to a bountiful land, a place filled with wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives, and dates,” as stated in Deuteronomy 8:8.

This biblical verse holds profound metaphorical layers and allusions beyond its literal meaning. Beyond describing a promised land with seven special fruits, it delves into the human soul and its seven distinct qualities that drive and enrich it. According to the symbolic teachings of Kabbalah, the “seven kinds” representing the blessings of the Land of Israel—wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives, and dates—symbolize qualities of transcendence, vitality, joy, awareness, action, struggle, and tranquility.

Transcendence (“wheat”): The mystery of the human condition lies in our constant quest for “more”—to discover new worlds, rise above ourselves, and elevate our experiences to the next level.

Vitality (“barley”): Our transcendent self coexists with our vital, animal self, possessing positive attributes such as willpower, passion, and energy that the more “spiritual” self might lack. The challenge is to channel these qualities to the right places.

Joy (“grapes”): True happiness unleashes an open book of personality, breaking down internal and external barriers. Joy serves as a powerful force that flows freely without restraint.

Awareness (“fig”): Knowledge goes beyond power; it is the ability to fully engage in one’s life and actions. Informed deeds are focused, effective, and integral to the doer’s identity.

Action (“pomegranate”): There are times when action is imperative, even in the absence of complete knowledge. The ability to act, regardless of understanding, is a crucial and redeeming feature of the human soul.

Struggle (“olive”): Human innovation flourishes in the face of limits and constraints. Whether facing a work deadline or a national crisis, our best qualities emerge when pressed, represented by the “olive.”

Tranquility (“date”): Beneath the struggles lies the soul’s core of tranquil perfection—the “date.” This inner sanctuary remains undisturbed by the turmoil of the spirit, societal changes, or historical upheavals. We possess the power to access and tap into this well of harmony, creating an oasis of immutable truth and perfect peace amidst life’s storms.