- Torah Portion and Tanach
Our Sedra contains the reference to the unique foods of Israel that symbolize the fertility and bounty of the Holy Land: wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and dates. Beyond their nutritional value, each of these foods connect to a higher element, corresponding to what the Kabbala calls "the two souls of Man - the animal soul & the G-dly soul." Wheat and barley, the two grains among the Seven Kinds, represent the staples of our inner make-up. Wheat represents the endeavor to nourish what is distinctly human in us, to feed the divine aspirations that are the essence of our humanity. Barley represents the desire to nourish and develop our animal soul & instinctive self. Grapes represent joy ("wine gladdens the heart"). The fig stands for knowledge & is linked to the Tree of Knowledge in Gan Eden. The pomegranate, full of seeds, stands for the unlimited potential in each person. The olive, crushed in order to release its oil, represents the struggles we face & the ability to overcome them. The date stands for perfection & peace ("the righteous will bloom like a date").