Wednesday, October 15, 2008

M is for myrtle

To see what other bloggers have come up with for "M" day, jump over to ABC Wednesday.
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My M is for myrtle. Myrtle branches are one of the four species of plants that are needed for an ancient Jewish ceremony done during the week of the Sukkot holiday. Yesterday I took you into the yearly Four Species Market in Jerusalem. Let's go back again!
A "gingey" (generic name in Hebrew for all redheads) brings in another load of first-class myrtle branches.
The religious men know exactly what to look for to make sure the branches they buy are perfect.
The man with the gingey beard is holding branches of the willow tree, another of the four species.

The excellent and fun Jerusalemite blog features an interview with a veteran vendor at this shuk, if you'd like more detailed explanations.
The sign on the hadassim/myrtle reassures customers that the branches are "foreign produce." The year that just ended was a shmittah year as the Torah commands,
"But in the seventh year shall be a sabbath of solemn rest for the land, a sabbath for God; you shall neither sow your field, nor prune your vineyard."

24 comments:

  1. Thanks, Dina, for a wonderful lesson about Jewish traditions.

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  2. When I visit you I always learn something more.
    Thank you for sharing.

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  3. What a very interesting post. I've learned quite a bit that I never knew before thanks to reading and looking at your fantastic photographs. thank you.

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  4. Hmmm.. very interesting! Great choice for this week.

    My M entries are posted here and here. Please drop by if you have time. Thanks a lot!

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  5. Thanks Dina, I had no idea that Myrtle was used in this way.

    Ray

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  6. myrtle is such a wonderful aromatic plant

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  7. very beautiful and well smelling plant. did you know that in Greek mythology and ritual the myrtle was sacred to the goddesses Aphrodite and also Demeter: Artemidorus asserts that in interpreting dreams "a myrtle garland signifies the same as an olive garland, except that it is especially auspicious for farmers because of Demeter and for women because of Aphrodite. For the plant is sacred to both goddesses." Pausanias explains that one of the Graces in the sanctuary at Elis holds a myrtle branch because “the rose and the myrtle are sacred to Aphrodite and connected with the story of Adonis, while the Graces are of all deities the nearest related to Aphrodite.” Myrtle is the garland of Iacchus, according to Aristophanes, and of the victors at the Theban Iolaea, held in honour of the Theban hero Iolaus.(from wikipedia)

    About your question. Yes, with this they call to prayer. and this is portable but they also have a wooden permanent big one (you can see it here )and also an iron one.

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  8. Interesting information about myrtle and jewish tradition
    Great choice for 'M'.

    Mine is here

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  9. Most interesting post, Dina. I learned something I didn't know today as a result of my visit.

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  10. " But in the seventh year shall be a sabbath of solemn rest for the land, a sabbath for God; you shall neither sow your field, nor prune your vineyard."

    I know that text from the bible, but just now I understand its meaning. Very interesting post. BTW is it true that King David was also a redhead?

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  11. Thank you for posting a picture of the myrtle. I wanted to ask you in your last post because I just hear the name but have never seen one. Very interesting post about the Sabbath year too and why it was important they these were imported. Thank you so much the lesson, Dina.

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  12. Hello Dina
    I learn so much from blogging and with learning comes understanding... I very much enjoyed my visit and your 'M' post.

    Tom

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  13. Again, educational, historical, interesting and personal to your part of the world. Always a pleasure ans fascination to stop by here.

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  14. Fascinating Dina! I love seeing and reading this...

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  15. A very interesting and educational post today for ABC Wednesday.

    Bear((( )))

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  16. Interesting post and shots Dina.

    Thanks for your comment. I haven't had the chance to drive here. I actually do not have the US driving license. But I did some biking around the city instead.

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  17. Merci pour les explications et la le├žon concernant les traditions de Ton pays...
    Jolies photos en plus...

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  18. citrus is indeed our pergamonto - it is a highly fragrant lemon-like fruit, and in greece, we turn it into a spoon sweet. apart form being aromatic, it is very tasty too. the inside looks like a dry lemon, while the rind is extremely thick

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  19. Another wonderfully informative post. I always look forward to your explanations of your ceremonies and traditions.

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  20. Thanks for the information about myrtle. Your posts always let us know more about a place we've (at least I) have never been. I invite you to come see my "better" mouse trap. -- Margy

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  21. What a very informative post....the things I learn!

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  22. Evlahos, thank you for all this fascinating Greek mythology! And about the boards that are hammered as a call to Greek Orthodox prayer. I love the sound.

    Wil, yep,that's what they say. But I guess we will never have proof of David's curly red hair.

    Thank you all, dear friends, for your interest and encouragement.

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