Israel is having a Sirocco this week, typical of April and May, with temperatures in Jerusalem soaring to 37 degrees (98 Fahrenheit) and over 40 degrees (104) in most of the rest of the country. Jesus said: “And when you see the south wind blowing, you say, ‘There will be scorching heat’; and it happens” (Luke 12:55).
Spring is changing into summer. More correctly, the rainy season is becoming the dry season. We are commanded in Scripture to be thankful (Eph. 5:4; Phil. 4:6; Col. 2:7; 4:2), and even, to express our thankfulness publicly: “I will remember the deeds of the LORD…I will meditate on all your works and consider all your mighty deeds” (Ps. 77:11-12; NIV). Therefore, I want to publicly thank God for his mercy in bringing down rain upon the land of Israel during this rainy season. We have witnessed a miracle of immense proportions!
For the last three years Israel has experienced much lower than average rainfall. The situation is so bad that the Sea of Galilee, which serves as the nation’s main water reservoir and whose normal level is minus 208.90 meters, is now minus 214.16 meters, that is, almost 16 feet below normal.
A lively group of children are grinding wheat kernels between two stones, in preparation for baking their own pita-bread. In a nearby grainfield, visitors are searching for tares among the wheat. Another group are tasting ripe sycamore figs and learning why it was a sycamore tree that Zacchaeus climbed in Jericho. This is Neot Kedumim, 625 acres of reconstructed biblical landscapes in Israel’s Modi’in region (2,000 years ago home to the Maccabees, today ten minutes from Ben-Gurion Airport).
This year the festival of Sukkot, or Tabernacles, takes place on October 9—16. JERUSALEM PERSPECTIVE has asked the famous biblical landscape reserve, Neot Kedumim, to provide our readers with some of the reserve’s wonderful insights into this festival, and Neot Kedumim staff member Beth Uval has contributed the following.
Adam gave names only to animals and birds, apparently avoiding fish entirely. The names of about fifty fish are mentioned in rabbinic literature, but the Torah merely makes a general distinction between clean fish, which Jews are permitted to eat (vertebrate), and unclean (without bones). Clean fish are generally recognized by the presence of fins and scales.