Aley Chubeza #64 – April 11th-13th 2011 – Passover

Preparing-for-Pesach Messages:

Pesach delivery changes:

  • During Chol HaMoed Pesach, there will be no delivery. Wednesday recipients will not receive boxes on April 20th, and Monday recipients will not be receiving on April 25th. Consequently:
  • Monday recipients will receive boxes on the following dates: Sunday, April 17th, Monday May 2.
  • Wednesday recipients will receive boxes on the following dates: April 13th, April 27th.
  • Bi-weekly recipients: Because of Pesach week, you will have a three-week delivery gap. To rearrange your delivery dates to avoid this gap, please contact me ASAP.

 If you wish to increase the contents of your box for the Holiday, please contact me ASAP!

In the best of Chubeza tradition, we invite you to set out for your “pilgrimage” and celebrate with us on our OpenDay at Chubeza. This year’s celebration will take place on Thursday, April 21, the 17th of Nisan (during Chol Ha’Moed). Stay tuned for a full schedule of activities.



(With thanks to my Netta, who waited patiently while her mom was writing the newsletter and helped me pick out the pictures for this issue)

For the past few weeks, it’s been official: spring is already here. Astronomically speaking, spring begins on the day of the vernal equinox, where the length of day is equal to the length of night. Spring ends on the summer solstice, when the day is longest and the night is shortest. For us in the northern hemisphere, spring begins on March 21st and ends on June 21st.  Spring is traditionally known as a season for awakening, renewal and love. This is the season for wooing and for romance, providing perfect weather for lovers. Yet in Israel, spring is not such a pleasant, temperate interlude.  Here, spring is the season of topsy-turvy weather—pleasant days which turn to rainy ones followed by a hazy heat wave, just like we’ve been seeing over the past few weeks. Yet, when the European immigrants arrived here, they couldn’t face bidding farewell to the European season of rejuvenation and blossoming, thus they promptly inserted it into the Israeli calendar. And indeed, regardless of the weather pattern, as they say in Proverbs, “No matter how long the winter, spring is sure to follow.”

In the Bible, the term spring (aviv in Hebrew) defines a particular stage in the development of grain, the start of ripening when the stalk begins to harden. In our region, the first grain to ripen is the barley, and the month of aviv is that month when barley reaches the stage of development called “aviv.” This “aviv” of the grain takes place at a time when the rains have diminished, the sun is shining and the temperatures are beginning to rise. And so, in Hebrew, this transition time between winter and summer came to be called aviv. It is also the month that the Children of Israel came out of Egypt. The book of Exodus (9:31) recounts the effects of the plague of hail, saying, “And the flax and the barley were smitten; for the barley was in the ear, and the flax was in bloom. But the wheat and the spelt were not smitten; for they ripen late.”  The short spring of the month of Nissan is indeed a fine time to go out of Egypt for a sojourn in the Sinai Desert (as those Israelis congregating in Taba will certainly attest). Rashi even wrote, “This is what he indicated to them: See the kindness which He has done to you, for He brought you forth in a month in which it is fitting to go forth, not (too) hot and not (too) cold, and no rains.” (Commentary on Exodus 13:4)

There are those who claim that the word aviv derives from the word av, meaning father, the head of the family, the first in the family, denoting the very first ear of grain during the period of ripening. Others believe that the origin of the word comes from a different meaning of av – a fresh, young plant which is presently blossoming, such as ibei ha-nachal, the “green plants of the valley” mentioned in the Song of Songs, (6:11) and “odenu be’ibo,” (whilst still in its greenness), Job 5:12. Other languages, too, tend to take words for “first” or “early” as their roots for the season’s name, like primavera in Spanish and Italian and printemps in French. The English word spring comes from the notion of the “spring of the year,” when plants “spring up.”

And blossoming does indeed provide the pervading hue of the spring season, as the writer Eliezer Smoli wrote, “Anyone who traverses Eretz Yisrael at this time of the year, whether on foot or even by car, will be met by a flowering abundance wherever his eye shall turn. Like one vast colorful carpet covering the flat land from the north to the Negev, from the east to the west, mountain and valley, hill and dell, immersed in a swell of every varied color. A true celebration of flowering at this season of the year. Spring in the very fullness of the word. Yet one who looks closely at the sea of bloom before him will discern, at the very outermost part, at the edge of the dotted tapestry, a withering that is slowly creeping up, and here and there are signs of balding. It appears that out of intention and knowledge, as it were, the abundance of flowering is concentrated in one short, finite period, for behold, the rains are over and gone and the sun has emerged from its sheath. The power of the east overcomes the west, day by day. The rainy season, which fought a diligent, daily all-out war, surrendered at last to the sunny days. Upon the horizon, a misty heat wave rises and an idle breeze breaks through to cross the Jordan and swoop westward—with the withering and wilting in its wake.”

During this period, the beekeepers are preparing for their busy season to extract the honey that the bees prepared from the nectar gathered during the blooming season, from winter till now. At Chubeza, we’re also feeling the coming of the honey—our honey stock from last season is dwindling away. If you ordered a kilo of honey lately, you’ve heard that all we have left is a very limited assortment. Together with Daniella and Tamir, we await the bee season and the honey they will produce in another month and a half or two, from the wonderful flavors of their hives

Shepherds also celebrated at Pesach. Spring is the birthing time for lambs and goats, and there’s an abundance of milk, labeneh, cheese and butter. This is a good reason to hold a celebratory feast, to thank the Almighty that the winter has safely passed, and to pray that the entire herd—even the youngest animals—will go safely and peacefully to graze in the pasture.  To this day, a spring rite of Bedouin shepherds is to dedicate the first butter to Moch’an, their patriarch of nomadic shepherds. When the milking season comes, they use a leather pouch to collect the butter made from the milk produced during the first three days. On the third day, they prepare a great feast in honor of Moch’an, and only afterwards do the shepherds themselves partake of the new butter.

Pesach, the holiday of spring, ushers in the parade of agricultural holidays in Eretz Yisrael, with Nissan being the first month of the Hebrew calendar. During this holiday, the farmers are fortified with strength and many hours of sleep they accumulated during the slow winter season, where they were able to rest and restore their energy (and forget how hot last summer was…). Now they’re tackling their spring tasks, one of them being… (you guessed right) – spring cleaning!.  In ancient Persia, the first month, corresponding to March-April, was Adukanaiša, which apparently means “Irrigation-Canal-Cleaning Month.”

After sowing in tears, the barley has ripened, heralding the time to reap in joy. At the close of the first Pesach holiday, a traditional celebration was held to mark the barley harvest season, by the ceremonial first binding of the sheaves. A lovely description of this ancient ceremony and of its renewal by the Zionist Movement is depicted on this PowerPoint presentation by Machon Shitim (in Hebrew).

This ceremony and this season were also accompanied by great apprehension. As the entire season’s crops are about to ripen and become ready to harvest, the volatile weather placed tremendous pressure upon the farmers. In the words of the Yalkut Shimoni, “At Pesach, one will not find simchah (joy) written even once. Why? For at Pesach, the yield is judged, and no one knows whether this year will bring a yield or not.”

We join in the hope and prayers that this holiday and this coming season will be blessed with honey, milk and the fruit of the land, which will bring health, peace and happiness. Chag sameach!

Alon, Melissa, Bat-Ami, and entire Chubeza team: Suwet, Phum, Soso, Muchamed, Alon, Tamir, Oren, Saba Avraham, Itzik, Yochai, Dror, Eli and Amit


What’s Springing From this Week’s Boxes?

Monday: red-leaf lettuce, Swiss chard, parsley, cabbage, , kohlrabi, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, cilantro, beets, peas (small box only)

In the large box, in addition: celeriac, zucchini, green garlic, fava beans

Wednesday: beets, kohlrabi, Swiss chard, cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, parsley, celery, lettuce, peas or fava beans, cabbage.

In the large box, in addition: green garlic, parsley root, squash

And there’s more! You can add to your basket a wide, delectable range of additional products from fine small producers of these organic products: granola and cookies, flour, sprouted bread, sprouts, goat cheeses, fruits, honey, crackers. You can learn more about each producer on the Chubeza website. The attached order form includes a detailed listing of the products and their cost. Fill it out, and send it back to us to begin your delivery soon.


Recipes will be back after Passover