Nothing could connect you more to Israel than the fruit of the land itself. The seven species, called “shivat haminim” in Hebrew, are listed in the Bible as the seven agricultural products which bless the land of Israel.
In Deuteronomy, Israel is described as “a land of wheat and barley, vines and fig-trees and pomegranates; a land of olive trees and honey (Deuteronomy 8:seven-8),” making up the seven species.
Historically, these seven fruits contain much significance within Jewish culture. During Biblical times, these seven fruits were the main food consumed in the land of Israel making them staple foods.
Being that they are the fruit of the land, the seven species have an element of holiness to them and therefore a special blessing is said after their consumption. The seven species were considered so holy that the first fruits of the harvest were offered to God during the festival of Shavuot (Tabernacles) in the ancient times of the temple.
The seven species still play a large role in Jewish life today, as they have for centuries. In recent years, it has become customary to partake in a special meal highlighting the seven species on the holiday of Tu B’shvat, which celebrates the new year of the trees.
Not only are the seven species consumed on the holidays, but throughout Israel these fruits are eaten throughout the year, according to their season. The seven species have even become incorporated into Israeli home decorum, as pomegranate napkin holders and plates are seen widely throughout the country.
Michael Levy, CEO of ‘Tasting the World,’ has taken his passion for the seven species to a whole new level. His new line beauty products and soaps, called ‘Shivat’ meaning “The Seven,” incorporates each of the seven species.
The project started more than seven years ago, with the idea being that what you put on your body should only be things that you can put inside your body.Michael explained to Breaking Israel News that the seven species are a kind of blessing to the body and it was therefore clear that these were the natural ingredients he needed to create his new line.
Made of shea butter and olive oil in addition to the seven species, each of the seven unique soaps symbolizes a special blessing brought forth via the species. Legendary for its medicinal effects, fig soap symbolizes longevity and vitality. Other blessings include beauty, fertility, prosperity and creativity.
Although some of the seven species are cheaper outside of Israel, Shivat makes sure to buy products strictly made in Israel since the idea of the soaps is to bring one’s body closer to the land of Israel and nature itself. Michael noted that “the seven species are the first fruits that God gave us and the fact that they still exist today is saying something.”
The seven species are prominent and interwoven throughout the Bible, making it clear that they are God’s fruits. In just one biblical story, after God destroyed the earth, Noah released a dove from the ark. Upon its return, in its mouth was an olive branch, God’s own fruit, which told Noah that the water had abated from the earth after the flood. Shivat’s soaps all contain olive oil, symbolizing peace.
The soaps contain healthful nutrients that benefit the body. In addition to promoting physical wellness, the biblical aspects provides the body with spiritual wellness as well. According to Michael, his goal is “to give to the customers a strong feeling of the holy land.” Making for a perfect holiday gift, there is no better way to connect to the land of Israel than by immersing oneself in the first fruits of the land itself.