February 01, 2007

Breadcrumb: Almonds?

The menorah in the tabernacle was to be designed with decorations shaped like almonds, along with their buds and flowers. Why almonds? Two explanations are generally given: first, the almond was the first fruit to blossom in the springtime, which leads to a correspondence between the almond-decorated menorah and the spring (some would say the spring of knowledge or wisdom). Second, in Numbers 17:1-8, Aaron plants his staff in front of the tabernacle, and when he returns the next day, it has bloomed and produced almonds. This seems to be an after-the-fact justification, but it is a common one nonetheless.

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