Sharona Margolin Halickman

The best products come from Israel

Photo Courtesy Sharona Halickman

In Parsha Vayeshev (Breisheet 37:25) after Yosef’s brothers threw him in the pit we read:

They sat down to eat bread. They raised their eyes and saw, behold a Yishmaelite caravan was coming from Gilad. Their camels were carrying spices, balsam and lotus, bringing them down to Egypt.

Ibn Ezra points out that according to Rav Moshe HaKohen the spices (nekhot) referred to here are precious.

In Parshat Miketz, right before Yaakov sends Binyamin down to Egypt (Breisheet 43:11), he sends gifts:

Their father, Yisrael said to them, “If so, this is what you must do: Take of the best fruits of the land (Zimrat Ha’Aretz) in your vessels, and take an offering to the man, a little balsam, a little honey, gum labdanum, pistachios and almonds.”

Sforno explains why it says “a little balsam” as opposed to a lot:

Although when one presents a gift to an ordinary person it is important to impress him with the quantity of the gift so that he can feast his eyes on it, this man who has everything will only be impressed with the quality of the gift instead of the quantity; therefore take rare items but only in appropriately small quantities to emphasize their rareness. All the items sent to Yosef were of this nature, as opposed to the gift Yaakov had sent to his brother Esau on a previous occasion.

These were good quality items that a king would appreciate.

Chizkuni points out that these items were not available in Egypt as we saw above in Parshat Vayeshev that the Yishmaelim imported them down to Egypt.

Rashi comments that they were the best fruits of the land, Zimrat HaAretz.

Onkelos explains Zimrat HaAretz as “of that which is praised in the land”. Everyone sings the praises of these products.

Today as well, Israel exports products that are sought after all over the world. Often they are more expensive, but they are of higher quality.

May we continue to support Israel’s economy, especially during these difficult times.

About the Author
Sharona holds a BA in Judaic Studies from Stern College and an MS in Jewish Education from Azrieli Graduate School, Yeshiva University. Sharona was the first Congregational Intern and Madricha Ruchanit at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale, NY. After making aliya in 2004, Sharona founded Torat Reva Yerushalayim, a non profit organization based in Jerusalem which provides Torah study groups for students of all ages and backgrounds.
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