MembersThe Almond Tree – What Does It Say? (Part 2)

Only a basic knowledge of the Hebrew language provides the key to this mystery

By Gershon Nerel | | Topics: Trees - How Do They Speak?
Almond tree blooms in Israel
Photo: Anat Hermony/FLASH90

All over Israel, during the months of January and February, the almond tree is the first among the trees to blossom with its white flowers. The beautiful flowering of the almond tree brings to mind the narration of the prophet Jeremiah: “The word of YHWH came to me, saying: ‘Jeremiah, what do you see?’ and I said: I see a branch of an almond tree.’ Then YHWH said to me: ‘you have seen well, for I am ready to perform my word'” (Jeremiah 1: 11-12).

At a first glance this text looks enigmatic because the rational connection between the divine question, the human answer given to it and eventually the final divine response makes no sense.

Only a basic knowledge of the Hebrew language provides the key to this linguistic mystery.

 

Linguistic analogy

In Hebrew, as it is reflected in Jeremiah’s short talk, there does exist a literary linkage between the noun almond and the verb to watch. This relation is not thematic but rather phonetic. In the original Hebraic text there is a play on...

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