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Springtime blooms

Springtime blooms
Shabbat Daf 126

Making space for unexpected Shabbat guests? No worries, it’s not considered prohibited work – you are allowed on Shabbat to clear out those few boxes from the den for them. Extra people for the weekly afternoon shiur? Our rabbis agree that you can exert some effort shlepping to make room, it’s for a mitzvah.

Today’s daf delves further into the types of foods stored up, and whether they can be moved on Shabbat. If it has a use, it isnt muktzah, and one of the most common uses in Talmudic times was feeding your animals. Here’s where the fun begins: what plants were in use then, what was common to the Land of Israel and how was it used? 

Our list mentions lupines, the big purple ‘bottle-brush’ flower found in the rolling hills of Israel’s lowlands and lower Galilee. You can catch them in full bloom  in the Elah Valley on historic Tel Socho, site of David’s victory over giant Goliath; and in the Galileean Tabor riverbed and the Jezreel Valley’s Givat Hamoreh. But catch them fast, usually just before Purim – nicely timed with today’s daf!

Are lupines used on Shabbat? They must be boiled seven times, according to some, to be consumed by humans. Often our references point to animals, as in Brachot (32a), when Rabbi Oshaia referred to a man who had given his cow ‘lupines to eat and it proceeded to kick him.” Food for cows; food for goats on our daf. And we know that the Land of Israel can produce this beautiful flower.

The list continues, and includes luf and the mustard plant. Used on shabbat? Neither. All parts of the first, referred to as Arum, are poisonous, yet locals in Israel have used it from Second Temple times for its leaves (What is edible for man?.. Tosefta, Shabbat 8:9). We can learn from today’s daf that they must be boiled to be used, for here we’re told that when raw, the luf is not fit for man or animal, and thus deemed muktzah.

Mustard, is useful by extracting its seeds, and is common throughout the Land, dotting both hills and valleys. But it has no edible use in this form, on Shabbat, and therefore is treated as muktzah. 

You can, of course, dig in when it comes out of the bottle, anytime … 

So, Shabbat shalom — come join us in the blossoming hills,

as spring rolls through the Land and calls us to wander through its fields and valleys!

Shulie Mishkin

Shulie Mishkin

Shulie Mishkin made Aliyah from New York with a Master's degree in Jewish History from Columbia University. After completing the Ministry of Tourism guide course in 1997, she began guiding professionally and has since taught and guided all ages, from toddlers to retirees. Her tours provide a complete picture of the land of Israel and Jewish heritage, with a strong reliance on sources ranging from the Bible to 19th century travelers' reports. Alongside her regular guide work, she teaches "tour and text" courses in the Jerusalem institutions of Pardes and Matan as wel as the Women's Bet Midrash in Efrat and provides tours for special needs students in the “Darkaynu” program. Shulie lives in Alon Shvut with her husband Jonathan and their five kids. Shulie Mishkin is now doing virtual tours online. Check out the options at
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