Waves Festival stamps 5754 (1993)Festival stamps 5754 (1993)Festival stamps 5754 (1993)

  • Issue: August 1993
  • Designer: M. Codner
  • Stamp size: 25.7 x 40 mm
  • Plate no.: 189 - 191
  • Sheet of 15 stamps Tabs: 5
  • Printers: E. Lewin-Epstein Ltd.
  • Method of printing: Offset

In the Bible, the Land of Israel is described as a land of plenty. Seven species of food are mentioned in particular as being in abundance, of which three can be considered to be basic foods: bread, oil and the fruit of the vine. The man who is blessed with these has his existence assured - the other foods can be considered as extras. According to the Scriptures this economic wealth is assured to the man who takes the right path in life, as, for instance, in Deut. Xl, 13-14: "And it shall come to pass, ~ you hearken diligently to my commandments which I command you this day... that I will give you the rain of your land in its due season, the early rains and the late rains, that thou may gather in thy corn, and thy wine and thy oils'.

In gratitude to God for causing the rain to fall at the right season, for the land giving forth its produce in plenty, and for providing man with his basic needs, the Jew in ancient times worshipped Him in the Temple where could be seen the Showbread made of flour, the Menorah, the seven branched candelabra, lit with olive oil and the Altar on which wine, the fruit of the vine, was poured.

After the Temples were destroyed, this central, unique and popular place of worship was lost and the custom of thanksgiving for the blessings of the land took place in the Jewish home. This is referred to in the Talmud (Tractate Minchot, 97A): "When the Temple was in existence, the Altar atoned for man, and now that it no longer exists, man's table atones for him". From this we understand that after the destruction of the Temple every family was able to bring the flavour of the Temple into its own home. This was achieved primarily through the ceremonies connected with the reception of the Sabbath into the home each week: the Sabbath loaves that are blessed, the candles that are lit to welcome the Sabbath and the wine of the "Kiddush" (Sanctification). This can be seen as man's gratitude to God for the produce of the land: for the corn (wheat), the wine and the oil.

And indeed anyone who travels around the Land of Israel today can still see cereals growing in plenty, vast olive plantations and enormous vineyards amazingly cultivated along innumerable fences and terraced hillsides.

In biblical times these basic foods were processed from the fruit and the grain in three man-made facilities: the flour was ground in mills, the oil was produced in oil presses and the grapes were trodden in wine presses extracting all the juice which was fermented to make wine or processed into grape-honey which served as an important sweetener in the ancient world. Today, Israel's landscape is profuse with remnants of these time-worn facilities, representing the food industry of the three major constituents of the Blessings of the Land.

On the set of stamps being issued for the Jewish Festivals for the year 5754 (1993), which is entitled "Times for Rejoicing' these three species, wheat, olives and grapes have been chosen to represent the Blessings of the Land for those who work it, and on the tabs of the stamps can be seen the implements used to process foods from these examples of God's bounty.

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Festival stamps 5754 (1993)