Bovine, Bees, and Bagels

blackanguscow.jpg

Take it from me: I didn’t give old Bonnie – the faithful, milking cow enough credit. She was one of the producing cows on Kibbutz Einat when I worked in Israel as a volunteer.  Honestly, I was a little offended to have that mammoth as a name sake.  But cows like Bonnie have helped make Israel literally “the land flowing with milk and honey.” 

Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics recently released the figures for milk and honey production and consumption in Israel: The average Israeli cow produces 10.000 liters of milk per year, more than Dutch, American, Spanish, Australian, and European cows. Israeli bees cannot keep up with the local demand. Although 90,000 hives produced 3,500 tons of honey last year, another 500 tons had to be imported to meet demands.

Milk and honey is not just about cows and bees. The early Jewish nation sucked honey from the rock in the wilderness. Image that! I wonder if Moses spread that honey on his bagels for breakfast.

That miracle is a picture of Proverbs 24:13-14: “My son, eat honey, for it is good, yes, the honey from the comb is sweet to your taste; know that wisdom is thus for your soul; if you find it, then there will be a future, and your hope will not be cut off.” 

Sometimes the truth hidden within God’s Word can seem as impermeable as a rock. That is why we must “suck” it out–work for it–so we can relish it. The sweetness of wisdom hidden in the Bible will guide and direct us into leading productive and joyful lives.

At the same time, I Peter 2:2 teaches us that the “pure milk of the Word” is that which nourishes and strengthens our souls.

Man does not live by bread  or milk or honey alone but by every word that comes from God’s mouth.  

In a global perspective, I am considering the calling of the Jewish people. The first book of the Bible, Genesis, tells us that the Jews are called to bless all the families of the earth. That is quite a calling!

That makes them the distributors of the sweet, spiritual nourishment of “milk and honey” that sustains the human spirit.  I guess that makes them cows and bees for the whole planet.

Now that’s a bonny bovine I can embrace.

22 Comments

  1. Perhaps, but at least the chickens were not so blasted close to the volunteer quarters!
    I guess I’m just a CITY GIRL!

  2. Yes–unfortunately! I never had the pleasure of working those barns, but did work the chickens…one day only! Come to think of it, I was bounced all over the kibbutz–cotton, apples, oranges, childrens’ and adults’ dining rooms, bakery, even a 2 day stint as a secretary to type an English letter. I’m glad, though, because it gave me a great overall view of the job areas available. So glad I had the priviledge of experiencing all I did that summer. Changed my perceptions.

  3. Tara,

    Like you I worked everywhere, and it was good experience. The only place I never worked was the shoe factory. Did you?

  4. No, I didn’t come to think of it….and wasn’t there a pottery shop of some kind, too? I have windchimes, and cups, all with “Einot” etched inside or on the bottom.

    Now you’ve got me started thinking….I have so many memories of Einot besides the places I worked….the birds that flew in and out of the old dining room at will…how horrified we were to learn upon arrival that there were NO ICE CUBES available, and the only cold water was seltzer on tap! I also remember the narrow streets, bordered by the flowering gardens of the kibbutzniks…and the pomogranate trees near the swimming pool, weighed down with fruit (first time I’d ever tasted one, too!).

    Then there were the evenings, when we’d hike up to the ancient crusader castle (way too close to the green line now I’m sure!), or walk over to the volunteer lounge and watch old American reruns like Kojak, or maybe catch an old movie at the movie theater– just to hear English with written Hebrew subtitles!

    Speaking of tv, I remember how strange it sounded to hear every home in the place tuned to the same station each week to watch the WWII BBC show “World At War”. The sound of the theme music reverberated throughout the place. I was awed that summer of 1975, thinking of all the kibbutzniks with tattooed arms, nudging their children or grandchildren and saying “Look! I was there…” These holocaust survivors were watching their own personal history unfold just like a family photo album.

    Then there were trips to Petach Tikva or Tel Aviv….and falafels…and train rides to Jerusalem. Bus rides to the Jezreel or Bethelehem, the Negev or Elat. Tiberius, the Jordan River. Haifa and Mt. Carmel. Gosh, I could go on and on….but I better stop! Even after 32 years the memories are so very vivid….

  5. Dear “fruits,”

    I assume you were a volunteer in 1983. Who was in charge of the volunteers then? Just curious. Shmulik and Rivkah oversaw the volunteers when I was there for the most part.

    How did you come across my blog?

    Nice to hear from you.

  6. hi, i was googling ‘einat’ and it came upin the search results. you are correct i was a volunteer in1983-4-5 i did return home a couple of times, and i also lived in petach tikva for some months. a guy called ‘fishkah’ originally fron jerusalem was the volunteer leader. rivkah was ill for alot of the time i was there , i think she had a stroke. i was friendly with their son ‘tal’. he spoke excellent english, and was very popular with all the volunteers. they had other children , and a few years ago i was told that ilan, the second son, had died in america of meningitus but i cannot confirm this.

  7. I heard Elan died as well.

    Do you recall recall Bracha Shkedi? She and her husband were very elderly. They lived close to the volunteer housing and the graveyard. Anyway, she died a couple of months ago. Some friends of mine, who live in Jerusalem and were with me on the kibbutz, attended the funeral on Einat.

    They said that Einat is totally different now. And the kibbutz does fancy catering.

    Thanks for the comments.

  8. I was a volunteer on Kibbutz Einat in 1973 and 1976; I will be returning to Israel this October and am wondering if it is still there and how do I get to it.

  9. Hey, Wendy, thanks for commenting.

    Although, I have not been back to the kibbutz, I have friends who have visited. Yes, it is still opened and located in the same place. I understand it is a little more difficult to find because the highway system is different.

    My friends stopped in Petach Tikvah first and asked for directions. They drove right there.

    Happy journey back to Einat and Israel!

  10. HI DO NOT RECALL THOSE NAMES, I REMEMBER A LADY CALLED HIEKKA WHO WORKED IN THE DINING ROOM , USUALLY IN THE AFTERNOONS. I WOULD LOVE TO GO BACK TO SEE THE PLACE, MAYBE ONE DAY. DO YOU ALSO REMEMBER DANA A VOLUNTEER FROM USA.

  11. I remember Heika well. I worked with her. I do remember Dana. She was my neighbor for a few months in the volunteer housing.

    You should make a trip back someday.

  12. HI I GOT MAIL FROM DANA YESTERDAY, AND FROM A VOLUNTEER CALLED DAWN WHO IS FROM THE UK. AS I STUMBLED ACROSS YOUR BLOG BY ACCIDENT CAN YOU TELL ME ANYTHING ABOUT YOU AND YOUR BLOG. I UNDERSTAND IF YOU FEEL THAT I ENDED UP SOME PLACE I SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN, EVERYONE IS ENTITLED TO KEEP THEIR BLOGG PRIVATE.

  13. I don’t understand your question. Are you asking can you pass on my blog to others, like Dana and Dawn? Yes, it is open for public viewing.

    I think it is amazing how the Internet has the power to connect people or reconnect.

    Thanks for connecting.

    Bonnie

  14. thanks for your reply, you are right the internet can be very powerful, it can enable people from all over the world to have fantastic exchanges of ideas and view points .

  15. Bonnie,
    The years of 1976 and 1977 have incredible meaning for me. I also shared in the kibbutz experince and still have vivid memories of the time there. I could list many names and people we know and love. It’s nice to know that your love for Israel and it’s people have not diminished. Thanks also for the use of your parents home shortly after my return to the states. I have been back to Israel three times since living on the kibbutz and have also visited kibbutz Einat. It has changed, but the memories and the people remain. It was also nice to see your picture on the blog site.
    Sincerely,
    Randy J

  16. Randy,

    What a trip to hear from you! You have made my day! I have been the kibbutz only once since those years as a volunteer, and it was way before all the changes. David Katz told me about all the changes, some good and some bad. But the people remain the same.

    Thanks for leaving a comment. Great to hear from you.

    Bonnie

  17. interesting article.
    i came to this blog by a query of a dream i had a few months ago.

    (the)”Jews are the bees that suck in to the honey of wisdom”

    it kind of ressonates with this text,

    i am not jewish, and sheldom have much contact with the culture (living in norway) a part from my interest in the ancient times, religion and mysticism.

    it’s sounds like the sentence comes from outside me. biblical in sense.

    can anyone help me?

    any

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