Monthly ArchiveJanuary 2015

Literary Motives in The Gideon story, Judges 6

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What Happened with the Calendar in September 2022

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Many people are asking themselves why there is a difference between the sighted new moon and the rabbinic calendar. Some have offered several explanations, but in truth I find most of these explanations unfounded and not historical.

The following is an extremely short description which does not do justice to this very long and complicated subject. 

First it must be established that the rabbinic calendar in its original setting was designed to indicate when the new sliver would be visible. This was the basis of the calculation from its birth and it is clearly stated so in Mishnaic and Talmudic sources such as Rosh Hashanah 20: a-b. With the demise of the Jewish community in the land of Israel during the Byzantine era the power of the calendar when into the hands of the Babylonian diaspora which had received permission from Hillel II to use the calculation abroad. During the intermediate period (from around the 4th century to the 10th) the calendar calculation was confirmed by sighting the moon in the land. The diaspora relied on the calculation but did not have the means to know when the moon was sighted. This led to a discrepancy in the calendar the moment the diaspora no longer knew when the moon was sighted.

The Historical Sixth Consonant in Hebrew

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The historic sound of the sixth consonant of the Hebrew Language

One of the more controversial questions on Hebrew phonetics in traditional circles is on the pronunciation of the letter ו: was ו pronounced as a V or W? This debate has been around for a long time, and each side stands mostly on the grounds of Modern Hebrew and traditional pronunciations. In many cases, the debates leave the world of academic study and end up becoming a theological argument.

Due to this, I must stress the following point:

Before discussing anything, it is important to define the parameters of the question. The subject being looked at here is not about vowel points and is not about the state of the language in medieval or modern times. What is being examined is the question of “is there evidence for the existence of one specific sound or the other in earlier stages of the Hebrew language?”. By saying this I am trying to avoid two problematic issues:

  1. Basing oneself on late and modern pronunciations attested in Jewish sources and tradition.
  2. Avoiding the miss-association some make between the way some words are said based on the consonants vs. vowels. It has become common to try and argue that if one says W, then automatically it must be a specific vowel setting for the name YHWH (specifically Yahweh vs. Yehovah). Based on this, the discussion about vowel points has nothing to do with the sounds of the consonants and should not be confused with the phonetics of the consonants.

To determine an answer to the above question, there is a need to examine multiple areas of study which can help determine if there is a clear answer on the state of the language in earlier stages.

 The overall reality

In a basic done on the subject of the sound of ו conducted in many Jewish communities, it is common to assume that in Arabian countries where there were Jews the sound of the consonant ו could be W or V. In European countries, the common attested sound is of a V. The pronunciation of V is the common one used in modern Hebrew, with some words that use the W sound. Modern Hebrew by most bases its consonantal practice on the used in Europe, while the vowels are based on the Sephardic/North African practice.

Masoretic Hebrew attested in 10th-11th centuries show that in Tiberius most people used the V sound, however there were exceptions due to specific phonetic functions. When ו was a consonant it was a v, but when it functioned within a vowel it was a W. On the other end of the Jewish world we find that Jews of Iraq contested this practice and only used a W sound (Khan, 2019). Another thing to consider is the evolution of sounds. For example: in Ancient Greek there were two periods- in the Mycenaean ear the sound was W. However, in time it changed and in classic and modern Greek it is a V. The pretense of a V sound in Hebrew maybe a result of exposer to Greek of Aramaic. 

Phonetics and Comparative Semitics

Traditionally ו is assigned a lip vocalization together with ב, מ, פ (B, M, and P). If ו was a V then it should be mostly seen as a dental sound, and less a lip. The fact is that the V sound is considered to be a dental sound or dental with partial lip, but not a lip alone. Because the assigned related group of sounds for ו are not of a dental but lip origins, it is difficult to accept the partial dental sound as the dominant one for ו. Another point to consider is that ו does not belong to any of the dental sound shifts attested in Semitic languages, hence a dental sound V is improbable[1].

In comparative linguistics for the Semitic family, both sounds are attested in related languages, however, W is considered to be the most common and historical sound between the two. This is the reason why most scholars would say the W sound is the older historical sound used for ו[2].

Could there have been a dual sound?

It is a well-known fact that Hebrew can use the same symbol for more than one sound. This is a reality even today with the dual sounds for ב, כ, פ. By adding a Dagesh (small dot) in these consonants, one can change the phonetics of the consonants from a soft V, Kh, and F into B, K, and P. The same goes for dual sounding consonants which did not use a Dagesh in the past but still had a double sound. This is, for example, the case of ח, ע which had two glottal sounds.

It is worth considering the theoretical possibility that under certain rules ו would have been sounded as W, and under other rules, as V. In some reading traditions from North Africa, we find similar rules when ו is a conjunction and it is sounded as a W.

There are, however, several points to consider about this section:

It has been stated many times in early Hebrew grammars written by Jewish scholars that there cannot be duplicate sounds between different consonants[3]. This means that the V sound can only belong to ב or ו. Because this statement usually appears in medieval writings, a time where the V sound is already known as being a sound for ב, one can conclude that these writers are saying that ו was a W sound.

Another side of this is the fact that we also find in Medieval Hebrew a switch between ב-פ in places where the sound should be soft. Such is the case of the switching of הפקר-הבקר (Hefqer-Hevqer) in Mishnaic Hebrew, and there is no evidence that both ו and a soft פ were both interchangeable with ב when without a Dagesh. It seems more logical that when the switch between ב-פ happened it was between V-F which are both dental, while ו-ב would be between W-B which are both lip[4].

A similar exchange can be found in the Arad letters where sometimes ב and פ switch (B-P). At this stage of the language, it is uncertain whether or not there were soft sounds, making it highly plausible that the switch being between two lip sounds[5]. Whatever the case may be, the writers associated these two sounds B-P or V-F (assuming the softer sound existed at the time) as closely related, however not ו which seems to belong to a slightly different group. As a result, it would seem for now that a W sound would fit this category of lip sounds.


One of the more intriguing issues with Hebrew phonetics is the discussion on the creation of the o sound in Hebrew. It is understood that all Semitic languages have three basic vowels: a, u, and i. Each language in time adopted other sounds by contracting diphthongs. In the case of the vowel o, it is understood that it came to be by a contracting of the diphthong AW. If the ו was a V sound such a contraction would probably not allow the creation of the o sound. We also find such a reality to this very day when ו is used as a conjunction with Shuruq. Instead of sounding a V with an o sound, the ו moves into a U sound. This U might be a hint to a pre-existing W sound[6].

An interesting example of such a case is the German tradition of creating a diphthong in a select number of words. A specific case I have personally heard is with the word עולם-Olam. When this word is used in the German tradition the tendency is to create a diphthong OW-OwLam. This could be a remnant of the AW diphthong, though the evidence is inconclusive at the moment.

ו and י

There are two aspects of the issue Hebrew has with both consonants. The first is a graphic problem, while the other, which more central to our discussion is the phonetic one. The graphic problem stems from the similarity in form caused by epigraphic practices. Though this is less an issue for the phonetic discussion, the fact that both consonants are commonly confused in MSS, and especially in the DSS (w y) where sometimes the scribe gave a the י a longer body. This gives place to the possibility that the creators of the square Alphabet paid attention to the phonetics of the consonants, which gave, in turn, the graphic similarity between the consonants.

In the phonetics of Hebrew, it has been recognized that ו and י share a half sound property. Being a half sound (or semi-vowel) means that they do not create a distinct cut on the speech organs. Both consonants only brush on the area they originate from, making them soft and partial. This can only be achieved if ו is a W sound that only partially touches the lips. In a dental sound, we have a full cut which is not what ו is supposed to do[7].

Another side to this issue is the fact that both consonants tend to interchange in Hebrew when compared to most North-West Semitic languages when appearing at the beginning of the word, demonstrating the strong link between the sounds[8]. This is also common in Masoretic text cases where one of the consonants changes into the other based on the vowel point settings[9]. This relationship is so vast that many if not most of the cases which appear in the MT are of the ו-י type[10].

Another testimony to the weakness of these two consonants can also found in both Hebrew and Aramaic use of them. In both languages, we find that the partial sound created by ו and י led them to a point where they lost their position as a consonant, and shifted in many cases to functions as matres lecations-vowel consonants. This process is more distinct in these two constants than the cases of א and ה which by most lengthen the sounds, but do not create them. Though אand ה do represent specific vowels, they are employed differently by not specifically assimilating into their diphthongs to produce vowels. The shift to a vowel-consonant can only be achieved if the consonant, to begin with, was already partway a vowel[11].

Both sounds were and are very close and originate from almost the same place, but have a slight distinction between them. This is demonstrative of the use of close and similar sounds in the text, but still distinctive of one another. Hence, the switch between ב-ו is not necessarily between sounds that are exactly the same.

The Cases of ב-ו interchanging

It is important to first note that the cases of ב-ו changes in the Biblical Hebrew text are extremely rare (3 cases in total), and in my opinion, should be used with caution as evidence of the state of the language in earlier times, or during the time of the writing of the Aleppo codex[12].

It has been argued (Gordon personal communication) that in the case of the word גוך/גבך in Ezekiel (10:16 גבהם, 23:35 גוך) we can find a switch between וand ב which indicates that Vav was a V[13]. This argument is based on the rule of Beged Kefet mentioned earlier where ב, ג, ד, כ, פ, ת can switch from a soft sound to a hard sound by inserting a Dagesh. The problem with this argument is that the spelling might not reflect such a reality.

In cases where we find the ו there are two issues:

  1. The consonant in all appearances of the word (1Kings 14:9, Ezekiel 23:35, Nehemiah 9:26) has a Dagesh in it which may indicate a harder sound for both the ו and ב. This is known as Dagesh Forte and is used to increase the sound of the consonant. In this case, it seems two ו were assimilated into one, creating a heavier sound that is closer to the B sound. This same reality is expressed in the ב which in such a case has a heavier sound and would resemble a W sound and not a V.
  2. In the compared cases of ב with suffixes, the ב is always the harder sound B and not V. Hence a heavy W would be closer in sound to a B and not a V.

Another problem that stands before us is the sources the Masoretes used for their text. It is possible that they had different texts, and made decisions based on different rules which allowed them to choose from variants of the text. Hence the interchanging ב-ו could be a result of different texts which at the time of their writing did not have different sounds for these consonants, which meant that either one could be used. As a result, the Masoretes did not or could not allow themselves to change the text even if they knew it was a mistake. It also does not seem they had variants in front of them, and the text actually contained this switch. If there was a difference in version this would have resulted in a Qeri and Ketiv situation with a note telling us it is spelled one way, but read another.

An interesting case of interchanging similar sounds which can be also found in Ezekiel is the switch between כ-ק. In the case of the word כובע/קובע (hat or helmet) we find the same word spelled differently in the same book (Ezekiel 23:10&38:5 use כ, 23:24 uses ק). The difference between the two consonants is in the precise location of the K/Q sounds. כ is a uvular consonant, while ק is velar. When considering the understanding in historical linguistics that the softer sound of כ is a later development, and that the glottal KH is not original for כ, but only the K, it becomes clear that these are similar consonants[14]. Hence any changes in pronunciation (and as a result spelling) would keep the changes limited to similar sounds in the same group.

Later stages 

In later cases, we do find writings from the Roman and medieval ages where ב and ו interchange in cases where it is clear the writer already has a V sound for the ב. The probability is very high that the sound depended on regional accents, and there was no official way of pronouncing the letter. “In later stages of Hebrew, 2nd-4th century, we find words which had phonetic “mistakes” that show variant spellings confusing ב/ו, which might indicate a V sound and not a W[15]. However, this probably should be seen as a guess of what happened due to the usual division of the consonants to different parts of the mouth tongue, and throat.

As stated above, we find variations of word spelling where ב and ו are clearly interchangeable due to them sounding the same way. It would seem to me that the fact is that at this point we do find a V sound for ו, and this might be the stage in time where there was a shift in sound. However, it is impossible to say this with absolute certainty due to the lack of evidence for other stages. As far as I know, there are no cases of vocalization in Greek or other transliterations where one can find a ו.

Did Arabic influence Hebrew

A very common argument in regards to the W sound is that it was derived from Arabic which influenced Hebrew. The only clear case where we can find a direct influence on Hebrew by Arabic is in Yemen where also ג and ק ended up sounding like Arabic. However, in many Arabic-speaking countries, we find the local Jewish population uses a V. On the other hand, in countries where there was almost no Arabic, or that there was no Arabic at all we can find W. This is true to areas in the former USSR, Persia (where Farsi is spoken), and in a very small way in Germany under very specific rules.

In a book called Sifte Kohen, published by Ben-Tziyon Hakohen in 1987, one can find a long list of Jewish writers from both Arab and non-Arab countries. In many cases, we can find evidence or open confessions that the sound used was a W. This evidence shows that the Arabic influence argument is incorrect[16].

I will note that I have seen the opposite argument being made that the V sound is actually an influence of European languages on Jews living in Europe. However, it is difficult to make such a statement for the same reasons the Arabic claim needs to be rejected. One historical possibility is that the V sound spread via Spanish Jews who immigrated to different parts of the world, bringing with them the Spanish tradition.


It is my personal opinion that there is no doubt that both V and W existed in post 2nd temple Hebrew, and that V became more popular than W. The question at hand is “was V the original sound”? The case for W has been demonstrated as much more complex than reading traditions, and it is something that is embedded in ancient morphology and phonetics. Even if we do not have a recording of the common speech dating to the bronze and iron age, the stressing of words in Hebrew which created the morphology of today shows that it was indeed a W sound and not a V.

I will not be surprised if some will find other reasons to argue a V sound, and I will address them if they are presented and update this article. However, the overall information we have on Semitic languages and the history of Hebrew morphology indicate that the W sound was the earlier sound of the ו.

[1] Morag Shlomo, Torat Hahegeh V’Hatsurah Shel Ha’ivrit, Jerusalem 2009, pp.27-28

[2]. Ravin Hayim, Safot Shemiyot, Jerusalem 1991, pp.52-53. This is the common transliteration in every comparative linguistic book written.

[3] In modern Semitics studies, other consonants such as ש, צ, ס are given different sounds from what is used today. This is based on the comparative method which finds the related consonants and compares them to find the majority of cases.

[4] Sharvit S., Prakim Betoldot Halashon HaIvrit, Vol.3, Tel-Aviv 2004, p.40

[5] Ahituv Shemuel, Haktav V’Hamikhtav, Jerusalem, 1992, p.4

[6] See Bergsträsser G., Hebräische Grammatik, Hebrew version by M. Ben Asher, Jerusalem 1982, p.74

[7] Morag, 2009, p.21

[8] See for example the case of ילד-ולד. Hebrew uses both, but for most cases Hebrew would use Yeled while Arabic uses Walad.

[9] Blau Y., Torat Hahegeh V’Hatsurah Shel Leshon Hamiqra, Jerusalem 2010, pp.84-90

[10] See Cohen Maimon, HaKtiv V’Haqri Shbamiqra, Jerusalem 2007

[11] See Qimron Elisha, Biblical Aramaic, Jerusalem 2007, p.16-17

[12] In truth, the spelling pre-dates the vowels as used by the Masorates, and might reflect a different way of speaking. It is possible that the exchange was between B and W which belong to the same sound group. This by no means indicates that someone made up the vowels in the Aleppo codex. The vowels as used in the Aleppo should be seen as a latter version of what was used earlier, and that it reflects the preservation of the original meaning of the words. What is in question here is the exact way people spoke, and not the meaning of the words. Even if a vowel point changes its sound, it is still the same vowel point.

[13] There is no doubt that the two spellings are referencing the same word “back”. The context and idiomatic use are very clear in the texts.

[14] Blau, 2010, pp. 53, 77-82&91

[15] Sharvit S., Prakim Betoldot Halashon HaIvrit, Vol.3, Tel-Aviv 2004, p.40. This principle can also be seen in the Kaufman MS of the Mishnah.

[16] Kohen Ben-Tziyon, Siftey Kohen, Jerusalem 1987, pp.44-68, In some cases, one can argue that the writer is trying hard to prove that it is a W, but in most cases, it is very clear that the testimonies do say it was a W.

Hebrew Interrogative Pronouns

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מַה/ מֶהmah/meh  What 
לָמָּה lāmāh WhyWith preposition ל to indicate direction of speech
כַּמָּה kammāh How muchWith preposition כ to indicate likeness
בַּמָּה/ בַּמֶּה bammāh/bameh  With whatWith preposition ב to indicate instrumental use
מָתַי mātay WhenThis preposition is its own form which appears in many Semitic languages.
מִי Who/whom 
לְמִי To whomWith preposition ל to indicate direction of speech
כְּמִי Like whomWith preposition כ to indicate likeness
בְּמִי By/within whomWith preposition ב to indicate instrumental use
אַיֵּה WhereCore form uses אי with combinations
אַיֶּכָּה Where are you (masculine, unattested in feminine)  
אֵיפֹה WhereBasic אי+פה (here)
אָן Where 
אֵיךְ How 
אֵיכָה How (maybe poetic) 
הֲ Basic form 
הַ Before gutturals or regular consonants with shva
הֶ Before gutturals with Qamats

Relative pronouns

אֲשֶׁר That/which
שֶׁ That/which
כִּי That/which (note that this word is used with more meanings)

Josué 5 e O Omer

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“O povo de Israel se acampou em Gilgal e eles observaram o Pesach no décimo quarto dia do mês, nas planícies de Jericó. O dia após Pesach eles comeram o que a terra produziu, matzah e espigas tostadas de grão naquele dia. No dia seguinte, após eles terem comido alimento produzido na terra, o maná cessou. Desde então o povo de Israel não mais teve maná; ao invés disso, aquele ano, eles comera o produto da terra de Canaã.” Josué 5:10-12

Determining the location and identity of towns and villages from the era of the Tanakh.

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Can we identify Israel in the vast amount of cultural layers of the land of Canaan? On of the major issues in archeology and the Tanakh is the finding exactly where Israel dwelt and at what stage did they take over the whole land. Attempts have been done for over 150 years to find the towns and villages Israel lived in, but to what level of success has this been achieved? Join Yoel in this group study on the subject of Israel’s urban archeology.

New Moon- When calculations count.

Yoel Halevi One comments

New Moon April 2022

I have been contemplating the question I raised in regards to when this new lunar month has started. I will admit that it kept me up last night and it took me a lot of time to make certain decisions. In truth, because I am just an individual who has expertise in the field, anything I say is only a suggestion and should be always taken with an advisory. 

I reached out to several world-renowned experts on ancient calendars to seek any information on issues of obstructed vision during a new moon sighting. The information which was provided showed serval clear ideas:

1. A month in the lunar-solar calendars was ideally 30 days long. This was a system that was adopted from eastern math which saw 60 as a perfect number. However, they also knew a cycle was not always 30 days and had to confirm how many days had actually passed since the last sighting.

2. In Babylon math was part of the system which allowed the experts to determine when the next new moon should be. This math was advanced and could predict things in a relatively accurate fashion. 

3. When clouds obstructed the horizon messengers were sent to other locations to check if others might have sighted the moon. If not, a 30-day month was used. However, they would first send out messengers to other locations to check if any other cities were able to sight. In any case when there was no answer the central power (King and Temple) would make a decision based on what they knew. 

4. In case of things were wrong there was a retroactive correction of the month which was done by officials under the orders of the king. 

Most of these principles were implemented in the Jewish Lunar-Solar calendar in the 2nd temple. The Jewish Lunar-Solar calendar is the calendar that was and is used by most Jews to this very day. However, the use of calculations was introduced because of the difficulty to send the information from the land to the diaspora. The calculation in time became corrupted due to the lack of adjusting it to the changes which happen with the movement of the earth and the moon. 

The introduction of calculations also led different groups to a decision that the Lunar-Solar calendar was incorrect and the creation of several other calendars described in the book of Jubilees (circa 100BC) and calendar scrolls such as 4Q317. 

The principles used by moon sighters today are the same as were used by rabbinic Jews till the crusades which destroyed the Jews community in Israel which continued to sight the moon till the 11th century. From that point, only calculations were used due to the lack of Jewish witnesses from the land. 

The renewal of sightings was started over 30 years ago by a group of orthodox Jews who decided to study the subject for theoretical information to maybe be used one day when the original system would be reintroduced into the Jewish world. This gathering of data has created a huge database of what can be expected with the moon cycles. This data has not only shown that we can predict when the moon will be sighted but also that the prediction can also be incorrect. In time Karaites who were also interested in the lunar sightings joined this practice after several centuries of using calculations as well. Nowadays many people around the world use the local moon sightings from Israel to determine when to keep the biblical feasts. This is an astonishing thing to witness, especially when you are one of the people who publish information on the subject.

I think that with the accumulated information on moon sightings and the math we have on the subject it stands to reason that the new moon day would have been after Shabbat, April 2nd, and not the day after. This is a conclusion based on the fact that the conjunction was on Friday evening at 17:15:03 before sunset. The moon the next day was at 2% at sunset (19:00) with more than 24hr after conjunction and with a lag time of 75min. The sky turned dark well before the moon setting and was over the horizon for an extended period of time. In these conditions, based on past observations, the moon would have been visible for a short window. 

I find it important to note that defaulting to 30 days is a completely rational thing and is the normal course of things. My questions resulted from the fact that we had a default last month and that the basic data used (by karaites as well) showed a high potential of sighting. The moon was also not sighted the next day and no report came in. When defaulting in an important month like this one I think it’s important to confirm the moon. Sunday night was also hazy which casts doubt on Sunday night being the right day. 

Hence even when people default it is based on a calculation assumption and not on an actual sighting. The moon was visible on (Monday April 4th) evening and was clearly on it’s third day of renewal (I sighted it from Haifa University at 7:32 PM). On Shabbat (April 9th) the moon was at it’s first half stage making it clear that 7 days ago it was renewed. Ignoring such data is ignoring facts and is not a calculation but real observation. 

This reality has made it crucial to sight the next new moon. If my suggestion is correct then when ever we sight the new moon next month will not be an issue. However, if the moon is sighted 29 days from after Shabbat (my suggestion), then the Sunday night (default) will be on day 28. This is not ideal situation but can happen when dealing with actual sighting. As a result if this scenario happens there will be a need to retroactively adjust the calendar. If the moon is sighted after 29 days for the default then both opinions can be seen as possible. Based on the calculation data the next new moon should be on May 2nd, the moon should be at around 3%. This date places my opinion at 30 days and the default at 29 days. This means that there is no way of knowing what the real day was unless we concider the calculation and observations I have proposed. 

Though I have been doing this for a long time it is not in my power or authority to tell people what to do. This is why I have not answered the question of what I plan to do. What I do is irrelevant to the question because I live in a Jewish community. My way of avoiding any issues with the Torah is to just keep extra days by not doing work and not eating leaven. However, this is just a personal decision that is part of my personal life as a Jew in a Jewish community. I see my community as my living and breathing form of Torah-living and cannot step away from real life because I have an opinion about something. In the past when I was younger it was easy for me to be more militant, but with age and knowledge, I stepped away from this mindset. I decided to use logic and have gone through years of study and obtained degrees in different fields to increase my knowledge. This led me to a study I did under one of my professors which taught me that even in the Tanakh we find that unity trumps opinions and circumstances can affect decision making. This of course does not allow us to violate Torah, but it did show me that there are issues one can be flexible with as long as one is still within the larger picture of the rule. 

These are some more points to consider when discussing the sighted moon calendar.

With prayer for better understanding and a return to a more perfect keeping of the Torah. 

Blessings to all.

Aviv Search 2022

Yoel Halevi 8 comments

Following are some notes regarding the state of barley growth in Israel from two recent trips:

Definitions related to barley development according to the following:

Stages of Growth after Heading



            Soft Dough


First Edible Stage for Humans

            Aviv Stage ( אָבִיב ) –        Filled With Starch/Firm, can be parched in fire

            Karmel Stage (כַּרְמֶל)

            Mature Stage–    Dry

Note: a detailed but schematic description of the route followed for observing barley development is included for the sake of transparency so that everyone can understand the evidence more clearly.

If this information is used for conducting independent barley observations, please respect others by being careful not to destroy the evidence that other groups may want to inspect after you.

Trip to the south on Tuesday March 1, 2022. Warm weather sunny sky (20-21°C)

Overview of Route:

Travelled south from Jerusalem following Highways 3 and 40 to Gaza, continuing SE on the Road 34 towards Beersheva and returning toward Gaza on Road 25. South on Road 232 to Hanion Reim 

Continued to the area of Reim jct followed by the  Road 242 jct (checked fields on east and west sides), checked Tel Gamma, continued from Reim Jct along Road 234 to Road  241 continuing by Ofakim to Road 25. Road 25 was followed to Road 264 which was followed to Kama Jct. Returned to Jerusalem along Freeway 6 and then Highway 1 to the Talpiot area.


Travelling South from Jerusalem along Highways 3 and 40 to Mordekhai Jct. – very random and widely dispersed examples of barley were seen while driving in the headed stage of development.  A few examples in one location would be seen separated by several kilometers where no barley in the headed stage would be seen at all.

Mordekhai Jct. – barley observed in the tillering state only on a brief stop

Along the route from Mordekhai Jct to Reim Park: 

Road 34  to Road 25, Road 25 to Road 232, Road 232 to Reim Park – 99% of the barley seen while driving was either in the tillering or jointing stages of growth with the remaining 1% consisting of very random and widely dispersed examples of barley that had reached the headed stage of development.

Reim Park (West of Road 232) – The majority of the barley was in the tillering stage with major patches in the jointing to boot stages of growth. Within the jointed patches, random mixed clusters of headed barley were observed but not beyond the flowering stage of development.

Reim Jct  (East of Road 232 and East of Nahal Besor) – nearly all of the barley was not advanced beyond the tillering stage (probably because of the Beduin sheep which were observed grazing through this area)

Reim Jct  (East of Road 232 and West of Nahal Besor) – The vast majority of the barley was in the tillering or jointing to boot stages of growth with a few random examples of  headed barley not beyond the flowering stage of development.

242 Jct  (West of Road 232) – The vast majority of the barley was in the tillering a small percent in the jointing to boot stages of growth with a few examples of  headed barley not beyond the flowering stage of development.

Tel Gamma – The majority of the barley was in the jointing to boot stages of growth with considerable patches of  headed barley not beyond the flowering stage.

Reim Jct along Road 234 to Road 241 to Road 25 to Road 264 to Kama Jct – essentially the same as the observations from travelling  from Mordekhai Jct to Reim Park. 99% of the barley seen was either in the tillering or jointing stages of growth with the remaining 1% consisting of very random and widely dispersed examples of barley that had reached the headed stage of development.

Jerusalem Talpiot area – All barley not advanced beyond the tillering stage of development.

Trip to the Jordan Valley on Wednesday March 2, 2022. Warm weather, sunny sky (24°C).

Overview of Route:

Travelled northeast from Jerusalem through Samaria following Highway 60 to Road 457. Travelled along Road 457 to Road 458 and then to Road 505. Followed Road 505 to Road 508 (checked a few sizable barley patches opposite of Mekhora) continuing to Khamra Jct on Highway 57 along Wadi el-Fara. After reaching the Adam Jct, Hwy 90 was followed north with stops at a pump station, Wadi Qaud Ida, and a Field northwest of the Highway 90 Check Point.


Travelling northeast from Jerusalem along Highway 60 through Samaria to Mekhora – Nearly all barley in the tillering stage with a few random patches of barley in the jointing stage. Opposite Mekhora a few patches of headed barley were examined and found to be in the flowering stage. More barley with heads were observed from Mekhora to Adam Jct at Highway 90.  Most of the barley observed travelling north along Highway 90 was in the tillering stage with occasional random examples of barley in the more advanced stages, some being headed.  

Pump house east of Highway 90 (km343) – the whole area between Highway 90 and the security fence road found with barley in the jointing, boot and flowering stages with approximately 1% in the milk to early dough stages of development.

Wadi Qaud Ida (Nahal Talkid) west of highway 90 – nearly all of the barley was in the tillering stage of development.

Field North of Check Point – Large amounts of barley  mixed with other grasses in a field located northwest of Highway 90 shortly after the check point. Upon examination, the field had a mixture of barley in the jointing, boot and flowering stages. No barley was found more advanced than the flowering stage.


No aviv barley was found.

In our opinion there is no reason to believe there will be any substantial amounts of barley in a concentrated aviv state of development in the next few weeks and therefore the next month should not be considered the beginning of the month of the aviv.

Re’im Junction

Tel Gamma


Jordan Valley

Palavras de Inverno

Yoel Halevi No Comments

Nós estamos agora profundamente dentro do inverno na terra de Israel e existem muitas boas palavras hebraicas dignas de discussão que aparecem na Bíblia Hebraica.

O primeiro grupo é a questão sobre o relacionamento entre Gešem-Chuva e Matar. Em geral Matar tem uma próxima conexão com Gešem, contudo, um uso comum da palavra é conectado com queda/derramar de alguma coisa. Por analogia a conexão entre os dois se torna muito clara, o que explica por que as duas palavras são intercambiáveis. Como um exemplo, nós podemos ver como ambas as palavras são usadas com o mesmo significado quando Elias descreve chuva como Matar e não Gešem :

Song on the Sea Part Three

Yoel Halevi No Comments
Part three of the in-depth study of The Song on the Sea.

Hebrew In Israel intro music: Çeçen Kizi by Seyyah

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