Monday, August 20, 2007

Picking with Leket

Taking a break from my apartment hunting-related posts, I'd like to put up some pictures of a social event held by Nefesh B'Nefesh. Meeting downtown on Friday morning, we loaded onto the bus and headed south west, to the fields outside of Rechovot (near Bnei Darom.) Rechovot, with the root Resh-Chet-Vet, is related to the word "Merchav," or open expanse.

Rehovot was, in fact, a biblical city mentioned in the book of Bereishit (Genesis) 28:26:

He moved away from there and dug another well, and they did not quarrel over it; so he named it Rechovot, for he said, "At last the LORD has made room for us, and we will be fruitful in the land."

The Torah just doesn't translate properly; it's much better in the original. Anyway, most biblical scholars believe the original Rechovot referenced in the Torah was located somewhere south of Be'er Sheva. In fact, today there is a new settlement in the vicinity known as "Merchavam," literally, "The expanse of the nation," which I hope to visit soon.

Anyway, now that we've got our bearings in the Tanach, it's time to get started picking vegetables. Last year's volunteering with Project Leket was a great time, so I was glad to go again.

The bus ride down: conversation over cactus


Some vast open spaces (Merchavim) near Rechovot.

The farm itself is hundreds of dunams (a dunam is an Israeli measure of land, around a quarter acre.) The philanthropist who runs the farm made a fortune as a patent attorney, and decided to open a farm from which all produce would be donated to the needy.

Okay, we're picking onions today, so here's what you do: First, you pick them up. Then, you drop them into the crate. Any questions?

Dudy gets started.

Actually going out to the fields was a learning experience. I now understand why onions are so incredibly cheap; they grow thick on the ground, and you can pick up several pounds in a few seconds.

Seeing as how I've had this lifelong dream of someday being able to grow my own food, this was a fun little exercise. If they're as easy to grow as they are to pick, I think I'm going to be making a lot of onion soup.

Rachel supervises the field hands.

It was a very productive day.

Group shot; we actually picked quite a lot more than seen here.

And off to the needy they go.


Toto said...

Table to Table is a fabulous organization! When my brother and kids were here this summer for my nephew's Bar Mitzvah, we all went out and picked potatoes as his "Mitzvah Project." It was fun, except that we picked a day that was 41degrees celsius!!! aargh. Looks like you guys had a great time!

Evan said...

Yeah, Rachel mentioned that the Hebrew word for onion is Batzal, which also means, "In the shade," so we should have picked them in the shade.