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[personal profile] my_torah
Tomorrow Oct 2nd/Oct 3rd is not only the new moon, it is also the start of a new Jewish year.

A Christian friend asked me "Do Jews celebrate Harvest festival?"

I thought about this briefly and responded that most of our major festivals are Harvest Festivals originally. But then I wondered which harvest it was at this time of year in ancient Israel and when the harvests and planting seasons were?

Time to look it up in the Gezer calendar...

The Gezer calendar is a remarkable simple early Hebrew inscription from a site 20 miles west of Jerusalem dating from 925 BCE just after the time of King Solomon.
It is one of the earliest surviving bits of Hebrew of writing there is.

It could been translated as:

“Two months gathering
Two months planting
Two months late sowing (?meaning unclear?)
One month cutting flax
One month reaping barley
One month reaping and all
Two months pruning
One month summer”

So according to this document:

Harvesting took place in the first 2 months of the year (ie mid Sep to mid-Nov).
Sowing took place in the next 2 months of the year (ie mid Nov to mid-Jan).

Flax was harvested in the 7th month (mid-Feb to mid-Mar)
Grain (barley is mentioned) was harvested in the 8th and 9th months (ie mid-Mar to mid-May).

The festivals we are about to celebrate, starting with Rosh HaShanah, New Year, therefore correspond to the harvest period. They would have gathered in the harvest and brought up food to Jerusalem to eat and share at Sukkot time.
But I assume it is a harvest of fruit (olives dates pomegranates figs and grapes) as the grains would have been harvested in the Spring?

Checking online it seems grapes are still harvested in the Holy Land at this time.

though the harvesting of Olives seems to continue into early November.
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