Tu B’Shevat is a pretty cool holiday when you think about it.
Come on, we celebrate the earth, the trees, new fruit, give thanks to the land… How often do we really sit back and say, “Earth– Thanks!” We can even say it is a time to stop and smell the roses, literally. Seeing the beauty around us, from the new blossoms on tree branches to the spring rains and longer days.
Many homes have a Tu B’shvat seder, which literally means “order.” Much like the Pesach seder, there is an order to this event of blessing new fruits. For example, you should have fruits or nuts with an inedible outer shell and an edible inner core. This would be an orange, pineapple, pomegranate or an almond. The other would be a fruit with edible outer flesh and pithy, inedible cores such as an olive, apricot or cherry. And finally, a fruit which is totally edible like a grape, strawberry or raspberry.
When I taught religious school, we would teach the students that the seder of the fruit is much like the personalities of a person. Now, bear with me on this one please and follow along.
1. Some people have a tough outer shell but a soft heart, a generous soul.
2. Some have a soft outer persona, but on the inside are strong.
3. Some are “you get what you see” and there is no hiding.
I can place myself into one of these categories in a heartbeat, how about you?
And hey, if you want to wear a tough outer shell with an edible inner core I can always offer you a pomegranate necklace to wear!
It’s no secret that the “anti-aging” market represents the biggest segment of consumer spending today. No one wants to grow old gracefully, and today men as well as women spend billions and billions of dollars trying to keep their skin taut and smooth, their hair gloriously abundant, their bodies firm and perky, even as the decades roll on.
And it’s not just Boomers who are obsessed with staying young. Today everything from pomegranate juice (yum) to exfoliants are marketed as preventive aging, to people in their 20s, as well as to more mature buyers.
Frankly, it’s exhausting. But we do have a suggestion—a Hamsa, an “eye” pendant, or even a piece of jewelry designed after the life-giving pomegranate!
The Hamsa is a hand-shaped pendant which has been worn across the Middle East, Mediterranean and North Africa for millennia. The “eye” of course is an amulet which resembles an eye, with an equally long history in the same areas of the world. Both are traditional talismans for protecting the wearer from the so-called evil eye.
Coincidentally, I suppose, the eyes and the hands are the first parts of our bodies to show our age. These are the two areas where our skin is the thinnest. Because the skin here is so thin, fine lines and wrinkles show up here first as the result of constant UV exposure, weather, stress and repetitive gestures (smiling, frowning). Hands in particular are tattle-tales when it comes to age, because they contain no oil-glands—they often look older than the rest of us!
Moisture is key to keeping the skin young, as the manufacturers of zillions of skin care brands will tell you. Again, perhaps coincidentally, moisture plays a role in the concept of the evil eye. The brilliant Dr. Alan Dundes, who taught at the University of California at Berkeley, wrote a landmark essay on the history of the evil eye, observing that the ill effect of the “eye” was always dehydration. He surmised that because the tradition arose in the Middle East, where water has always been scarce, the worst possible thing that could happen would be for an oasis or well to run dry, or for drought to blight the land, as is happening in Africa today. This would cause your flocks and orchards to perish. Other metaphorical losses symbolized by moisture-loss—for instance, loss of sexual potency and fertility—are also
associated with the “eye”, and guarded against with the Hamsa and eye amulets.
The aging process really consists of several factors—genetics, stress, conditions, attitude. Other than a good skin care regimen, especially eye and hand-cream (our favorites:Dermalogica Hand and Nail Treatment, Intensive Eye Repair, Total Eye Care—http://dermalogica.com), what can really be done? To wear in good health, whatever your age, and to see you safely from one year and one decade to the next, we recommend #gwn-f, a modern silver Hamsa with small “eye”, #ww17, our Diamond “eye” pendant with your choice of gemstone strands, and for even juicier protection, try # Pom5, our Ruby Pomegranate necklace, set in 14karat rose gold.
…and scientists and nutritionists are discovering more every day. Modern health care is all a-buzz over this succulent ancient fruit. Many studies are underway, and current evidence suggests that pomegranates are packed with antioxidants which, basically keep you young, fighting heart disease, keeping your organs and skin vibrant, and more.
Of course, people from the lands where pomegranates grow have known this for thousands of years, from Israel to India, Persia, Egypt, Turkey, Greece, Morocco—all ancient cultures which have long prized the pomegranate not only for its refreshing tart-sweetness, and the beauty of its gleaming, gem-like seeds, but also for its health-giving properties.
Who can resist? In the Greek myths, the goddess Persephone was tricked by Hades, shadowy ruler of the underworld, into a lifetime shared with him when he offered her a few juicy pomegranate seeds for the road. Sort of like the first Pomegranate Martini—with drastic results!
This nourishing fruit, which is botanically related to the rose, stands for fertility and abundance in every sense. We haven’t counted, but Jewish tradition tells us that the pomegranate contains 613 seeds, one for each of the Mitzvot, or commandments, which define a good life. In this sense, the pomegranate is a life-support system for the spirit as well as the body!
Our pomegranate-themed jewelry is a natural, so to speak, for Rosh Hashanah or Jewish New Year, when pomegranates are always enjoyed as a symbol of new commitment and new beginnings. For the same reason, we love pomegranate jewelry as a birthday gift, and as a wedding gift—after all, the Song of Solomon describes the lover’s glowing cheeks “like pomegranates”. This symbol of eternal renewal also resonates for anyone starting off on a new adventure, including launching a new business enterprise.
Garnet jewelry also calls to mind the restorative powers of the pomegranate: the garnet resembles the aril, or pomegranate seed. Most scholars agree that the word “garnet” is related to the Latin name for the pomegranate, Punica granatum.
Wear yours with joy, and in good health!
If you’d like to see the rose gold pomegranate online, click here. There is also a sterling silver version.