What is it about the pomegranate, or rimon, that makes it such a hot and beloved symbol in Israel? Is this an old fad or new? Is it religious or secular? Is it the fruit itself or only its physical appearance? The truth is, a little of everything!
The imagery of the pomegranate dates back to ancient days, but has made a vivacious comeback in contemporary art and culture. We see the fruit’s image imprinted on ancient coins of Judea and it is said that King Solomon had his crown designed to model after the ‘crown’ of the pomegranate. A popular Jewish theory also states that each pomegranate contains 613 seeds to represent the 613 mitzvot in the Torah, making it a symbol of knowledge and righteousness, which is one of the reasons we eat it on Rosh Hashana.
But beyond its rich historical and religious significance, this super fruit boasts incredible qualities, both inside and out! She offers healthy, antioxidant qualities and is the perfect dash of flavor to throw into a range of meals. I love adding the ruby seeds to smoothies, salads, meats and rice. Which of course leads us to her looks. Her bold and exquisite appearance make the pomegranate an easy target, offering endless artistic possibilities. I have used illustrations of the pomegranate in many different ways. To me she is a symbol of lusciousness and luxury; she has a decadent and sexy quality that I just can’t get enough of. I love the full blooded color as well as the sharp, defined shape. The pomegranate offers a sense of serenity and spunk all at the same time.
Around the time of Rosh Hashana, Israeli markets display pomegranates in striking mounds and juice sellers can be found selling the crimson liquid, freshly squeezed. Every sip is intoxicating. In my garden after the months of winter, when the branches of the trees are wizened and bare, spring has arrived and there is that joyous, reassuring rebirth of the early buds, proclaiming the world turns once more. It’s no wonder that the pomegranate is said to be the ‘forbidden fruit’ from the Garden of Eden, I simply can’t keep my hands off!