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Pomegranate symbol meaning

Over the past few years, thanks to its anti-oxidant qualities, the pomegranate has become increasingly.  But, the pomegranate has also deeply entwined with Mediterranean cultures for thousands of years – and especially with the culture and religion of the Jewish people.  In fact, for the Jewish people, the pomegranate (or rimon in Hebrew) is rich in symbolism and appears many times in the Old Testament.

 

silver pomegranate pendant with Hebrew letters

 

Did you know?  In the Jewish religion there are 613 laws or commandments that the observant Jew must observe.  According to tradition, the pomegranate is said to have exactly 613 seeds (or arils).  Alexander Haubold counted the number of seeds in 206 pomegranates from different locations around the world.  Whilst the numbers of seeds in individual fruits varied from 165 to 1370, the overall average was 613!

 

The pomegranate in the Old Testament

The pomegranate is mentioned some 22 times in the Old Testament.

In Exodus it says in a number of chapters that the image of a pomegranate will be part of the High Priest’s robe.

In Numbers and in Deuteronomy the pomegranate is mentioned as one of the fruits of the Holy Land (the Seven Species).

In Kings 1 & 2, Chronicles 2 and in Jeremiah we are told how the image of the pomegranate was used to decorate the Temple.

The pomegranate also appears a number of times in the Song of Songs.

 

The pomegranate in Jewish tradition

According to tradition, King Solomon’s crown was based on the top section of the pomegranate.  Also, the pomegranate is one of the few images that have been found on coins from the Kingdom of Judah.  As we already mentioned, the pomegranate is traditionally said to have 613 seeds and in many communities the fruit is seen as a symbol of honesty and morality, fertility, knowledge and wisdom and is traditionally eaten on the Jewish New Year (Rosh HaShana).

The figure of a pomegranate is also used to decorate the poles or staves that hold the Sepher Torah (Scrolls of the Law) when not in use.  The pomegranate themed decorations, often very ornate and made of gold and other precious metals and stones, are used because of the significance of the pomegranate to the Jewish people and its use in the Temple.

 

Did you know?  The Forbidden Fruit is traditionally thought to have been an apple.  However, in the Bible, it is referred to simply as “the fruit”.  Many researchers and biblical scholars believe that the Forbidden Fruit may, in fact, have been the pomegranate.

 

The Kabbalah and the pomegranate

The pomegranate occupies a place of great significance in the Kabbalah, in fact, in some interpretations, as one of the Seven Species associated with the Holy Land, it is likened to one of the 10 Sephirot – Hod (splendor).  The multitude of seeds are associated with the 613 Commandments and the 613 egoistic desires of Man which, we, by virtue of good deeds and “loving thy neighbor as thyself” must overcome in order to obtain a state of virtue.

 

Pardes Rimonim - The Orchard of Pomegranates

Pardes Rimonim was written in 1548 by Rabbi Moses ben Jacob Cordovero, a Jewish mystic, in Tzfat, in the Galilee region of Israel. It is considered to be one of the most important of the Kabbalah’s original texts. It is credited with being the first wide-ranging discussion of Medieval Kabbalah which, in his introduction to the work, Cordovero states that he wrote: "in order not to become lost and confused in its [the Zohar] depths".

 

Pardes Rimonim is a summary of the Kabbalah which attempts to all aspects of the Kaballah including the Sephirot, the significance of the Names of God, the importance of the Hebrew alphabet and more.  In its time, it was considered to be one of the most important books on the Kabbalah. However, it was superseded by the works of Ha'ARI Hakadosh (Isaac Luria) who was one of Cordovero’s students and who is considered to be the father of contemporary Kabballah.

 

The pomegranate in the modern world

The pomegranate, due to its history and deep symbolism, is a recurring motif in Kabbalah and Jewish Jewelry and art.  From ornate decorations for a mezuzah, to special serving dishes for Rosh HaShana, pendants and talismans and even candlesticks – the rich red color of the pomegranate, its shape and its deep meaning have made it a significant part of modern Jewish culture.

 

Now that you know everything about pomegranate symbole, you will be able to choose the right one from our pomegrante hewelry catalog, aren't you?