"This month shall be the beginning of months for you;
it is to be the first month of the year to you.” (Exodus 12:2)
We are back from another successful Aviv Search and feel very blessed by the protection and provisions Yehovah provided us and for all your heartfelt prayers!
We carried out this Aviv Search on Sunday, March 15, 2020 and inspected mainly wild volunteer barley growing in the Northern Negev, which is the South of Israel. We concentrated our search in this region, as we have found the climate in this area to be particularly conducive to the maturity of the barley, and one of the earliest places in which barley ripens in Israel. We did not know what we would find when we set out on our search and approached our inspection with humility and openness to whatever we would discover.
Before I share with you what we found, I would like to first remind you of what we saw in these same fields exactly three weeks ago. As you may recall, I shared with you that at the time, the vast majority of the barley would simply look like grass to the untrained eye. However, because a wild barley field is never uniform, we did see some barley with the heads fully emerged in the flowering and cotton stages (which I shared pictures of with you). I also shared with you that we saw a few individual stalks (three maybe five in a little patch) that were in the soft dough stage, meaning that we could not squeeze the kernel out, but could easily cut the kernel in half with our fingernails, and made it explicitly clear that we did find any aviv barley at the time.
I also mentioned in that report, that we were very interested in going out again a few weeks later to reexamine those same fields, in order to learn more about the development of the barley crop. Fortunately, with the grace of Yehovah, your contributions, and the dedication of our team, we were able to go out and reinspect these fields.
We decided to carry out this search on March 15, 2020, because this is when Yom HaNafat HaOmer (The Day of the Wave Sheaf Offering) would have hypothetically been (had we observed this current month as the first month), and so we were very curious to see the stage of the barley development at this particular time.
On this Aviv Search, we saw was a lot of barley still in that grass-like stage, a lot in the flowering stage, and a lot in the cotton stage. We also found some in what we call the worm stage, that’s when the water content is so high that when we squeeze the seed, the kernel shoots out and it feels like a slimy worm. We found a few individual stalks in the soft dough stage, meaning that we could not squeeze the kernel out, but could easily cut the kernel in half with our fingernails. And even found a few individual stalks which were aviv, however, we only found three maybe five of these stalks, despite our extensive search of numerous fields in the region.
Most of the barley is currently in the grass-like, flowering, and cotton stages, with some in the worm stage.
This is an example of the worm stage, because of its very high water content, when we squeeze the seed, the kernel shoots out and feels like a slimy worm.
The barley was really tall, because of all the rain, but the kernels weren't yet developed.
Notice how green the stalks still are and if you look closely you can see beautiful little yellow and purple flowers.
This is a domestic barley field which was in the cotton and worm stages.
I showed in my article Harvestable Fields are Required by Yom HaNafat HaOmer, why I believe we need to have harvestable fields of barley by Yom HaNafat HaOmer. However, even if you think we only need an omer of aviv barley by Yom HaNafat HaOmer, it should be noted that we didn’t find even close to that. What we found was literally just a few individual stalks, which for whatever reason were way more advanced than the rest. Mind you, no farmer would have even found the ones we found, as they wouldn’t be walking through their fields with a "fine-tooth comb" like we do on these Aviv Searches.
Since our last Aviv Search three weeks ago, we had some nice sunny days, as well as some heavy rain. Yes, even in these typically arid regions, it is still raining, including this past weekend. In fact, the ground was so wet that our shoes got all muddy and the water on the barley completely soaked our pants and even our socks! And more rain is expected in these regions this week.
I mention this because we have a new moon observation coming up on March 25, 2020, which is next week, and while barley can develop very quickly at these stages if there is enough sun, it is unclear with all this rain, what stage the barley will be at by then. We of course hope to be able to inspect the fields just prior to the New Moon observation next week and be able to share with you what we find.
I want to thank Yochanan Zaqantov and Ephraim Lee for joining me on this Aviv Search. I know we each made personal and professional sacrifices to come from all over the country to inspect and witness the state of the barley crop at this time and I want you to know that your participation, observations, and insights contributed to the success of the search and are greately appreciated.
I also want to also give a big thank you to those of you who are supporting our efforts to restore the Biblical Calendar from afar, whether financially, through prayer, words of encouragement, or by letting people know about our work. Your support is immensely appreciated and allows us to continue to provide first-hand reliable reports from Israel.
I will once again include below the possible holiday dates of the 1st month, for your convinience.
If you have been enjoying our New Moon and Aviv Reports and have been meaning to make a contribution, now would be a great time to support our efforts, as our funds are running low and it is imperative that we keep going out and monitor the state of the barley, in order to ensure that we are keeping the holidays in their appointed times.
May Yehovah bless you and keep you always.
* Please note that while I have no reason to think the other participants in this Aviv Search would disagree with the description of the findings I presented above, it should be noted that the observations and opinions expressed in this report are my own personal perceptions and interpretations, and may or may not represent those of the other participants.
Devorah's Date Tree organizes interfaith New Moon Observations and Aviv Searches in the land of Israel and provides the most reliable and respected New Moon and Aviv Reports for those following the Biblical Calendar.