Tuesday, August 26, 2008


Important Israeli Lifestyle Advice

by Reb Akiva at Mystical Paths

Late summer is picking time for many wonderful local and imported fruits growing in the Holy Land. One of the more succulent fruits is the famous sabra.

As they grow wild around the country right on the roadside, they seem readily available for easy picking. So tonight I decided to head out with my children to pick us some sabras!

Now wait a minute you must be thinking, these are prickly pears, you don't just run up and grab them - it's a freaking cactus fruit, grabbing it can definitely be dangerous! Not to worry, I told my dear children, I have a plan. Tools - pliers, crowbar, pipe wrench, items that could reach. We were set, off we went to pick prickly pear at night.

(About this point, you've got to be thinking, this can't end well, how right you are...)

We captured a few fruits, it was going ok. Then one of my children grabbed a fruit noting it had no visible long prickles. She passed it around, see - no long pokey prickles.

At this point, one of the children went to pick up their tool and screamed, OOOUUUCH. Grab the flashlight, let me see. Ohhhh Nooooo, that little happy prickle-less fruit was indeed covered with prickles, little tiny millimeter long prickes which were now embedded by the tens or hundreds in my children's hands (and mine!) Oooouuuuuuch.

We have neither enough light nor the right tools to remove them, everyone is trying to hold absolutely still in the car (ahhh, someone touched their arm moving a prickle from hand to arm, ahhhh - someone scratched their stomach and now has a stomach prickle, a face scratch, ahhhhh). This went on as we carefully drove home, me holding the steering wheel with 2 fingers (prickles in the others, ahhhhh). My little girl is crying, ahhhhh.

Run into the house (carefully, carefully, don't touch anything, fingers are covered in prickles, ahhhh). Help dear wife and mother, where's the tweezers, help us.....

Crazy eldest daughter says, "I got pricked for it, I'm eating it!" She tries to peel it, carefully carefully, ahhhhh, more prickles! Ok, it's peeled, she's biting it, ahhhh, prickle in the mouth!!! We're trying to tweeze her tongue!!!! And lip, double ahhhhhhhh!!!!

Ahh, her brother bumped up against her, prickle in the thigh, ahhhh!

Help us, help us, it's the attack of 1,000 needles.

We are never going anywhere near a sabra again, I don't care if it's in the supermarket and supposedly safe. These are evil fruit, stay away, far far away.



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nava said...

lol - sorry, it's not funny but the way you describe it is funny....

A good technique to remove sabra's thorns from flesh is using scotch tape! Place scotch tape on the flesh with thornes and remove the tape. Voila, the thorns are gone...

Anyway, next time you go sabra picking, use gloves! That's the ONLY way to pick them.

A Simple Jew said...

I am in pain just reading that!!!!

Liorah Lleucu said...

that is a pretty funny story

Shammai said...

Soak the sabra in regular water in a regular bowl for about 1/2 an hour. The little prickles will fall out into the bowl.

Then you cut them in half and peel them. You eat the seeds. They are yummy.

Baruch Eliezer said...

I have a question. What about shmitah? The shmitah year is not over yet.

A second question, are we allowed to eat the fruit grown during shmitah after Rosh Hashanah?

Akiva said...

We were picking for immediate personal use, which is permitted. Further, while a farmer can't pick his own trees (except for personal / family use), _you_ can pick _his_ trees. (People who have a fruit tree in their yards are actually required to put up a sign that says "fruit tree - free to pick, come on in".)

There is a schedule of fruit which is kedushas shvi'is - shemittah fruit. It depends on whether the majority of the growth of the fruit fell within the shemittah year. (Same for vegetables, but the time window is shorter with a shorter growth cycle.) Unfortunately, while it's on paper on everyone's fridge in Israel, I don't know of a web link to one. (Maybe another reader knows of it?)

So yes, many fruits of the fall from Israel, INCLUDING ESROGIM, need to be monitored for shemittah compliance. Also, you have to know whether you accept products that are:

Heter Mechirah or Otzar Beis Din or none of the above.

moshe said...

Wow, that just happened to us just a week ago! Yeah!!! I picked sabras on a tiyul and the whole family was affected!!! We both cried and laughed...

To these things we say, BH for living in EY!!!!! EY niknet b'isurim and I'd rather have these...

DanielS82 said...

While I hope you're family is fine, thank you for the laugh, which is something we must remember to do, even during Elul.

Nightghost said...

LOL, man that sounds like a lot of work for some fruit. Sorry you and your family got attacked by them. LOL, Love the way you tell the story. Thank you for sharing.


ytba said...

I hava a cactus like that in my parent's back yard. It's been there since I gave it to them about 25 years ago (I grew it from seed I got from Thompson&Morgan, and I gave it to them when it got too big for our appartment); it has only recently been providing "cactur pears" which are quite tastey. You have to slice the ends off, then slice the skin of the "pear" lengthwise, then peel away the skin. When ripe that's easy. Remove inside fruit and eat - but don't chew, because it's loaded with seeds. Just kind of mush it up in your mouth and swallow. Some Israeli friends taught me how to eat them. The cactus itself is edible with a taste kind of like string beans. Just be careful, because you sometimes find bugs have gotten into it, but they should be obvious and easy to cut out the parts they are in.

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