Locally grown, cultivated and cold pressed, the extra-virgin olive oil marketed by Sindyanna of Galilee is part of a time-honored Mediterranean legacy intrinsically linked to the land of Canaan, later known as Israel and Palestine. Olives are the fruits of a land that is sacred to Jews, Christians, and Muslims – the Holy Land (Latin: Terra Sancta; Hebrew: ארץ הקודש Eretz HaQodesh, Arabic: الأرض المقدسة Al-Arḍ Al-Muqaddasah). As such, they are imbued with a unique significance appreciated by millions of people around the world.
One of the biblical Seven Species, olives were a key agricultural product of the Land of Israel in ancient days. Their oil played a pivotal role in people’s lives and in the agricultural economy. Its versatile uses ranged from lighting (feeding clay lamps as well as the Menorah, the seven-branched candelabrum, which illuminated the Temple) to preparing, cooking and baking food; from hygiene (olive oil soaps and beauty care) to healing and medicine; and from religious and sacrificial rituals to anointing kings and priests. The latter is illustrated by the word “messiah” that stems from the Hebrew word “mashiakh”, which literally means a person anointed with oil. The olive tree also symbolizes revival, renewal and new generations, as derived from Psalm 128 that says, “Blessed are all who fear the Lord, who walk in obedience to him…your children will be like olive shoots around your table.” When the main trunk dies out, the tree sends up shoots around its edges.
Our warehouse and factory, from which we export our fair trade olive oil and other products worldwide, are located in our center in Kufr Kana, about 5km northeast of Nazareth on the road to the Sea of Galilee. The village of Cana (or Kfar Kana) is recognized by Christians worldwide as the biblical Cana of Galilee, where according to the Fourth Gospel, Jesus performed his first public miracle – the turning of water into wine at a wedding feast (John 2:1-11), the first among seven miraculous signs by which his divine status was attested.
The Wedding at Cana:
John 2:1: “On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there;”
John 2:11: “This beginning of His signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory, and His disciples believed in Him.”
Jesus Heals the Official’s Son:
Cana is also mentioned later in John as a place where Jesus heals a royal official’s son:
John 4:46: “Therefore He came again to Cana of Galilee where He had made the water wine. And there was a royal official whose son was sick at Capernaum.”
The Apostle Bartholomew:
Cana is also mentioned as the hometown of the Apostle Bartholomew (also called Nathaneal):
John 21:2: “Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two others of His disciples were together.”
Zaitoon and the Holy Qur’an
Olive (zaitoon in Arabic) and olive oil are mentioned in the Holy Qur’an in seven occasions, among them:
A religious function as a sign of Allah (ayah):
“He it is Who sends down water from the sky; from it you drink and from it (grows) the vegetation on which you send your cattle to pasture. With it He causes to grow for you the crops, the olives, the date-palms, the grapes, and every kind of fruit. Verily! In this is indeed an evident proof and a manifest sign for people who give thought.” (16:10-11)
The luminescent property of olive oil:
“Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The parable of His Light is as a niche within it a lamp: The lamp is in a glass, the glass as it were a brilliant star, lit from a blessed tree, an olive, neither of the east nor of the west, but whose oil would almost glow forth, though no fire touched it. Light upon Light!” (24: 35)
Uses of the blessed tree:
“And a tree (olive) that springs forth from Mount Sinai, that grows (produces) oil, and (it is) relish for the eaters.” (23:20)
Olive Tree in Judaism
The olive tree has numerous references in the Old Testament. Listed below are but a few of its references:
Olive leaf as a symbol of friendship and peace:
A symbol of friendship and peace represented by the olive leaf brought back by the dove, which Noah sent out from the ark after the rain had stopped and the waters had abated.
Genesis 8:11: “And the dove came in to him in the evening; and, lo, in her mouth was an olive leaf pluckt off: so Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth.”
The eternal presence of God and his grace:
Olive oil represents the eternal presence of God and his grace symbolized by the lamp that burned continuously inside the Tabernacle.
Exodus 27:20: “And thou shalt command the children of Israel, that they bring thee pure oil olive beaten for the light, to cause the lamp to burn always.”
Olive oil as anointing oil:
Olive oil was used as anointing oil to consecrate the Tabernacle.
Exodus 30:24: “And of cassia five hundred shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary, and of oil olive an hin.”
An important natural resource:
Olive tree is described by Moses to the children of Israel as an important natural resource in the Promised Land.
Deuteronomy 8:8: “A land of wheat, and barley, and vines, and fig trees, and pomegranates; a land of oil olive, and honey;”
Deuteronomy 24:20: “When thou beatest thine olive tree, thou shalt not go over the boughs again: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow.”
Fruitless olive tree as a cursing for disobedience:
Deuteronomy 28:40: “Thou shalt have olive trees throughout all thy coasts, but thou shalt not anoint thyself with the oil; for thine olive shall cast his fruit.”
A parable of fallen people:
Jotham uses a parable of trees and an olive tree to demonstrate to the people to what extent they have fallen to accept almost anyone as a king over Israel.
Judges 9:8: “The trees went forth on a time to anoint a king over them; and they said unto the olive tree, Reign thou over us.”
Material for the Temple built by King Solomon:
1 Kings 6:23: “And within the oracle he made two cherubims of olive tree, each ten cubits high.”
1 Kings 6:32: “The two doors also were of olive tree;”
1 Kings 6:33: “So also made he for the door of the temple posts of olive tree, a fourth part of the wall.”