17 She gleaned in the field until evening. Then she beat out what she had gleaned—it was about an ‘efah of barley—
va-t’-la-KAYT ba-sa-DEH ad ha-A-rev va-takh-BOT AYT a-sher li-KAY-tah vai-HEE k’-ay-FAH s’-o-REEM
יז וַתְּלַקֵּט בַּשָּׂדֶה עַד־הָעָרֶב וַתַּחְבֹּט אֵת אֲשֶׁר־לִקֵּטָה וַיְהִי כְּאֵיפָה שְׂעֹרִים׃
2:17 It was about an ephah of barley
Barley, the second of the special agricultural products of the Land of Israel (Deuteronomy 8:8), looks similar to wheat but is a smaller grain, and is surrounded by long, hair-like strands. This explains its Hebrew name se’orah (שעורה), which comes from the word sei’ar (שיער), meaning ‘hair.’ Additionally, barley requires less water and ripens earlier than wheat. In the Bible, the barley harvest signifies the beginning of spring, and barley would be brought to the Beit Hamikdash in Yerushalayim as part of the offerings of the holiday of Pesach. The barley offering in the Temple was a joyous ceremony that teaches us the importance of dedicating a portion of our crops to our Creator before we eat from them ourselves.