Pomegranates: A Motif In Jewish Culture

By: Yoni Schwartzman
January 12, 2021

A land of wheat and barley, of vines, figs, and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honeyDeuteronomy 8:8

A modern example of iconography representing the fruit of the Pomegranate Tree
Pomegranates on coinage throughout history

The pomegranate has always played an important role in Jewish culture. This beautiful red fruit is seen as an emblem of righteousness because of the hundreds of edible seeds within that, in Jewish tradition, represent the Torah’s 613 mitzvot. As a symbol, the pomegranate can be seen throughout Jewish history in different forms and mediums. It has made a particularly prolific mark on Israel’s coinage throughout the centuries, as is visible in this photograph.


‘Ivory Pomegranate’ (The Israel Museum)

Another example of a pomegranate representation in Jewish antiquity is the magnificent ‘Ivory Pomegranate’ which currently resides in The Israel Museum. While carbon dating has concluded that it was carved during the First Temple Period, it is unclear if the Ancient Hebrew inscription surrounding the base of the artwork was also engraved during the same period or forged in modern times to increase the piece’s value. Whatever the case may be, the ‘Ivory Pomegranate’ is still a lovely work of art.


Tomb of the Sanhedrin (Yoni Art Company)

You can also view the pomegranate motif in many high relief stone carvings around the country. A particularly ornate display can still be seen on the 2,000 year old lintel at the entrance to the ‘Tomb of the Sanhedrin’ in Jerusalem. Today, the tomb resides in a small park surrounded by the sprawling Sanhendria neighborhood.

-Chinese Proverb
Shira Schechter

Shira Schechter is the content editor for TheIsraelBible.com and Israel365 Publications. She earned master’s degrees in both Jewish Education and Bible from Yeshiva University. She taught the Hebrew Bible at a high school in New Jersey for eight years before making Aliyah with her family in 2013. Shira joined the Israel365 staff shortly after moving to Israel and contributed significantly to the development and publication of The Israel Bible.

Yoni Schwartzman


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