A Passover Puzzle: The Fruits of Israel versus Egypt

Fruits and vegetables in basketsSince Passover is the festival par excellence of symbolic foods, here’s a perfect puzzle for the Seder.

The Bible associates certain fruits and vegetables with Egypt and others with Israel. During their wanderings in the desert, “the Israelites wept and said, ‘We remember the fish that we used to eat free in Egypt, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic’” (Numbers 11:4-5). When the spies returned from the Promised Land, they brought grapes, pomegranates, and figs (Numbers 13:23).

How many reasons can you think of to explain why cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic are associated with Egypt while grapes, pomegranates, and figs are connected with Israel?