Tamarisk Considered Clue to Determine Substance of Biblical Manna

(Jewish Telegraphic Agency)

The tamarisk, an evergreen shrub of the Mediteranean region, frequently mentioned in the Hebrew Bible under the name of Eshel, may offer a clue to establishing the substance and character of the manna which served, according to the Bible records, as food for the Israelites in their forty years’ wandering in the desert.

It was learned here today that the investigation of the tamarisk will occupy the attention of a group of sefentists who left for the Sinai Peninsula to carry on, in behalf of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, an investigation into the origin and substance of the manna.

The scientific expedition consists of Dr. F. Bodenheimer, director of the ethomological department of the expertmental station in Tel Aviv, Dr. Carmin and Dr. Theodore, Associate Professor in the Microboligical Department of the Hebrew University.

The attention of scientific observers in Palestine was drawn to the lamarisk tree which produces during the months of June and August a substance resembling that contained in the manna. Ancient Hebrew and Arabic legend has it that the substance of the tamarisk contains ingredients capable of the producing the taste of many kinds of fruits. The tamarisk is frequently found in several valleys of the Mid-Sinai. There are, hoever, years in which the unexplamable substance is not produced by the tamarisk, particularly in meagre years.

The expedition of the Hebrew University, which will spend about a month on the Sinai Peninsula, will concentrate on an investigation of this tree.

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