seven days

this concept is an accepted maxim in Jewish tradition. What starts out as a custom becomes law.


The holiday of Passover, like the holiday of Tabernacles, lasts 7 days. The first and the last day of the holiday is similar to a Sabbath.


During the intermediate days we are permitted to ride in a vehicle, use electric devices, and write as well as read. I can write my blog, for instance.


Unlike the Sabbath, we are allowed to cook on the first and last days of the holiday. Unless one of them falls on the Sabbath. This year, the first day fell on the Sabbath. And so we had to prepare the food before the start of the holiday.


So this is a holiday, when many of my countrymen and women go out to enjoy nature, and revel in the spring. I used to go out with the intention to photograph the beauty of nature… But I found that landscape photography was often difficult, because in this season it is often rainy or hazy.


Still, there are some beautiful days…
And there are very special flowers that bloom at this time.


Right now, as I write you, there is the wail of a strong wind blowing through the city. Yesterday was a better day, and together with two sweet friends we wandered off on dirt roads, southwest of Jerusalem.


The intermediate days are more open to subjective celebration, personal taste, and individual pleasures.

with Noga in the forest; photo by Chana

Many Israelis enjoy a barbeque, by which they celebrate the holiday. I attended one such barbeque this week, which was very enjoyable. My friends drank wine. I drank grapefruit juice with Vodka. Beer is forbidden on Passover and so is whisky, because fermented grain is not allowed.


These amazing flowers are called the blood of the Maccabees in Hebrew, and the little beetle appreciating the flower, known as a ladybug in English, is called Moses’ red cow in Hebrew.


This evening marks the beginning of the last day of the holiday. It is followed by the Sabbath, so in many ways we’re about to enjoy a two day Sabbath. That means an extra day without bread.


We will continue eating matzot, unleavened bread until the conclusion of the Sabbath. And after that, back to normal.


66 responses to “seven days

  1. I can see how beautiful spring in there, I loved all photographs. Blessing and Happiness dear Shimon, Thank you, love, nia

    • For the last couple of days we’ve been having low temperatures and rain and hail. But that’s part of spring too. A lot of sun, with days of winter interspersed. Thanks so much, Nia. My best wishes to you too.

  2. This all sounds very complicated. Your lovely photos and calm presence make it seem simple. The first photo is so perfect. I may have to borrow that for Ram On some day.

  3. Such beautiful pictures. They create a longing in my heart for that fresh green forest and those wandering paths! Why is the ladybird called Moses’ red cow?

    • Hi Gill. I really don’t know for sure why they call the ladybird Moses’ cow. But you remember, there is a red cow mentioned in the old testament, which was supposed to bring spiritual purity to those who were unpure. So glad you like the pictures. I hope that you in England will soon be enjoying spring weather. Thanks.

  4. …Assuming that you do not object (attribution included).

  5. Lovely photos. And you seem never to lack for lady companions, Shimon! 🙂

    • I’m a very lucky fellow, Nina. And especially in that I have been blessed with good friends, men and women. Glad you enjoyed the photos. Thanks for the comment.

  6. Lady bugs are considered to be lucky in the UK. If one lands on you – good tidings are in store:)
    Looks like you had a beautiful day with Mother Nature and that the entire week has been a good one for you. Wonderful
    Continue to enjoy the glorious spring weather. Janet xx

    • I’ve always considered myself lucky when meeting with a ladybug, Janet. And all the more so, when I got a chance to photograph her. It was a great day. Since then we’ve been having rain and cold. but we’re promised warmth towards the end of the week. Thanks so much. xxx

  7. Thank you, Shimon, for sharing so deeply of the beautiful and sacred, from your perspective; it enlarges us all. I love all the photos, but especially the photo Chana took of you and your friend, Noga. As a photographer, I’m hardly ever in a photo, and it’s nice to see you, too, once in a while! Gentle peace.

    • Yes. that’s a common problem for photographers, Kitty. We do the shooting and then don’t have a record of ourselves. I was lucky when I was teaching college. My students used to photograph me all the time, and I had quite a collection. I think in this blog world people really enjoy seeing a few shots of the blogger. Thanks very much for your comment and blessing. Always very good to hear from you.

  8. Again…a beautiful journey of spirit, light and your natural surroundings. I learn so much from you. I think that this practice of blogging creates less distance between people and better understanding. What a glorious world you have picked up through your camera lens! Sending best wishes for these days for you.

    • Thanks very much for your good wishes, Kathleen. I agree with you, the internet and blogs do give us a subjective view of what’s happening in other corners of the world… and it does bring us together. Thanks so much for your good wishes, and may you enjoy the glories of spring very soon.

  9. What a fabulous name for what we call in English English, the ladybird. I’ve no idea why. A lovely spring feel to your post Shimon and interesting to read a little more about the passover holiday. Have a lovely weekend Shimon! שַׁבָּת שָׁלוֹם

    • Thanks so much for your holiday wishes and sabbath greeting in my own language. Really appreciate that! Very glad you enjoyed my celebration of spring. And yes, I hear that the ladybird is named after some saints in a few European languages. I suppose we all see her as something special.

  10. What a wonderful look at your corner if the world!

  11. For a moment there, I thought it was already Friday. I’ve been known to lose track of the days, and seeing your name pop up in my email means it must be Friday, but not today. Today it means you’re writing a day early, in accordance with the restrictions associated with Passover. It doesn’t matter what day of the week it is, I’m always glad to see your name in my email notifications.

    Truly enjoyed the photographs, and especially appreciate when you share a photo in which you are included. Looks like it was a lovely day for photographing the wildflowers. I ventured out a tiny bit today, and even though it’s still early in the day, the sun has already chased me back inside the house. Yesterday I spent several hours outside, (working in the yard), and now my nose and arms are sunburned. I haven’t even put up my winter jackets yet, and already my first sunburn. Guess that means it’s time to wash and store away my winter clothes. 🙂

    • It was a wonderful day. Since then, we’ve had cold and rain. But they say it’s going to get warmer towards the end of the week. Yes, I imagine that I’m so regular in my conservative attachment to routine, that it could be misleading to post on the wrong day. The thought makes me smile, Nancy. Glad you were able to get the feeling of spring here in Israel. I know what you’re talking about when you mention sunburn. I have very white skin myself, but used to sport a nice tan starting just above my left elbow, and coming down to my wrist from sticking my arm on the windowsill of the car when driving in the summer. Those were the days when I spent much to much time in the car, and we didn’t have air conditioning yet… wishing you joy from the spring and from your gardening too.

  12. Beautiful photos, Shimon. Wishing you a happy holiday!

  13. Traditions add so much richness to life. What a lovely walk. Thanks for bringing us along.

    • Yes Judy, the traditions meld well with the cyclical movement of nature. It’s a pleasure to share my little adventures with my friends. Thanks.

  14. I do believe when I visited your country in 1989 our Orthodox Israeli guide, Joe, told us that Israel has the distinction of having the greatest variety of wildflowers on earth–and that they are protected for that reason. It was mid-January when I went, and the beauty! They grow EVERYWHERE, regardless of soil conditions, or even sometimes it seemed without soil at all! It was one of the greatest highlights, seeing the bounty of wildflowers such as you have posted here. Thank you for doing so–and bringing back sweet memories. What an amazIng land and amazing people.

    • Yes, the wildflowers are protected in Israel, though I didn’t know that they were more varied than in other countries. It might be because we’re at a cross point in this world between continents. But they have always been an inspiration for me, and you’re right; they grow everywhere. So glad that you had that opportunity to get to know our country with your own eyes, and that you have good memories of your visit here. Thanks so much for your comment, Lance. Always good to hear from you.

  15. Your friends have already expressed many of my thoughts and feelings re your post for today – including delight at seeing you included in one of the photos. Thank you, Shimon, for sharing the beauty of your country and Passover. (Customs create law here in the States as well. 🙂 )

    • It is a great pleasure being able to share the sights as well, when telling of the spring, and of our holiday. When I was young, I was a voracious reader, but many of the images in my head were just imagined. The new technology has really opened up the world for us. Thanks very much for your comment, Myra.

  16. Though intersting I find the Jewish laws also very complicated. We had the Pasen holiday in the Netherlands last week and also eat matzen (with butter and lots of sugar) then.

    • Fascinating to hear that you eat matzes too. Since I have lived with these laws all my life, it’s a bit hard to see it objectively. But I think it’s as much a life style as it is a discipline. I see it as something like yoga. With a rather enjoyable diet too… Thanks for the comment, Jeroen.

      • I don’t know the Dutch origins of the matzes tradition with Easter. There some Jewish customs and words in the Netherlands like the matzes with Easter and using ‘mazzel’ (from mazzeltow) when saying goodbye to someone. There was a fairly large Jewish community in Amsterdam.

        As a lover of good food and having a healthy interest in the kosher kitchen I planned to have a decent Jewish meal once. Opportunities enough; Antwerp is very close, and had some very good Jewish snacks in Paris and Rome… Hmmm food… must find a kosher restaurant soon!

  17. Lovely post, Shimon. Moses red cow? That is such a sweet name. Happy Passover.

  18. Out of curiousity. Fermented grain drinks are not permitted but fermented potato drinks are? Love the landscapes and flowers. Lucky to have 2 friends to share it with.
    Be Well Shimon.

    • It’s a very central part of the passover holiday, Bob. We try to relive the experience of the exodus… going out of Egypt and leaving slavery behind. We left Egypt so suddenly, that there was no time to let the bread rise. And so, on this holiday we avoid any fermentation of grain. But wine is okay, and so are potatoes. We wouldn’t want to turn into fanatics, right? My best wishes to you too, my friend, for health and happiness.

  19. Thanks for sharing the story of Passover customs. Your pictures are absolutely outstanding and the flowers are beautiful.

  20. Your photos show me Spring in your part of the world Shimon – the light and the colour just tell meSpring is certainly with you. A favourite time of mine,

  21. Just delightful, Shimon. By the time you read this, the holiday will be a memory, but I hope you had a great time. Thank you for sharing the experience with us! Best, Cathy

    • It’s a very good memory, Cathy. And spring is getting better as the days go by, though we do get reminders of winter here and there. But even when it’s cold, there are flowers to be seen on every field. Thanks for the comment.

  22. A most interesting and informative post Shimon – great images.

  23. I heard of chocolate coated matzos being gifted…I was thinking about how this fits in with the treats and diet for Passover. As I like matzos, I could eat it any time, even an extra day.

    Would keeping leavened bread in a freezer be an issue if the freezer was not kept in a kitchen or, in the main living areas of the home?

    • Yes, the chocolate covered matzos were quite popular for a time, Didn’t see any this year though. But there is something like it that is usually prepared at home. It’s sort of a cake, with chocolate poured between the layers of matzos, and then on the top of the stack… maybe after the matzos are softened with eggs or water. It is quite a tasty concoction, and I’m sure you’d like it, menhir. Most people here do not keep any bread in their house or on their property during the holiday.

  24. I do love this holiday! Your wild flowers are truly beautiful, I especially liked the white one! How wonderful to celebrate nature. I did enjoy seeing you all off the beaten track, and I just loved the ladybird on the red flower. Why are fermented grain drinks forbidden? xxx

    • When we got the word from Moses, that we were about to leave Egypt, and go back to the promised land, we had to move right away. And so we didn’t have time to let the bread rise so that we’d have sandwiches on the trip. Ever since then, we mark the memory by not eating fermented grain on the holiday. And that includes whisky. It’s a small sacrifice… and it helps us remember that there’s a price for freedom. Thank you so much for your comment. xxx

  25. I enjoyed your photos of nature, the grasses and flowers. These are the kinds of photos near and dear to my heart. It’s good you were able to go out and enjoy the beauty. Have a great week, Shimon.

    • I am so glad, Angeline, that you too love what I love most in this world. Taking a walk in the wild, and seeing the wild flowers all around, that really makes me soar. Thanks for your good wishes. And my very best to you too.

  26. Such beautiful photos- the flowers are truly amazing. I did not know that is what Ladybugs are called! We here in the US are used to a 2 day day Yom Tov- I can imagine 2 days might have been a challenge for many in Israel- especially at the end of Pesach!

    • I have often thought of how hard it must be to have two days in the galut instead of the one we celebrate. But then I think of certain prayers… or the shalom aleichem we sing on Friday night, and the repetition of the verse only makes it sweeter. I am sure that’s what it’s like for my brothers and sisters in other lands. Thank you for your comment, Cee.

  27. Why should a custom become a law? Would it be neccessary? If it were the custom to eat Xtian missionaries in some remote African tribe,ought that to become a law thus ensuring their descendants to cry:But mother I don’t want to eat a Christian missionary,I want some green leaves and a banana!And as most of the missionaries were celibate the supply would run out hence it follows that these poor folk would have to build ships and sail to Britain to find some more as they were common here once but now only a few are left in the wilds.

    • Thank you Kathryn for your very interesting soliloquy on the consumption of Christian missionaries. I’m always open to a laugh… and right now, watching the rain and lightening from my window, and listening to the thunder from the heavens, I needed something to lighten up the atmosphere.

  28. Beautiful shots full of spring sunshine and colour. What a lovely time of holiday celebration with such a lovely feeling of relaxing companionship throughout your words and photos.

    • Thanks very much, Patti. This has always been my favorite holiday, because it celebrates freedom, and comes at the most beautiful time in the year, filled with flowers and renewal.

  29. What a pleasant walk, Mr. Shimon, with two beautiful ladies. 🙂

  30. I continue to be amazed by your natural environment in Israel, Shimon…. The lush green of the wild grasses and your forests….so very beautiful. And as always, accompanied by a compelling narrative. Thank you, again, for sharing your world with us.

    • It is really amazing, Scott. Our country is so little. And yet we have mountains, and very deep valleys, lush greenery and the desert too. Sometimes I see it as an analogy of the world as a whole. Thank you very much for joining me on our holiday, and for your comment.

  31. one should be careful of the forest. trees can be addictive.

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