The Torah praises the land of Israel by speaking of seven types of produce within it:
For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land…a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey. (Deuteronomy 8:7-8)
Why does the Torah single out these seven species? After all, the land of Israel produced many other foods: lentils and beans, herbs of various kinds, onions, melons, mushrooms, almonds and other nuts, citrons, apricots, various spices, and carobs, just to name a few.
Jewish tradition holds that there is special significance to the seven species named here; they relate to the holy and unique status of the land of Israel. They also connect with God’s promise to bring the Israelites into the land. Accordingly, the offering of first fruits (Deuteronomy 26:1-11), which commemorates the fulfillment of the promise of the land, is only taken from these seven species.
After eating any of these grains or fruits, it is Jewish custom to recite a unique blessingcalled Berachah Me’ein Shalosh. The Vine of David resource Nodeh Lecha provides an explanation of this blessing and the seven species:
This blessing is called the “Blessing Resembling Three” because it contains a distillation of the three main blessings in the full Birkat HaMazon.
This blessing is to be recited after eating one or more of the seven species, a special set of foods for which the Torah praises the land of Israel. Deuteronomy 8:8 describes the promised land as “a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and honey.” The term “vines” is representative of grapes. The honey mentioned here is customarily interpreted as date honey.
These seven species reflect the unique nature of Israel’s climate. They are all types of produce that depend on the land receiving just the proper amount of rain. Since rain in the land of Israel specifically hinges on covenant faithfulness (Deuteronomy 11:13-18), these products are especially symbolic of that covenant.
Other than wheat and barley, the fruits included in the seven species all grow high in trees. One has to look up in order to see and harvest them. In contrast, the species for which the land of Egypt is known— “the cucumbers and the melons and the leeks and the onions and the garlic” (Numbers 11:5)—grow on the ground. This reminds us to keep ourselves focused on the One who gives us life and sustains us: our Father who is in heaven.
By reciting this blessing each time we eat the foods for which Israel is praised, we express our hope that God returns all Israel from the four corners of the earth back to the promised land. We pray:
Rebuild Jerusalem, the city of holiness, quickly and in our days; bring us up to its midst, make us glad with its rebuilding. May we eat from its fruit, be satisfied from its goodness, and bless You upon it in holiness and purity.
May God fulfill our request and quickly send Yeshua the Messiah a second time to gather in the dispersed of Israel.