A Vineyard in Shomron

by Moshe Dann (January 2013)

For the next two hours we separated grapes from their stems until several large pails were overflowing. After dumping the contents into a small plastic wading pool, Akiva and Ephriam washed their feet and jumped in, stomping and singing Psalms.

Some months before, Akiva had found a large pit in the area, about two meters deep and a meter and a half across, that had been filled with stones. Why the hole? A small ancient cistern, perhaps? But there was no lime coating indicating it had once held water.

Digging out bush and bramble revealed an uneven stone floor, about three meters square, more than twice the size of the plastic grape-filled wading pool in which Akiva and Ephriam were still sloshing and singing.

Watching them dance, I suddenly understood the answer to my questions: mosaic tiles might have been set on the stone floor to create a smooth, water-proof surface for crushing grapes.

When I looked up, Eliyakim was standing above me.

Grunting, I climbed out and brushed off. Handing him a tile, I explained that thousands of years ago, Jews made wine in this place, just like his father was doing now, in the hills of Shomron and the mountains of Ephriam.

And blessed are grandfathers who wait for wine.

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