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Learn Hebrew: Nature Reserve

August 2, 2009 | by

Freshwater springs and old oak trees.

There is no doubt – the summer is here! All we can focus on is how to get cooler and avoid the heat and the humidity. In Israel, our solution is to head north, where we can find a cold brook and rest under the shade of a tree. We can relax, listening to the flowing water, the chirping birds, and forgetting about our worries.

Join me as we travel to Churshat Tal (), an enchanting nature reserve with brooks, little waterfalls, the largest swimming lake in Israel, a fishing pond, and a forest of ancient oak trees. In the spring and winter time, you may even find rare kinds of orchids and other flowers blooming in all of nature's splendorous colors.

When the winter snow and rain falls on Mount Chermon, it penetrates through the mountain and breaks out in the form of underground springs which form the Dan River, ( Nachal Dan). One of its brooks is the Tal River (, Nachal Tal) that flows through the reservoir.

The origin of the name Churshat Tal comes from a verse in Psalms 133:3, which mentions the dew on Mount Chermon: Like the dew of Chermon that comes down upon the mountains of Zion.

The Oak Forest. (, Churshat Ha'alonim)

There are 240 oak trees in this forest. Some are 50 feet tall, and some are estimated to be 400 years old.

One of the ancient oak trees in the forest became rotten and was about to collapse. In 1984, the Botanical Department of Tel-Aviv University came to the rescue. They carefully removed the rotten part of the tree and filled the tree trunk with six tons (!) of concrete. Since then, the tree has been healing and its bark is slowly covering the concrete. Its leaves are green and healthy and it gives much shade, beauty and comfort to the visitors.

Nature Reserve Vocabulary

Translation: thicket, grove, small forest
Transliteration: chursha
Part of speech: Noun, Feminine

Translation: dew
Transliteration: tal
Part of speech: Noun, Masculine

Translation: Mount Tabor Oak (Quercus ithaburensis)
Transliteration: alon hatavor
Part of speech: Noun, Masculine

Translation: brook, creek, tributary
Transliteration: peleg
Part of speech: Noun, Masculine

Hebrew Names Related to the Nature Reserve

Alon -

A modern boy's name, meaning "oak."

Talia - A modern girl's name, composed of the word "טַל" (tal, "dew") and the letters יה (the name of God). God declares: "I will be as the dew unto Israel" (Hosea 14:5).

There is also a popular Israeli song, based on the traditional Jewish prayer for dew:

Hebrew Word Search

See if you can find all the words in the puzzle below:

- Have a pleasant summer!

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