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Purim: Catching the Buzz...


Beekeeper Miri's spontaneous happy dance after we succeeded in regathering our straying bee colony, is sung to a traditional Israeli children's Purim rhyme, my silly parody of which roughly goes: "Oh I'm Purim, oh I'm Purim, collect the bees all smiley/replace them in the hives so they won't sting the neighbors' hinies!/ Na Na Na, buzz buzz, Na Na Na, buzz buzz!"


Beekeeper story: we got up early today and went into nearby Carmiel (a 10 min drive) for shopping and errands; soon as we got back, we - luckily - found one hive swarming (lack of space and "sekrit' bee wisdom" can cause them all to - at once - up and leave for roomier housing; it's a skill and art to know how to keep this from happening, recognizing when it does happen, and how to cope with the sudden potential loss of some 30k bees - per hive!).


Or, practically speaking: how fast can you suit up, grab your gear, track down the swarm, find the queen, and - carefully, quietly, gently - coax them into a box and get them reassigned new dorm rooms back at the bee yard - it doesn't always work.

Just our luck that they went only as far as a bush in the neighbor's yard, and at the next house over, massed on a small orange tree - and not two stories up, in the eaves of another house, or in a distant field somewhere...

PS: a calming note to those terrified of the (admittedly formidable!) sight of a flying swarm of bees: before they swarm, they fill their bellies with honey as "road food" (commonly making them very docile and unlikely to sting) and fly as a group only in order to protect the queen.


They'll usually stop off nearby for a brief rest and to regroup, while scout bees reconnoiter their next move, further up ahead.


If you can get to them at that first Beeinterstate HoJo's rest stop, your chances are good that you can gather and successfully return them; the majority of the outliers that didn't get in the box, eventually, find their way back to the hive by sunset.


The Borg-like hive mind ability to communicate vital information via pheromones faster than the internet, and by their incredible pollen source location-sharing "bee dance" (I mean - srsly - Google "Bee dance" if you think I'm getting extravagant in my praise) is, honestly, something to genuinely marvel at, respect, and - speaking as a spirituality-striving Jew who regularly prays out among them in our bee yard - admire God's wisdom to embed infinitely complex layers of function and abilities into creatures barely the size of your fingernail.


For me, there's a connection between the day's events, and the holiday of Purim, which begins Thursday evening with the festive reading of the Megilla scroll, retelling the tale of Queen Esther and her uncle/foster father/husband - (commentators differ) Mordechai in Persian King Achasverosh's - Artaxerxes I - court, the plot of evil Haman to eradicate the Jewish minority, only about 170 years after the fall of the first Temple in Jerusalem and forced exile of the Jews from the Land of Israel to Persia, Babylon, and elsewhere.

That was then, this is now: As I wrote that last paragraph, ironically, a convoy of kids dressed in Purim costumes led by a truck and PA-system trailer blared its way down the lane of our small community and blazed colorful lights at our cottage and other homes along the way. Miri, meanwhile, was busy preparing our Purim mishlochai manot gift baskets, which included our very own, homemade, honey-infused grape juice, and clementine liquor (Miri's exquisitely tasty recipes available upon request) - both thanks to the intensive pollination of the grapevines and citrus trees surrounding our BeeYard, courtesy of "our" bees, whom we care for as any other herd of livestock - well, ok, you can't pet them, although traditional bee lore sez' they recognize their "owners'" scent, voice, and behavior. I'd first hoped to wrap up this essay with a clever metaphor or simile between bees and Purim, but - honestly? - all I could think of is that, here we are, back in the Land of Israel, Miri and me, costumed, chasing after "our" critters, trying to bring them home, safely, to once again fertilize our clementines, grape arbor and fig trees, beneath which we'll sit, and enjoy all our collective efforts to revitalize the Land and its people, and, at sunset over the central Galilee, indeed be able to say, "...and none shall make them afraid."


Miri and I welcome and read all of your comments and suggestions about this blog, so feel free to drop us a note below.


Stay tuned for upcoming events, like Bee Safaris at our BeeYard, and livestreamed honey recipes, whipped up by Miri - and others (send us yours, and maybe we'll include it in a cooking corner in future episodes...)


All clips shot on a Samsung Galaxy #s20ultra.


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©2021 by Dave Bender: Compelling Photography