The Abundance of Olive Oil in the Land of Israel
 In Parshat Vayechi (Breisheet 49:20), Yaakov gives Asher the following bracha: “From Asher will come rich food. He will provide delicacies for the king.” 

According to Rashi: Food that will come from Asher’s territory will be rich, for there will be an abundance of olives in his region so that oil will flow like a fountain. In Devarim 33:24, Moshe blessed Asher with the blessing: “And he will dip his foot in oil”.


The Gemara in Menachot 85b tells the story about how the oil in the portion of Asher flows like a spring. One time the people of Ludkiya needed oil. They appointed for themselves an agent and said to him: “Go and bring us a million maneh’s (4 gold dinars) worth of oil.” The agent went to Jerusalem to purchase oil. The local residents told him: “Go to Tyre.” He went to Tyre and there the people told him: “Go to Gush Chalav (a place in Asher’s tribal territory where oil flows like a spring).” He then went to Gush Chalav. The people there told him: “Go to so and so, to that certain field.” The agent went and found a Jewish farmer digging and hoeing under his olive trees. The agent said to him: “Do you have a million maneh’s worth of oil which I need?” He replied to the agent: “Wait until I finish my work”…and he cleared stones on the way home. When the farmer reached the city, his maidservant brought out water and he washed his hands and feet and then she brought out a golden basin full of oil and he dipped his hands and feet in it to fulfill what is stated: “He dips his foot in oil.”


The Gemara continues: After he ate and drank, the farmer measured for the agent a million manehs’ worth of oil and asked if he needed more. The agent wanted more but he didn’t have any more money left so the farmer said that he would go back with him to collect payment (COD-Cash on Delivery!) so he measured out another one hundred and eighty thousand maneh’s worth of oil and they hired horses, mules, camels and donkeys to take it all back to Ludkiya.


We learn from this story that the bracha that Yaakov gave Asher did come true and that his territory became a kind of “olive oil country”. Today as well, we are witnessing the fulfillment of the bracha with the large amounts of olives and olive oil that are produced in Israel and exported throughout the world.