Chazal tell us that the fruit the spies came back with from the land of Israel were huge. But I don't recall hearing mention of these giant fruit after the people entered the land (e.g. during the time of the judges). When did the giant fruit disappear?

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    Perhaps it was only noteworthy (or even noticeable as giant) when novel. Afterward, that was just the size they were used to.
    – Loewian
    Commented Jun 25, 2019 at 1:07
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    Well, we don't have them today... The Classical naturalists of Bayis Sheni don't mention them either. If there's a source that they lasted until Churban Rishon, that would be a good answer. Commented Jun 25, 2019 at 1:11
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    Opposite question: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/105112
    – DonielF
    Commented Jun 25, 2019 at 3:04
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    I have no idea what I am talking about, but just something to realize: A lot of fruits used to be significantly smaller which has changed due to a combination of artificial selection and better agricultural methods. Apples for example used to be half the size from what you get in the store now. No idea, but I think it's reasonable to guess that 'good year' vs 'bad year' would make a big difference (then again, peaches specifically seem to not have changed in size that much). Commented Jun 25, 2019 at 7:36

2 Answers 2


Here's a quote from the Talmud, Ketuvot 112A:

רבי חלבו ור' עוירא ור' יוסי בר חנינא איקלעו לההוא אתרא אייתו קמייהו אפרסקא דהוה כאילפס כפר הינו ואילפס כפר הינו כמה הוי ה' סאין אכלו שליש והפקירו שליש ונתנו לפני בהמתן שליש

§ The Gemara relates that Rabbi Ḥelbo, Rabbi Avira, and Rabbi Yosei bar Ḥanina happened to come on one occasion to a certain place. The locals brought before these Sages a peach [afarseka] that was as large as a stewpot [ilpas] of Kefar Hino. The Gemara asks: And how big is a stewpot of Kefar Hino? The Gemara answers: It has a capacity of five se’a. They ate one-third of it, they declared ownerless one-third of it, and they placed before their animals one-third of it.

לשנה איקלע ר' אלעזר להתם ואייתו לקמיה נקטו בידיה ואמר (תהלים קז, לד) ארץ פרי למלחה מרעת יושבי בה

In the following year, Rabbi Elazar happened to come to that same place, and they brought a peach before him. He held it in his hand, as the peach was small enough for him to grasp in one hand, and he said, in reference to the change in size of the fruit from the previous year: “A fruitful land into a salt waste, from the wickedness of they who dwell there” (Psalms 107:34), i.e., their sins caused the drastic change in the yield of the produce.

רבי יהושע בן לוי איקלע לגבלא חזנהו להנהו קטופי דהוו קיימי כי עיגלי אמר עגלים בין הגפנים אמרו ליה קטופי נינהו אמר ארץ ארץ הכניסי פירותייך למי את מוציאה פירותייך לערביים הללו שעמדו עלינו בחטאתינו

§ Once Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi happened to come to Gavla, in the Golan, and he saw those clusters of vines that were standing as large as calves. He said to the locals: Calves are standing between the grapevines and you are not concerned that they will cause damage? They said to him: They are clusters. Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi said: O earth, O earth! Gather in your fruit. For whom do you produce your fruit? For these gentiles who stand over us in our sins? It would be preferable if you did not produce such large fruit.

לשנה איקלע ר' חייא להתם חזנהו דהוו קיימי כעיזי אמר עזים בין הגפנים אמרו ליה זיל לא תעביד לן כי חברך:

The following year, Rabbi Ḥiyya happened to come to that same place, and he saw clusters that were standing as large as goats. He said: Goats are standing between the grapevines. They said to him: Go away; do not do to us what your colleague has done. Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi’s curse was already fulfilled, as the fruit had shrunk from the previous year.

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    I guess if one is to assume that these are not hyperbolic, then the question becomes when these stories took place, and are we sure that they were the last ones. Commented Jun 25, 2019 at 2:37

When i visited Jerusalem in 2004 the grapes were the size of plums, the kiwis were as big as my hand and the pomegranates were like melons. My son and I were amazed and still talk about it when we reminisce of our time in Israel.

  • Did you take any pictures?
    – Alex
    Commented Jun 4, 2021 at 21:40
  • How many other places' fruit did you compare these to in your head?
    – Double AA
    Commented Jun 4, 2021 at 22:21
  • I did not take pictures, I remember my son said “oh, plums” but when he went to take one they were attached to each other (he got a confused look on his face)…because they were grapes and he took one and said “they’re grapes!” He was 9 years old (now he is 25) and he still remembers the huge grapes.
    – rebecca
    Commented Jun 9, 2021 at 18:12

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