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Devorim 33 (14) says

וּמִמֶּ֖גֶד תְּבוּאֹ֣ת שָׁ֑מֶשׁ וּמִמֶּ֖גֶד גֶּ֥רֶשׁ יְרָחִֽים׃

With the bounteous yield of the sun, And the bounteous crop of the moons;

Rashi says

גרש ירחים [AND BY] THE PRECIOUS THINGS PUT THINGS FORTH BY THE MOON — there are some fruits which the moon brings to maturity, these are cucumbers and melons (Sifrei Devarim 353:3). — Another explanation of גרש ירחים: this refers to fruits which the earth puts out and produces from month to month (cf. Onkelos).

Rashi's peshotim are difficult to understand.

1] The moon reflects light from the sun. So it seems unlikely that only the moon (and not the sun) will ripen cucumbers and melons.

2] The 2nd pshat seems to suggest that the earth produces different produce each Rosh Chodesh as Onkelos says, וְעָבְדָא מִגְדָּנִין וַעֲלָלָן מִיבוּל שִׁמְשָׁא וְעָבְדָא מִגְדָּנִין מֵרֵישׁ יְרַח בִּירַח:

So, two linked questions [1] What does the possuk mean and [2] can Rashi's peshotim be explained better?

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  • I understood it as there being plants that grow better at night. The light from the moon is less intense, etc.
    – Harel13
    Oct 6 '20 at 3:44
  • @Harel13 Please explain how plants grow better from the light of the moon. If light helps growth, the sun is better; if light doesn't help, growth would be better in the absence of the light of the moon. Oct 6 '20 at 9:10
  • Not being an expert biologist, I can only suggest that for some plants the sun's light may be too intense. The moon's light is weaker, of course. Check this out: google.com/… (and Rashi had a vineyard, so I think he's pretty trustworthy on general knowledge about plants)
    – Harel13
    Oct 6 '20 at 9:55
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1] I don't think Rashi means that the moon exclusively ripens those fruits, just that it contributes.

2]The second pshat implies that there are some crops that grow in a thirty day cycle, so presumably if they were planted on Rosh Chodesh they would ripen around the next Rosh Chodesh. An example would be אספסתא, which Rashi to Maseches Bava Basra says ripens after thirty days.

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