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"Modern Day Magus" Wants to Revive the 3 Wise Men Gifts to Baby Jesus: Rare Plants for Medicinal Healing
"I decided to focus on plants that no one else in the world grows. Since those plants, those medical plants of the Bible were in medical use for so many years, there must be something about them and it is our duty to look for it." – Guy Erlich
(Israel) — [JNS.org] An Israeli entrepreneur is seeking to revive the gifts of the "Three Wise Men" (also known as the Biblical Magi) to baby Jesus in a bid to sell the products to interested parties. (Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons)
"I see myself as a modern Magus," Israeli entrepreneur Guy Erlich told Reuters.
"I decided to focus on plants that no one else in the world grows. Since those plants, those medical plants of the Bible were in medical use for so many years, there must be something about them and it is our duty to look for it," he said.
According to the Gospel of Matthew, men "from the east" came to visit Jesus shortly after His birth in Bethlehem bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
Erlich is reviving the rare plants to sell commercially to people interested in the product, mainly evangelical Christians.
But the last Magi gift—gold—is a bit trickier. According to Erlich and some Christian Biblical scholars, "gold" was actually a mistranslation and instead refers to a precious amber resin of the Balsam of Gilead, an aromatic mix resembling citrus and cinnamon that Erlich is also cultivating. Erlich said the Balsam of Gilead resin was used by Biblical kings as anointing oil.
"For the frankincense and myrrh which I believe are similar to the ones that were growing in the past in Israel, those are many species but I believe that the species he (Guy Erlich) grew has the desirable qualities," Prof. Shimshon Ben Yehoshua, from the Volcani Agricultural Research Center and Hebrew University of Jerusalem's Faculty of Agriculture, told Reuters.
At the same time, Erlich has drawn interest from religious Jews who are thrilled at the prospect of using incenses that were utilized during the Second Temple period.
"My plants are sacred to all religions," he said. "Now they can be a uniting factor. They can be a common ground. They can connect people."
[Reprinted with permission of JNS.org]