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The Bible Strikes Oil

by Rabbi Shraga Simmons; Apr 30, 2012 at 05:47:48 AM

Onshore oil fields in IsraelPerhaps you’ve seen the cartoon depicting a biblical character complaining to Moses for having “led us for 40 years in the desert to the one place in the Middle East that has no oil!”

This is no longer the case. Incredibly, Israel is now on the verge of energy independence – due to three recent developments:

  • the discovery of huge deposits – trillions of cubit feet – of natural gas in the Mediterranean sea off the coast of northern Israel, enough to supply all of Israel’s needs into the foreseeable future
  • the discovery of onshore oil fields
  • the near-completion of Better Place’s nationwide electric car infrastructure

Now here’s the really cool part.

Back in 1993, when Tovia Luskin began searching for oil, the prevailing wisdom was still stuck on that biblical cartoon. Luskin, a Russian-born geologist who is very religious, was intrigued by a passage in the Torah stating that Jacob (Israel) will “suck oil out of the flinty rock” (Deut. 32:13).

In the next chapter, Moses blesses the tribes of Menashe and Ephraim with “the best of the ancient mountains, and the sweetness of the eternal hills” (Deut. 33:15).

Using information provided by the medieval commentator Rashi, Luskin saw these verses as hinting to geological structural traps, associated with petroleum reservoirs.

So Luskin did what any smart businessman and believing Jew would do: He surveyed the tribal area allocated to Menashe and performed a geological evaluation. This led him to the spot now known as the Meged field, containing hundreds of millions of barrels of oil.

“It confirmed the story in the Bible,” Luskin told the Times of Israel. “I have worked on oil fields in Australia, Indonesia and Canada, and I have never seen a structure so likely to contain oil as the Meged field.”

Luskin’s plans for the future include building a university in Israel to train engineers in oil and gas exploration and energy management. “If a solution to the energy crisis is to be found, it will be here,” Luskin says, adding that “the world needs the Jewish brain.”

April 30, 2012

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Visitor Comments: 5

(5) David Lambert, April 10, 2014 12:22 AM

Thank You for speaking out, it's your duty

I am an American Veteran, I can tell you with absolute assurance, the veterans at all the VAHospitals and clinics, stand unwavering for Israel's rights regardless of what any USA Secretary of Defense says.

(4) chris, May 8, 2012 1:41 PM

Oil in Israel who would have thought?

I remember Golda Meir making this comment many years ago about no oil in Israel. G-d is true and His Torah is true. "It is the glory of G-d to conceal a matter, But the glory of kings to search out a matter."

(3) Daniel Ratner, May 2, 2012 2:54 AM


I am very happy you have a blog. You articles are usually the basis for my weekly dvar torahs at my shabbas tables. Keep up the great work!

(2) Y Kornblau, May 1, 2012 9:30 AM


I am so happy to see you have a blog. You have so much to offer it's great you have another forum to help touch and inspire people with you keen mind and intriguing intellect. What great content, I'll be sure to pass this on!

(1) Anonymous, April 30, 2012 5:05 PM

Great Blog

Fascinating article to read. I really enjoy your blog and the varied subjects you include.

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