The dual

The dual

When the scientific and spiritual worlds collide, they do so in the most surprising ways. Classical meteorological and plant science has, in the last century, insisted that dew negatively affects plant life, leading to rot and fungus. But in the Judeo-Christian tradition, dew is most welcomed as an important source of vegetative and plant life, celebrated in poetry and prayer. Now Prof. Pinhas Alpert of Tel Aviv University’s Department of Geophysics and Planetary Sciences has developed an explanation for the perplexing paradox with his colleagues. According to scientific literature, he says, dew that accumulates through the night has a negative effect on vegetation and fruits because it creates a “spongy” effect. But in a recent issue of the Water Resources Journal, Prof. Alpert demonstrates that dew is an important water source for plant life in climates such as those in the Eastern Mediterranean, where the Judeo-Christian tradition originated, and parts of the U.S. Great Basin Desert.

“Semi-arid zones are dry for over half the year,” he explains. “Dew is therefore an important source of moisture in the air. It surrounds the plant leaves nearly every morning for approximately two to three hours past sunrise.” This finding, he says, explains why dew is such an important part of Judaeo-Christian traditions. In Judaism, blessings are offered to rain and dew in daily prayer, and there are many references to dew throughout the Bible, including the Old Testament books of Genesis and Isaiah.

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