CAROB (Heb. חָרוּב, ḥaruv), the tree Ceratonia siliqua. Though not mentioned in the Bible it presumably existed in Ereẓ Israel in biblical times, as is indicated by its Hebrew name and by the fact that it grows wild in the Mediterranean regions of the country. It is often referred to in rabbinic sources, which give full details of its characteristics. It is one of the most attractive trees in Israel (of. tj, Suk. 3:5, 53d). In tannaitic times "a carob in Kfar Kasm" was stated to have been formerly used in the *Asherah cult (Tosef., Av. Zar. 6:8). On account of its high and spreading top, a considerable distance was left between one carob tree and another (Pe'ah 2:4). While some of its roots spread to a distance of 50 cubits (bb 2:7, 11), others strike deep into the ground, even reaching down to "the abyss" (Gen. R. 13:17, end). It develops a very thick trunk, one tree having been so huge that three girdles could not encircle it (tj, Pe'ah 7:4, 20a). Its fruit grows not on the thick branches but on the thin ones and on the trunk (this being characteristic of a tree of tropical origin), and in this respect it resembles the sycamore (Men. 71a–b). It begins to bear fruit at a much later age than other fruit trees, producing a good yield, according to the aggadah, only 70 years after being planted (Ta'an. 23a). Actually it bears fruit after ten years, and the aggadah may refer to the fact that the male tree (the carob tree is dioecius, i.e., has male and female plants) when very old begins to produce female flowers as well as fruit. There are different varieties of carob trees. Besides the wild species there were excellent varieties that were grafted on the inferior types (bb 4:8). The latter, being mediocre, were not considered liable to the priestly offering (Terumah; Tosef., Ter. 5:6–7), and were regarded as fodder (Shab. 155a; tj, Ma'as. 3:1, 50b). It was the poor man's fruit; for example it was said of the pious tanna Ḥanina b. Dosa "a kav of carobs sufficed him from one Sabbath eve to another" (Ta'an. 24b). Their nutritive value is high, and a wellknown aggadah relates that carobs sustained Simeon b. Yoḥai and his son for 12 years while they were hiding in a cave from the Roman authorities (Shab. 33b). Carobs were of economic importance and were included among the fruits to which the law of pe'ah applied (Pe'ah 1:5). The best kinds were exported and were renowned outside the borders of Ereẓ Israel (Dem. 2:1; tj, Dem. 2:1, 22b). Since these exude a honey when ripe and grow among the rocks, there may be a reference to such carobs in the verse: "And He made him to suck honey out of the crag" (Deut. 32:13; cf. tj, Pe'ah 7:4, 20a).
Loew, Flora, 2 (1924), 393–407. add. bibliography: Feliks, Ha-Ẓome'aḥ, 86, 71.
car·ob / ˈkarəb/ • n. 1. a powder extracted from the carob bean, used as a substitute for chocolate. 2. (also carob tree) a leguminous Arabian evergreen tree (Ceratonia siliqua) that bears long brownish-purple edible pods. Also called locust tree. ∎ (also carob bean) the edible pod of this tree. Also called locust bean.