||On working the land and agricultural conditions in Syria in general and in particular in Erez Israel. Originally written in German this edition is the Hebrew translation of R. Jehiel Michael Pines. The title page is followed by a word to the reader, a table of contents, and the text, set in a single column in squae letters. Avodat ha-Adamah is comprised of three discourses, each made up of several chapters. The first discourse is on the produce, various types of grains and vegetables, their seasons, and their usages. The second discourse is on working the land, times for seeding, preparing the land, irrigation, tending to the crops, harvesting, winnowing, etc. The final discourse is concerned with raising animals. There is are chapters on horses, donkeys, camels, sheep, cows and oxen, birds, etc. The volume concludes with a section (pp. 63-71) on raising bees by Menasseh ben Zevi Marbiz. The value of Avodat ha-Adamah is attested to by the fact that no less a personage than R. Pines saw fit to translate the book.
R. Jehiel Michael Pines, (1843–1913) was a writer, early exponent of religious Zionism, and yishuv leader. Born in Ruzhany, Belorussia, into a family of prosperous merchants and Torah scholars, Pines was influenced in his youth by Mordecai Gimpel Jaffe, an early leader of Hovevei Zion, who headed a yeshivah maintained by Pines' family. He studied both traditional subjects and foreign languages and science, and the fusion of the two spheres of knowledge led to a romantic-religious outlook. He believed that Jewish life should be reformed, but was opposed to deliberate, religious reforms that would undermine the foundations of tradition and increase assimilation. He thought that a reformed way of life would inevitably bring about certain changes of halakhah without affecting the sanctity of the Jewish religion. In 1877, while he was living at his father-in-law's home in Mogilev, Pines was asked by the Moses Montefiore Testimonial Fund in London to serve as its representative in Erez Israel. He accepted eagerly, reached Jaffa a year later, and settled in Jerusalem (1878) at the home of his relative, Yosef Rivlin, the secretary of the Va'ad Kelali (General Committee of the halukkah), thus arousing the enmity of Rivlin's many opponents in Jerusalem (Hasidim and maskilim, Sephardim, and religious extremists; the latter, supporters of Rabbi Y. L. Diskin persecuted Pines and proclaimed him "excommunicated"). On behalf of his London sponsors, Pines conducted investigations into the spiritual, cultural, and particularly the economic problems of the yishuv, proposing the founding of an agricultural settlement, the building of houses and new quarters, and the establishment of artisan and industrial projects. The Montefiore Fund concentrated on granting aid for the construction of houses and Jerusalem was thus expanded through the building of several new quarters. Pines tried to set up artisan and industrial projects with the help of Montefiore Fund loans, and with his own money as well, but they proved a failure and brought about his dismissal in 1885. (His son-in-law, David Yellin, was appointed to the same post in 1901.) In 1882 R. Pines became friendly with Eliezer Ben-Yehuda who had just arrived in Erez Israel, and together they established the Tehiyyat Israel ("Israel Renaissance") Society, whose aim was, inter alia, to introduce Hebrew as a spoken language. When the first members of Bilu arrived at the end of the same year, Pines became their patron and established the Shivat he-Harash ve-ha-Masger ("Return of the Craftsmen and the Smiths") Society for them in Jerusalem. With Hovevei Zion funds he bought for them the lands for the settlement of Gederah in 1884 and was the settlement's patron for several years. In 1885 K.Z. Wissotzky appointed him a member of the executive committee of Hovevei Zion in Palestine. For several months in 1886 he edited Ha-Zevi, Ben-Yehuda's newspaper, while the latter was abroad, but the friendship between the two was affected by the outbreak of the violent controversy regarding the Sabbatical Year (shemittah), which fell in 1888/89. Although Pines' conservative attitude to this question aroused opposition in Hovevei Zion circles, he was elected in 1890 to the organizations's executive committe in Jaffa, headed by Vladimir Tiomkin. At about the same time Pines joined the Benei Moshe Society, but its leader Ahad Ha-Am, who wanted to prevent discussions of religious problems in the Society, advocated his departure from that group. In 1892, after a crisis in the activities of the executive committee of Hovevei Zion, Pines was dismissed and thereafter affiliated himself with the old yishuv, even becoming one of its main spokesmen. His views on nation and religion, which he then developed in his articles in Ha-Havazzelet and in special pamphlets, were shortly afterward adopted by the Mizrachi Party. In 1893 he became a trustee of the Ashkenazi community's charitable institutions in Jerusalem, and the librarian and a teacher of Talmud in the Hebrew Teachers' college.
Pines was first and foremost a thinker, writer, and craftsman of Hebrew language and style. He displayed outstanding knowledge of biblical style and language (into which he translated various scientific books) and greatly influenced his brother-in-law and pupil, Ze'ev Jawitz, who in turn influenced H.N. Bialik. Pines was conversant with mishnaic style (see his Mishnat Erez Yisrael), the medieval style rhyming prose, and the conglomerate style that he employed in his articles and his many letters to employers and to people who approached him with queries regarding settlement in Erez Israel. Yaldei Ruhi and some of his letters and articles appeared in the three volumes of Kitvei Y. M. Pines ("Writings of Y. M. Pines," 1934–39), edited by his sons-in-law, David Yellin and Yosef Meyuhas. His selected writings, Mivhar Kitvei Pines, appeared in 1946, edited and with a preface by G. Kressel. Kefar Pines, a moshav in the Sharon Plain, is named for him.