It is startling how quickly night falls in Bahia. One can be reading by the light of day one moment, and bathed in an inky darkness the next. There is no slowly fading day or lingering dusk. The sun plunges beneath the horizon as if it itself is afraid of the night.

We were racing the sun; anxiously watching its rapid descent. We had a meeting with Samuel that evening and were having difficulty finding his house. The palm trees were already casting long shadows when we finally rang his doorbell and with nary a word of introduction, we rolled up his sleeve, wrapped him in Tefillin and welcomed the night with a final mitzvah.

Samuel left his native Israel about forty years ago. He traveled the world, trying his hand at odd jobs and business ventures before settling down in the little Bahian coastal town.

His list of properties, interests and investments was impressive; hardware stores, farms and motels amongst others. "It´s like you see", he told us, "in Israel I would be competing with thousands of other Yiddishe kep (Jewish minds), here I am the sole Jew." His success speaks for the soundness of this advice.

On the home front things were not as rosy; his two gentile children neither could nor wanted to speak Hebrew and expressed no interest in visiting the land of their father.

We sat in the garden of his motel cum house surrounded by luscious growth and the quiet hum of insects. We sipped ice cold water and discussed politics and parsha (the weekly Torah portion), business and brachas (blessings).

He told us of his time in the army and the horror of having friends die before his eyes. We told him of the Rebbe's regard and love of those who are prepared to give their life protecting the Land of Israel. We didn't see eye to eye on all issues – he likes American football and CNN and we like Australian footy and Ray Martin. (If you have not guessed, we are both Australian). He likes 'from the farm to the table' and we like the best produce for the best price. The fundamentals were similar – we love the same tradition and the same land.

He boasted of being completely gastronomically self sufficient and we were treated to a tour of the pantry: fruits, vegetables, spices, flours, meats and poultry – all from his own farm and garden. We tasted cocoa, coco, and coca from the cacao, coconut and Erythroxylum coca plants...all from his own garden. We reminded him of the Jewish history of farming and of the portions of the Bible devoted to agricultural laws. He was proud to continue the tradition and expressed his deep longing to be able to farm once again in the Holy Land.