Birthright Stew

This week on the show we’re discussing Esau, including the time when he traded his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of lentil stew. The Talmud tells us that Jacob had prepared the stew for his father, Isaac, because his father, Abraham, had just died that day, and it was customary to serve lentils to mourners. Why serve lentils on such an occasion? The Talmud explains:

And what is different about lentils that they in particular are the fare customarily offered to mourners? They say in the West, Eretz Yisrael, in the name of Rabba bar Mari: Just as this lentil has no mouth (i.e., it does not have a crack like other legumes), so too a mourner has no mouth (that is, his anguish prevents him from speaking). Alternatively, just as this lentil is completely round, so too mourning comes around to the inhabitants of the world.

Bava Batra 16b

Speaking of this story, if you’re not familiar with Tori Avey, then today you’re in luck. She has a ton of great recipes covering a variety of traditional Jewish dishes, and one she has done herself is an attempted recreation of the stew for which Esau traded his birthright to Jacob. I have no idea how accurate it is, but this stew is wonderful.


Check out the recipe and the story of how Tori came up with it here.

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