Colorful Lentil Soup

This week we are reading the Torah portion about Yaakov (Jacob) and his twin brother Eisav (Esau). I thought it would be appropriate to repeat a recipe which in my house is called “Eisav’s Soup.”


Since the age of bugging adults with an incessant stream of questions, I was preoccupied by figuring out what exactly was “this red stuff” that Yaakov was cooking on that fateful day. Eisav, the outdoors-man, runs in from the fields totally exhausted and demands, “Gimme red, this red!” We learn that his other name, Edom, actually resulted from this demand. The word haadam (red) is repeated twice, and Torah, of course,does not repeat things simply for rhetorical purposes. Was Yaakov cooking several dishes, so his brother was just making sure to clarify the choice? Or is the word itself so significant that even his name is derived from it?


I hear you, preschool and kindergarten Morahs (teachers), how come Eisav is not a redhead in this picture? Don’t we all picture him as a barbarian with a great big head of wild red hair and beard?


Well, it’s…

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13 Comments Add yours

  1. One of the big differences between the Reform and traditional narrative, I have found, is the portrayal of Esov. In the reform synagogue, I was told outright that he was not a bad person. Rashi- and the Chassidus- beg to differ. Great post, I love the look of your recipe!

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    1. Thank you – I am glad you like it. The difference is that he had both good and bad qualities in him, and sometimes the bad qualities took over (quite often, actually), while Yaakov was completely good, or, in Chassidic terminology, “Tzaddik Gomer.” Eisav, while not a complete “rasha,” was definitely not a Tzaddik, and not even a “Beinoni” because his Aveiros outweighed his Mitzvos. All that being said, we can’t label him a bad person because of one great characteristic: “Kivud Av v’Aim.”

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      1. Very true!! I love your explanation of this.

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      2. Thank you very much! I know you are very knowledgeable and I am sure you are constantly learning, but some concepts are really difficult to internalize – for all of us!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a whole new version of the story of the brothers and the selling of a birthright in exchange for lentil soup. But either way it sounds delicious!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you – I am glad you like the recipe! I sometimes put my own twists on well-known stories, but they are always congruent with our interpretation of the events and the approved sources.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m sure! I love the story and the picture of the kids with their red faces 😉 It was never clear to me what the red reference meant, red hair, a birthmark of sorts..who knows! But lentils are delicious!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. A delicious post, Dolly 🙂
    Good Day!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, dear Pranitha! I am glad you like it!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. In India, we too make a similar dish, my mother still does, during winters for breakfast! Your post brought back lovely memories of breakfast times with my family!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh, thank you dear! I am so glad!

        Liked by 1 person

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