The last number of weeks we have been reading about Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, Jacob, Leah and Rachel. Jacob was the proud father of 12 sons and one daughter, and moved his family from Padan Aram back to Canaan. In this week’s Torah reading we find out more about the dynmics in Jacob’s family.
Jacob left his father-in-law’s home a wealthy man with huge herds of cattle and flocks of goats. The sons were shepherds. Joseph was favoured by Jacob, and was given a beautiful coat. While his brothers were out iin the hot fields for days at a time Joseph stayed at home with their father. There was a lot of jealousy for more than one reason.
At one point in this week’s Torah portion Joseph was sent out to the fields to look for his brothers and report back to Yaakov (Jacob). They had gone to Shechem with their flocks, and then traveled further. Joseph went to Shechem but couldn’t find them. A man- we suspect that he was an angel- redirected Joseph to Dothan. The brothers saw him approaching. To paraphrase Maurice Sendak, they “made mischief of one kind and another”. They threw Joseph into a pit and gave him to Midianite traders who then sold him to Ishmaelite traders.
I’ve often wondered about the brothers out in the fields, sleeping and eating there. What did they have for lunch? What were they eating as Joseph approached? Many Israeli cookbooks feature eggplant recipes, and I thought- could the brothers have enjoyed something like roasted eggplant?
Roasted Eggplant with Silan and Tomatoes
1 medium eggplant 1 – 2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 Tbsp. raw tehina 1- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. yogurt sprigs of fresh parsley, cilantro or hyssop leaves
1 tomato halved, cored, and diced 1 crushed clove of garlic
1Tbsp. silan or dark honey sea salt and crushed pepper to taste
Bake the eggplant. You can roast it over a bonfire, a gas flame or, as I have here, an electric element. It gives a wonderful smokey flavour.
Slice in half and drizzle with tehina, yogurt, silan (or honey), olive oil and lemon juice.
Season with salt, pepper, and garlic. Garnish with parsley, cilantro or hyssop.
The roasted eggplant is delicious with warmed or toasted pita and a good glass of beer. (P.S. To be honest, the brothers wouldn’t have been eating eggplant or tomato. Eggplants are indigenous to India and tomatoes to South America. But, they are popular in Israel now! )
Enjoy, and Shabbat Shalom.
This illustration for the parsha VaYeishev is based on a beautiful panel from the Sarajevo Haggadah. The haggadah was created in 1350 Spain, and has beautiful paintings illustrating the Bible from the story of Creation to the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai. This particular image shows the brothers selling Joseph to Ishmaelite traders. Joseph is portrayed as a young boy begging his brothers not to sell him.
I have created pictures for each haftarah and parsha of the year and am currently working on a book, showcasing each painting. Stay tuned for updates! Please always feel free to comment. Pass the posting to your friends. If you like my blog sign up and “Follow” me. You will receive the current blog by e-mail.