Let’s Talk about Pumpkin. Are gourds in the Tanach/ Bible? The answer is a resounding Yes! Gourds were used in the Holy Temple Design by King Solomon Kings 6:18-20 The inside of the temple was cedar, carved with gourds and open flowers. Everything was cedar; no stone was to be seen. He prepared the inner sanctuary within the temple to set the ark of the covenant of the L-rd there.I Kings 7:23-26 He made the Sea (Laver of water) of cast metal, circular in shape, measuring ten cubits from rim to rim and five cubits high. It took a line of thirty cubits to measure around it. Below the rim, gourds encircled it—ten to a cubit. The gourds were cast in two rows in one piece with the Sea.
The Sea stood on twelve bulls, three facing north, three facing west, three facing south and three facing east. The Sea rested on top of them, and their hindquarters were toward the center. It was a handbreadth in thickness, and its rim was like the rim of a cup, like a lily blossom. It held two thousand baths. Interestingly, in the Middle East those who could not afford a drinking cup made of silver, clay, etc. would often use seasonal growing gourds to drink from thus may be the reason gourds were used in the design of Temple’s vessels.
The Gourd was often used during the fall season and holidays. Some were used for food and decorated especially for the occasion of holidays. The inner parts of gourds were made into a stew and the outer shell was used to drink seasonal wines and to hold honey and fruits. Also used as plates and bowls as well as musical instruments.
There are some Roman documents that say Israelites used large gourds as beehive boxes to pollinate their fruit trees. (See Mishnah texts Sheviit 1:7 in Talmud)In both the Torah and the Talmud we see in the ancient times of the Holy Temple Gourds were treated much like tree saplings and were very important to the Holy Land and its agriculture. It is documented that Rabban Shimon ben Gamaliel says: if there are ten gourds in the bet seah they may plow the whole bet seah until Rosh Hashanah.
According to Rabban Shimon ben Gamaliel, gourd plants are treated just like saplings. Thus if there are ten gourd plants, the whole field may be plowed all the way up until Rosh Hashanah. Saplings and gourds are counted together within the space of a bet seah. If there is a combination of ten saplings and gourd plants then they may plow the entire field. There are two caveats that the Talmud adds. First of all, these must be large gourd plants, large enough to justify needing to plow large plots of land to take care of them. Secondly, there must be more saplings than gourd plants, for instance, six saplings and four gourds.
But Rabbi Joshua says: until they are seven years old. Rabbi Joshua says that the tree must be seven years old before it is no longer a sapling. The Tosefta explains that this refers to olive trees, which take longer to mature. Fig trees are saplings until they are six, whereas grapevines and gourd vines are saplings until it is five years old. According to the Missouri Botanical Garden, squash, gourds, and pumpkins are all part of the Cucurbitaceae family so let’s give G-d’s creation of the pumpkin gourds some respect.
These plants served a higher purpose such as shade as we see in the story of Jonah and we see its use in the Holy Temple and it was obviously something that was in the local cuisine as well. Pumpkin seed oil is great for hair care, skin care, food supplements, relaxing, easing tired tight muscles and joints, anxiety, stress relieving and lowering body inflammation, and increasing circulation.
So the pumpkin is not about Halloween its about health, diet, and more. Before you decide to throw out that pumpkin break it open in a wooded area where animals roam and let deer, rabbits, birds etc. eat it if you use it only for decorations. Waste nothing! What is your favorite Pumpkin recipe? Here’s Mine!
- 2 lb. pumpkin (kabocha, or butternut squash)
- 1 lb. sweet potatoes
- 4 cloves garlic(peeled)
- 3 Tbsp. olive oil (divided)
- Kosher salt
- Ground black pepper (Freshly)
- 1 shallot(chopped)
- 2 tsp. ginger(freshly grated)
- 3 Tbsp. Kosher Organic red or yellow miso(or mellow white, gluten-free if necessary)
- 6 cups vegetable stock
- 2 Tbsp. chives /scallons chopped
- 1/2 tsp. black and/or white sesame seeds
- cook on medium heat for 35 mins
- Serve with a sprinkle of chives and a dash of Israeli paprika
Great soup for dining in the Sukkah