Pumpkin Kibbeh

Last night after presanctified liturgy we had the latest installment in our series of local celebrity chefs doing a cooking demonstration for us.  First, some background: There is a tradition of having potluck meals after these evening liturgies.  When I came to Marlborough I realized there hadn’t been a Wednesday night lenten liturgy in a while.  I didn’t want to saddle everyone with six straight potlucks, so I decided to alternate them with lenten cooking demos.  We always have fun – the chefs give freely of their time and food, everyone enjoys it and learns something, and we eat well and see a side of the chef’s personality that we may not see in everyday life.  Last night Miriam Hyder from Ed Hyder’s Mediterranean Marketplace kicked off this year’s series, and it was awesome.  Miriam made pumpkin kibbeh, a vegan variation on the traditional meat dish.  Everyone had a great time and enjoyed the food – pictures will soon be up on the church website.  A nice bonus was having Miriam’s mother Edna on board to help out.  Edna and I are both from the same hometown, so we enjoyed reminiscing.  The recipe is below.  If you wish to make it gluten or grain-free, you can substitute quinoa for the bulgur.

 

Pumpkin Kibbeh
Preheat oven to 400. Grease 9 X 13 Pyrex
1.5 cups fine bulghur
2 15oz cans pumpkin puree
1 can chicpeas
1/2 cup flour
1 medium onion, chopped
1t salt X 2
1/2 t black pepper & 1 t black pepper
1t cumin
1T Sumac
1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 cup Water
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup walnuts
olive oil
4-6 cups spinach, or leafy greens
Soak bulghur in very hot water for 20 minutes. Drain in mesh colander, squeezing out extra liquid. In a mixing bowl, combine bulghur, pumpkin, flour, water, salt, 1/2t black pepper, cumin.

Heat olive oil in a pan. Saute onions for a few minutes, before adding chicpeas. Sprinkle spices (Sumac, Black pepper, Cinnamon, Salt) over this mixture. Stir, mixing spices throughout. Add spinach (or other greens.) Once wilted, add raisins and walnuts. Mix. Take off heat and pour contents into a bowl.
Use half of the pumpkin/blughur mixture to evenly line the bottom of the pyrex. use spatula to distribute. Evenly spread “stuffing” (chicpea, onion mixture) over. Lay down third layer, using remaining pumpkin/bulghur mixture.
Use knife to cut halfway down to give kibbee desired shaped pieces. Brush top with olive oil. Bake for 40 minutes, or until you reach desired crispness.

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March 31st, 2016 by Fr. Greg

A Titled Post

After logging on tonight I noticed my last post – about the most common words in the Hebrew Old Testament – was untitled.  We will let that anomaly remain unedited.  Today we will finish with the 6-10th most common words in the Hebrew scriptures.  I would have posted yesterday but I left the flashcards which inspired this in my office.  So…

6) Min – from or out of – is the 6th most common word in the Hebrew OT and appears 7, 592 times.  In Semitic languages the words for from and who are pretty much the same with usually just the verb – which is flexible in Semitic languages – changing.  In Arabic min means from and men means who – in Hebrew we have min as from and mi-, with the weak n sound dropped, as who.  Young scholar Gabrielle Russo suggests that the sameness of the words comes from the fact that in ancient Near East society your identity was so tied into the area from where your family originated.

7) ‘al – on or upon – clocks in at number 7 with 5, 777 occurrences.  This otherwise unexciting preposition lives on in the name of the Biblical priest Eli as well as the common Islamic name Ali, meaning elevated.  All of these words begin not with an a sound but with the voiced pharyngeal fricative ‘ayin, a consonant that is very difficult for non-native speakers to pronounce.

8) Appearing 5,518 times is the preposition el, which means to or toward and is clearly a variant of le which we examined above.

9) ‘ashar appears 5,503 times and is an indeclinable relative pronoun.  There may be a connection with the word for happy, which shares the same tri-consonantal root, but again that is for another article.

10) Rounding out our top 10 occurring Hebrew words is kol, which means all or every and is common in Semitic languages.  If you come to liturgy at Sts. Anargyroi you will hear it during the Great Entrance, when after the Greek and before the English I proclaim “‘al ‘ana wa kulla ‘awanin” – literally now and all nows, meaning forever.

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March 23rd, 2016 by Fr. Greg

Tonight at the church is, as mentioned in the previous post, Bible Boot Camp.  In preparing for my presentation I brought out my Old Testament Hebrew vocab card set.  I’ve never actually used these – I bought them long after I took my last Hebrew class, but when you are into languages you tend to collect these things.  The cards are numbered from 1-1000 and on the back of each is a number saying how many times the word occurs in the Hebrew scriptures.  Cards 1-979 are every word that occurs 30 times or more except for proper names.  Cards 980-1000 are words occurring less than 30 times and select proper names.  So it doesn’t include every single word (and remember that many Hebrew words are built off of each other due to the root system – words meaning liver, heavy, and glory all come from the roots k-b-d, for example) as many proper names are left out and there are words that appear only a few times or once that aren’t included (such as the word for gopher wood – the wood of Noah’s ark).  This also explains the neat round number of 1000 cards.  So what are the top ten most frequently used words in the Hebrew Old Testament?

1) The most used word, at a count of 50,524, is we, a conjunction that primarily means and.  It is an enclitic, which means it never stands alone and always attaches to the following word.  Its appearance at the top of the list is a bit deceiving, though; in Semitic languages there is no concept of commas like we have when listing things.  It is proper in Semitic languages to say something like “I saw the bird and the dog and the cow and the eagle” and on and on.

2) Coming at number 2 is ha, the definite article (and also enclitic), with 24,058 appearances, less than half of the word for and.  In its primeval form, ha likely had a lamed at the end, making it hal.  This makes it easy to see how it is cognate with the Arabic definite article ‘al.

3) At third we have another enclitic – there will be more – with le, which appears 20,321 times.  Le is a preposition meaning to or for.  It is a very useful word, but that is about the extent of the story.

4) Be (and please note there are no capital or lowercase letters in Hebrew) -is much like le – a preposition, this time meaning in or at.  It can also mean with but in an instrument sense and its use in this form is very idiomatic. Be appears 15,559 times.

5) The fifth most common word in Biblical Hebrew…well, it isn’t actually a word.  Eth appears 10,978 times and it is used as a definite direct object marker and always left untranslated.  The reason such a thing exists is that in Hebrew sentence order is fluid and vowels are not written, so sometimes it can be confusing to know what is the direct object of a sentence.  The marker removes most all ambiguity.  Also, case markers do not exist in Biblical Hebrew, although the “u” in the name Samuel may signify a case marker from an older form that was left in the word – that is a subject for a future article.

Words 6-10 up next!

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March 21st, 2016 by Fr. Greg

Long Day/Yup, He’s Orthodox Part II

Today has been a long day – we had service in the morning with the traditional procession of icons for the Sunday of Orthodoxy – check out photos here – as well as our March 25 Greek School program during coffee hour.  This evening I joined all of the local Orthodox priests for a vespers service.  Among all of this, today was the feast of St. Cuthbert the Wonderworker – read his story here.

Cuthbert – the “bert” part of his name is cognate with “bright” – is, let’s just say, not a common Orthodox name, although it is well represented as an English last name – think of the popular Canadian actress Elisha Cuthbert.  The saint’s commemoration today, though, reminds us that there are tons of saints that we don’t think of as part of our Orthodox tradition because they aren’t from the eastern Mediterranean or Russia.  There is much value in exploring the lives of saints such as Patrick, Brigid, Kenneth, and Cuthbert.

Onto tomorrow!  We will be having Bible Boot Camp at 19:00 hours.  Dismissed!

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March 20th, 2016 by Fr. Greg

Archpastoral Reflection

Below is a reflection from His Eminence Metropolitan Methodios on the refugee crisis and Greece.  You can read the original here.

Daily, those of us who have access to Greek television broadcasts are horrified by the unspeakable human tragedy occurring in Greece. It is reported that over 100,000 refugees from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and other Muslim countries – ravaged by war and internal strife – have been forced to leave their homelands in search for a better life in Europe. As many as 4,000 brethren – many children in the arms of their parents! – have died a horrific death, drowning in the cold waters of the Aegean Sea on their way to what they hoped would be a new life, a new beginning. Those who miraculously managed to survive are now trapped in Greece, forced to endure the winter months sleeping outdoors – in the mud! – because many countries in the European Union have closed their borders. Greece, dealing with its own economic disaster, is left alone to deal with this monumental humanitarian tragedy. Let us recognize Christ Himself in the person of every suffering refugee who is a stranger in a foreign land – naked, hungry, and thirsty love and care. Let us seek out ways to offer our assistance. As we continue our Lenten Journey, let us remember the words of our Savior, treasured in the 25th chapter of the Gospel according to Matthew: “As you did it to one of these the least my brethren, you did it to me” (Mt 25:40).

Let us remember in our prayers the countless Christians crucified and beheaded because they refused to renounce their faith in Jesus Christ. Let us pray for the repose of those Bishops, Priests, and devout laymen – victims of a modern day genocide – whose blood soaks the ground where Christianity flourished for thousands of years.

Let us clasp the hand of another, and another, and another, until all humanity stands united as brothers and sisters in the household of God, praising His almighty and majestic name.

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March 18th, 2016 by Fr. Greg

Yup, He’s Orthodox

Today is St. Patrick’s Day – a huge secular feast day in America, and one that has huge religious roots.  It is seen as an Irish-based holiday, and indeed most all of the people I encountered today here in the heart of Massachusetts had green on (and I was on pinch patrol).  On Facebook today someone posted an article entitled “YES he’s Orthodox and NO he’s not Irish!”.  Well, yes on the first and, I would argue, no on the second part.  St. Patrick is indeed an Orthodox saint (and a great bridge between our faith and American culture).  He is, like many others, a western saint who lived before the great schism – a period of a thousand years shared by the west and east.  While St. Patrick was not ethnically Irish, he made the country his home and became one of the people – like coming to American, buying into the program, and becoming American.  His Eminence Metropolitan Savas has shared a great article on what food St. Patrick likely would have had at a feast.  Here is a hint – it is likely not like the local pub’s St. Paddy’s day special.

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March 17th, 2016 by Fr. Greg

Raven

In my article for next month’s Sofia – our parish’s monthly ‘zine, I give a mention to animals considered unclean in the Old Testament and mention the raven, which acted as God’s servant in feeding Elijah.  The word of the month in my article is on the etymology of raven.  Here is an excerpt:

The raven, mentioned above in the context of animals considered unclean to eat by the Israelites, is famous in our modern society for two reasons – Edgar Allan Poe’s poem The Raven and the Baltimore professional football team, the relocated Cleveland Browns nicknamed the Ravens after Poe’s connection to Baltimore.  The origin of the word raven is intricately linked with that of the crow – the two birds are both taxonomically and etymologically related.  Crow in ancient Greek is koroni (whence crow), and the words for handle and curved in Greek come from the same root, probably due to the shape of the bird’s beak.  Koroni is related to korax, which is the word for raven.  In Latin this became corvus, in Anglo-Saxon hrafn, which became raven.  Another related word is the English hroc which became rook.  We think of a rook as a chess piece but it is also a word for an English yardbird.

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March 16th, 2016 by Fr. Greg