Tuesday, March 04, 2008

The Four Kugels

27 of the Twelfth Month 5768

There is a custom to eat eat four kugels on Shabbath Parshath Zakhor: Eppel (apple), Mel (flour), Lukshen (noodle), Kartofel (potato). The first letter of each of the kugels combine to form the name Amaleq YSh"W, corresponding to the qeriyath hamaftir of the day, Deuteronomy 25:17-19.

יז זָכוֹר, אֵת אֲשֶׁר-עָשָׂה לְךָ עֲמָלֵק, בַּדֶּרֶךְ, בְּצֵאתְכֶם מִמִּצְרָיִם יח אֲשֶׁר קָרְךָ בַּדֶּרֶךְ, וַיְזַנֵּב בְּךָ כָּל-הַנֶּחֱשָׁלִים אַחֲרֶיךָ--וְאַתָּה, עָיֵף וְיָגֵעַ; וְלֹא יָרֵא, אֱלֹהִים יט וְהָיָה בְּהָנִיחַ יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ לְךָ מִכָּל-אֹיְבֶיךָ מִסָּבִיב, בָּאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר יְהוָה-אֱלֹהֶיךָ נֹתֵן לְךָ נַחֲלָה לְרִשְׁתָּהּ--תִּמְחֶה אֶת-זֵכֶר עֲמָלֵק, מִתַּחַת הַשָּׁמָיִם; לֹא, תִּשְׁכָּח

17 Remember what Amaleq did unto thee by the way as ye came forth out of Egypt; 18 how he met thee by the way, and smote the hindmost of thee, all that were enfeebled in thy rear, when thou wast faint and weary; and he feared not God. 19 Therefore it shall be, when the LORD thy God hath given thee rest from all thine enemies round about, in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance to possess it, that thou shalt blot out the remembrance of Amaleq from under heaven; thou shalt not forget.

When one eats each of the kugels, one recalls the misswah to destroy Amaleq. I have heard this minhag (custom) attributed to the Kotzker Rebbe, but I am not entirely sure of its origins.

I also heard there was a problem as some claim that Eppel should be spelled with an Alef instead of an Ayin. Others claim that there is a change from one letter to the other when writing the plural form. If you know anything about this custom, its origins, and/or the significance of the Yiddish spelling, please post a comment and link.

My only experiences with this minhag have been in the spirit of silliness common to the month of Adar:

"One must eat a kazayis of each of the kugels, or else one is not yotzei min hahovah," etc.

I even brought back kazaysim of kugles from Jerusalem after Shabbath to my house mate last year, so that he could fulfill this minhag bedi'avad.

I think you get my point.

I have wracked my brains trying to come up with a Hebrew version, combining four ingredients into one dish, for the sake of convenience. For some reason, I have only managed to come up with one possibility, a fruit salad of grapes, melon, lemon (juice), and kiwi, three of which are not even Hebrew words.

(tomatoes) starts with an Ayin, so I was tring to think of something Italian. No luck.

Please list your suggestions in any language below.


mazeartist said...

Why do you spell things with a Q? Amaleq? Yaaqov? What's the story behind this policy?

Esser Agaroth said...

The "Q" is to represent the Qoof, not only to differentiate between it and the Kaf visually, but remind people that the two letters are actually (or should be) pronounced differently.

Typically, people just brush this off, and say "that's how the Iraqim or Teimanim do it,...not me."

Using the Q for Qoof (as they are essentially the same letter), is my way of keeping this alive without being "in your face," answering questions like yours when they are asked.

If nothing else, just as the Qoof and Kaf are represented differently in Hebrew, I represent them differently here. in Latin letters as well. I use TH for the Tav w/o daggesh, and underlined H for Heth.

Sa'adiah HaGaon wrote on the pronunciation of the Hebrew letters, describing the positioning of the mouth. He was a Gaon very close to Eretz Yisrael, familiar with such authentic information.

Avi said...

How about adashim (salt) with salt (melach), bread (lechem) and I can't think of a qoof.

PIRET GIRL said...

"Israeli" :) cous-cous salad

Mix lemon juice, diced tomatoes and cucumbers with cooked cold cous-cous. Season as you like.