Saturday, October 30, 2010

Toldot 5771--Lentil Stew and Dysfunctional Families

Show Notes

Toldot 5771

Suri’s essay, while a commentary on Hayei Sarah is still pertinent to us as we read Toldot.  This was reprinted with her permission.

127 Heirs

Just this week, while sitting in my Advanced Wealth Transfer class, my professor, a Catholic, was relating to the class a case of a Brooklyn family, very wealthy,  who, as a couple, are  permitted by law to give $26,000/per person/per year. The IRS audited this estate because they felt that the $3,302,000 in annual gifts was too great.  The professor then had the task of showing the IRS that this couple had 7 children, and each child had many children, etc. until at this point, this couple had 127 heirs, to whom they were allowed to give $26,000/year tax free.  127 heirs?  How haphazard a number is that, the professor asked the class.

It's a small class, so I responded, it isnt haphazard at all, it is the number of years that Abraham's wife Sarah lived, and the number of Persian provinces over which Queen Esther reigned.  "So, the Professor replied, do you think the couple had this number of heirs purposefully.?"  I replied, "even if it was not the couple's exact intent, it was obviously G-d's intent."  A moment of silence, and we moved on.

There are no coincidences.  That this case came up this week made me pause.  It is midterm week, and the midterm problem was to take the $24mm estate and plan so that it could pass to the heirs estate tax free.

Sarah lived 127 years and each day of each year brought merit to future generations.  After all, she lived most of her life childless, she had no thought of transmitting her merits to her own children, she did it for us, for future children, whom she would never know.  She placed her merits in a Dynasty Trust for us that generations later, it could merit another woman, Esther, who would also sacrifice herself for us.  She reigned over 127 provinces, in the merit of each of Sarah's 127 years.  She gave up her husband Mordechai and her nation and had a child with Achashverosh, who would permit the Jews to return to Eretz Yisrael and rebuild the Temple.

This week's Parshah states that "Hashem Bayrach et Avraham Bakol," that G-d blessed Abraham with it all.  Was it wealth that the parshah was referring to?  No.  It was children.  Finally he had a son who would inherit and take over his Jewish heritage.

As I plugged away at my midterm this week, bothering Jeffrey Rosenberg of Yale Brokerage to provide me life insurance numbers,  I thought of this Orthodox man with $24mm and 127 heirs, and I understood that his wealth was not from the former number, but from the latter number.
Good Shabbos.


Lentil Stew Recipe

Jacob’s Lentil Stew—But you don’t have to sell your birthright to eat it!

(Based on the Mediterranean Lentil-Eggplant Stew from the Sunset International Vegetarian Cookbook)

1 large onion
Olive Oil
Garlic (3-5 cloves)
1 large celery stalk thinly sliced
(You could also use a celery root sliced very thinly)
2 large carrots thinly sliced.
Basil 1-2 tsps
Oregano 1-2 tsps
Cilantro 1-2 tsps.  (better to use a bunch of fresh cilantro)
12 oz red lentils or brown lentils
2 cups water
2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1-1/2 lbs of eggplant cut into ½ inch cubes
1 can (6 oz) tomato paste (optional)
¼ cup red win vinegar
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp salt (optional)
1/8 teaspoon pepper (optional)
1-2 tsp ground cumin (optional)
Chopped parsley

Slice onion and sauté in 4-5 quart pot.  Add in onions, garlic, celery, carrots, basil, oregano and cilantro.  Sauté until onions are translucent and the carrots and celery are partially cooked.  Add the lentils, water and vegetable or chicken stock to the pot and let boil.  When the pot begins to boil, reduce heat to simmer, cover pot and let cook for 1 hour.

While the pot is cooking heat a frying pan and use oil/and/or chicken broth to sauté the eggplant.  You can add in ground cumin and cover the pot until the eggplant is browned and softened.  After 1 hour add eggplant mixture to the lentils and also add the tomato paste, vinegar and/or red wine, cinnamon, salt and pepper.  Continue simmering for about 1 more hour or until the vegetables are tender.  Add more water and/or vegetable stock if the stew starts to stick to the pot.

You can serve this with couscous, quinoa or brown rice for a really hearty meal.

To learn more about Droit de seigneur and/or Primae noctis you can read this quick article at wikipedia.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for sharing in the discussion. Please keep your comments polite, kind and considerate. It will make people more comfortable in joining in on the conversation if they know they can count on respectful consideration of their opinions and feelings.