BEANS


BEANS
Ancient Jewish sources refer to several species of beans under the Hebrew name of pol qualified by various epithets. Pol itself is the broad bean (Vicia faba) which was included in the food brought to David's forces by his loyal supporters from Ammon and Gilead (II Sam. 17:28). Its flour was added to the bread that Ezekiel was commanded to eat to symbolize the approaching destruction of Jerusalem (Ezek. 4:9). In mishnaic and talmudic times the broad bean was widely grown, being a cheap food popular especially among the poor (Tosef., BM 3:9; Sof. 21:4) and eaten with or without the husk. Another important plant was the pol ha-miẓri which, identified with the cowpea (Vigna sinensis), is a creeper which grows in summer. In mishnaic times it was highly regarded as a food for human consumption (Ned. 7:1; Shev. 2:8–9) but is now grown as fodder. To the botanical genus Vigna belongs another plant called pol he-ḥaruv which is the legume known as the yard-long bean (Vigna sesquipedalis), its Hebrew name being derived, according to the Jerusalem Talmud (Kil. 1:2, 27a), from the shape of its pods, which resembles that of the carob (ḥaruv). Another variety of the cowpea is called she'u'it (Kil. 1:1); this is the legume Vigna nilotica, which grows wild in Israel climbing river banks, or is sown as fodder. The Mishnah (ibid.) states that it is not a mixed species (kilayim) with pol ha-lavan, the hyacinth bean (Dolichos lablab), the seed of which is used as food. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: Loew, Flora 12 (1924), 492f.; J. Feliks, Olam ha-Ẓome'aḥ ha-Mikra'i (1957), 156–8, 318; idem, Kilei Zera'im (1967), 41–43. (Jehuda Feliks)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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