Thursday, June 10, 2004

Parshat Behaalotcha #6: The Manna, on the other hand

Bamidbar 11:7
וְהַמָּן, כִּזְרַע-גַּד הוּא; וְעֵינוֹ, כְּעֵין הַבְּדֹלַח.
"Now the manna was like coriander seed, and the appearance thereof as the appearance of bdellium."

Coriander seed:

and the coriander plant looks like this:


[Update: as per Eliyahu's suggestion - please note that I am just relying here on the JPS translation, for the purpose of making a cute point. I am not trying to specifically identify the words in the pasuk as specific fish, melons, onions, leeks, garlic, bdellium, or coriander seed.]

Update: Assuming the identification above is correct, then guggul resin, which is the sap that comes from the above branches, looks like this:

Courtesy of this website.


Anonymous said...

I looked at Wikipedia's coverage of bdellium and I think that the translation is referring to the milky sap exuded by the tree, not to whatever herb you have in that picture.

joshwaxman said...

the herb in the picture is actually the tree or shrub mentioned in the Wikipedia article (or at least one of them -- follow the link above the picture):

"English Name: Indian Bdellium Tree
Sanskrit / Indian Name: Guggulu

It is a small tree or shrub with spinescent branches.

Its gum resin has astringent, antiseptic and antisuppurative properties and is used in the treatment of hemorrhoids. It is excreted by the mucous membranes of the body, in the course of which it stimulates and disinfects their secretions. It also contains guggulsterones Z and E, guggulsterols I - V, two diterperoids-a terpene hydrocarbon named cembrane A."

It would be better if we could get a picture of the white sap which is exuded.


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