Hebrew In Israel | Flour – Learn Torah

Solet, Flour in the bible, fine flour

Hebrew In Israel | Flour – Learn Torah

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While preparing for my weekly Tanakh class, I came across a word which had an interesting memory for me.  The word is סלת-Solet, and is associated mostly with Temple service.  In modern Hebrew Solet usually means Semolina, however in the past it probably had a different meaning.  As I have demonstrated in the past, words can change meaning as time progresses.

My short story

Several years ago I was working as a cook, and my boss wanted to do a temple theme in the restaurant.  He wanted to have bread made of Solet, but he though it meant the yellow semolina.  I tried to explain to him the difference between MH and BH, but he wouldn’t listen.  In any case, the idea did not go through.  This story, like many other cases I have had in the past, shows that MH and BH are not exactly the same, and BH requires an expertise.


Word Meaning and Use

The word Solet is found in the Torah in many temple themed texts, and is mentioned in the types of bread used in the temple.

וְלֶחֶם מַצּוֹת, וְחַלֹּת מַצֹּת בְּלוּלֹת בַּשֶּׁמֶן, וּרְקִיקֵי מַצּוֹת, מְשֻׁחִים בַּשָּׁמֶן; סֹלֶת חִטִּים, תַּעֲשֶׂה אֹתָם

“also matzah, matzah cakes mixed with olive oil, and matzah wafers spread with oil — all made from fine wheat flour”  Exodus 29:2

The Solet of the Torah, according to several commentators, was a type of white flour.  The word סלת meant “flour which had gone through a sifter”.  This idea comes from the verbal form סילת-Silut (to sift), which produced a non-whole-grain flour.  The word Solet was also used in different places to indicate a higher quality food.  This is actually well known from the ancient world.  Due to the long process of refining food, it was considered to be a more expensive food used by the rich.


Another Case

A similar case can be found with rice in China.  If memory serves (unfortunately I cannot recall where I read this, but it was part of my culinary training and Archaeology studies), in the past white rice was the more expensive food due to the hard work of removing the shells.  This is probably the same case in the ANE when it came to flour.  If you can take the time to produce a refined substance, and waste some of your food, then you are rich.  Adding the idea that the temple being a place of wealth, might prove that it probably functioned in the same way.


Chacham.A,”Da’at Miqra” Commentary on Exodus

Kedari,M Dictionary of BH


Originally Published: 2 November 2016

One comments


June 3, 2017 at 2:01 pm

Nice! Thank you Yoel. Miss you on talking Torah!

Coming back to Israel beginning of next month with Rabbi singer summer tour. Do you join up with him?

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