Tuesday, March 20, 2007


Well, I'm back from my trip, and it's almost Pesach, so time to get rid of the chametz.

Let's look at semolina, the coarse flour used to make cream of wheat and couscous.

The Online Etymology Dictionary provides the following etymology:

alteration of It. semolino, dim. of semola "bran," from L. simila "the finest flour," probably from the same Semitic source as Gk. semidalis "the finest flour" (cf. Assyrian samidu, Syrian semida "fine meal")

We find reference to a fine flour called semida סמידא in the Talmud (Pesachim 74b, Shabbat 110b, Moed Katan 28a). Semida is the Targum Yonatan translation for solet סולת - also meaning "fine flour".

However, it should be noted that Steinsaltz, Ben-Yehuda and maybe even Jastrow say that the Aramaic derives from the Greek instead of the other way around.

No comments: