Today’s reading, from Joshua, concerns a second river crossing when the river stops flowing to allow the Israelites to cross, carrying the Arc of the Covenant. According to this reading, there should be a stone memorial somewhere in that area – I wonder if any remnants have ever been found? I wonder if the river has changed course (rivers do) and whether the memorial (assuming it exists, recognized or unrecognized) is now in Israel, or in Jordan?
14 When the people set out from their tents to cross over the Jordan, the priests bearing the ark of the covenant were in front of the people. 15Now the Jordan overflows all its banks throughout the time of harvest. So when those who bore the ark had come to the Jordan, and the feet of the priests bearing the ark were dipped in the edge of the water, 16the waters flowing from above stood still, rising up in a single heap far off at Adam, the city that is beside Zarethan, while those flowing towards the sea of the Arabah, the Dead Sea,* were wholly cut off. Then the people crossed over opposite Jericho. 17While all Israel were crossing over on dry ground, the priests who bore the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan, until the entire nation finished crossing over the Jordan.
4When the entire nation had finished crossing over the Jordan, the Lord said to Joshua: 2‘Select twelve men from the people, one from each tribe, 3and command them, “Take twelve stones from here out of the middle of the Jordan, from the place where the priests’ feet stood, carry them over with you, and lay them down in the place where you camp tonight.” ’ 4Then Joshua summoned the twelve men from the Israelites, whom he had appointed, one from each tribe. 5Joshua said to them, ‘Pass on before the ark of the Lord your God into the middle of the Jordan, and each of you take up a stone on his shoulder, one for each of the tribes of the Israelites, 6so that this may be a sign among you. When your children ask in time to come, “What do those stones mean to you?” 7then you shall tell them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off in front of the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it crossed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. So these stones shall be to the Israelites a memorial for ever.’
There are some advantages to being in Kuwait in the dead heat of summer. One is that even in peak driving time, the roads are far less crowded. Restaurants are less crowded. Shops are full of all the things that go missing when the entire population is in town.
And – if you are here in July, and if you have good Kuwaiti friends with date trees – you get a big bowl of fresh, sweet DATES!
These are unbelievably yummy. I always liked dates, but until we moved to Tunisia, I didn’t know the pure joy of fresh dates. Living in Kuwait when the first dates of the season start ripening – pure bliss.
No, my Kuwaiti friends are very generous, they gave me a great big plate of dates, it’s just I’ve already eaten most of them! I had to take a photo quickly, before I ate the few remaining!
I went to Wikipedia on Date Palms to discover there are countless varieties of dates. They give this lengthy list of dates, and then say that in Iraq there are more than 100 different dates cultivated:
Aabel – common in Libya
Ajwah – from the town of ‘Ajwah in Saudi Arabia, it is the subject of a famous hadith of the prophet Muhammad.
Al-Barakah – from Saudi Arabia
Amir Hajj or ‘Amer Hajj’ – from Iraq, these are soft with a thin skin and thick flesh, sometimes called “the visitor’s date” because it is a delicacy served to guests.
‘Abid Rahim (Arabic: عبد رحيم), from Sudan
Barakawi (Arabic: بركاوي), from Sudan
Barhee or (barhi) (from Arabic barh, a hot wind) – these are nearly cylindrical, light amber to dark brown when ripe; soft, with thick flesh and rich flavour. One of the few varieties which are good in the khalal stage when they are yellow (like a fresh grape as opposed to dry, like a raisin).
Bireir (Arabic: برير) – from Sudan
Deglet Noor (Arabic: ‘translucent’ or ‘date of light’) – so named because the centre appears light or golden when held up to the sun. This is a leading date in Algeria, the USA, and Tunisia, and in the latter country it is grown in inland oases and is the chief export cultivar. It is semi-dry and not very sweet.
Derrie or ‘Dayri’ (the ‘Monastery’ date) – from southern Iraq – these are long, slender, nearly black, and soft.
Empress – developed by the Deval Family in Indio California USA from a seedling of ‘Deglet Noor’. It is larger than ‘Deglet Noor’, somewhat softer and sweeter. It generally has a light tan top half and brown bottom half.
Ftimi or ‘Alligue’ – these are grown in inland oases of Tunisia.
Holwah (Halawi) (Arabic: ‘sweet’) – these are soft, and extremely sweet, small to medium in size.
Haleema – in Hoon, Libya (Haleema is a woman’s name)
Hayany – from Egypt (Hayani) (Hayany is a man’s name) – these dates are dark-red to nearly black and soft.
Iteema – common in Algeria
Kajur – common in Pakistan / India
Kenta – common in Tunisia
Khadrawi date / Khadrawy (Arabic: ‘green’) – a cultivar favoured by many Arabs, it is a soft, very dark date.
Khalasah (Arabic: ‘quintessence’) – one of the most famous palm cultivars in Saudi Arabia, famous for its sweetness level that is not high nor low, thus, suits most people. Its fruit is called ‘Khlas’. Its famous place is ‘Huffuf’ (Al-Ahsa) in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia (Al-Sharqheyah).
Khastawi (Khusatawi, Kustawy) – this is the leading soft date in Iraq; it is syrupy and small in size, prized for dessert.
Maktoom (Arabic: ‘hidden’) – this is a large, red-brown, thick-skinned, soft, medium-sweet date.
Manakbir – a large fruit which ripens early.
Medjool or (Mujhoolah) (Arabic: ‘unknown’) – from Morocco, also grown in the USA, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Israel; a large, sweet and succulent date. It is named unknown because who owned it at first didn’t know its specie and thus called it unknown.
Migraf (Mejraf) – very popular in Southern Yemen, these are large, golden-amber dates.
Mgmaget Ayuob – from Hoon, Libya
Mishriq (Arabic: ‘East’ – مشرق) – from Sudan and Saudi Arabia
Nabtat-seyf – in Saudi Arabia.
Rodab – from Iran, they are dark and soft.
Sag‘ai – from Saudi Arabia.
Saidy (Saidi) – soft, very sweet, these are popular in Libya.
Sayer (Sayir) (Arabic: ‘common’) – these dates are dark orange-brown, of medium size, soft and syrupy.
Sekkeri – (lit. sugary) Dark brown skin; distinctly sweet and soft flesh, from Saudi Arabia.
Sellaj – in Saudi Arabia.
Tagyat – common in Libya.
Tamej – in Libya.
Thoory (Thuri) – popular in Algeria, this dry date is brown-red when cured with a bluish bloom and very wrinkled skin. Its flesh is sometimes hard and brittle but the flavour described as sweet and nutty.
Umeljwary – in Libya.
Umelkhashab – Brilliant red skin; bittersweet, hard white flesh (Saudi Arabia).
Zahidi (Arabic: ‘[Of the] ascetic’) – these medium size, cylindrical, light golden-brown semi-dry dates are very sugary, and sold as soft, medium-hard and hard.
I am sure you have noticed that I have not been taking any sunrise photos lately; one problem with summer is that the sunrises tend to go flat. There may be no horizon, there may be dust and haze, or one sunrise just looks exactly like the day before.
Not this morning! This morning, the Gulf had alternate patches of glass and wave activity, making for an unusually reflective and glorious sunrise: