Leek

LEEK (חָצִיר, H2945). Mentioned only in Numbers 11:5; “the leeks, the onions.” This was a vegetable the children of Israel missed on their trek to the Promised Land. חָצִיר, H2945, occurs several times, but only once is tr. “leek” (see Grass and Herb).

Leeks always have been considered important vegetables. In Saxon times in England, a vegetable garden was called a “leac tun.” Leeks have a slight medicinal value.

Can it be that the vegetable or salad that was missed so much was really Fenugreek, which was sold in Egyp. markets in bundles?

The leek is Allium porrum, and the Fenugreek is Trigonella foenumgra cum. Both were grown in Egypt, and both were eaten. The writer thinks that ḥaṩîr, here should be tr. “Fenugreek,” a kind of green clover. In Cairo today, this salad plant is bought as “Halbeh.” As Israelis are fond of leeks today, this—because Hebrews are conservative in their eating—indicates that the plant may have been the leek, regarded as an herb.