Beloved - like the raisin. Illustration: Nadav Yahal
Beloved - like the raisin. Illustration: Nadav Yahal

Beloved – like the raisin

A Yemeni proverb that means: beloved - like the raisin

In our modern times, you certainly couldn’t claim comparing one’s beloved to a dried fruit would be considered the height of romance (Al-Habib – Saa Al-Zabib literally translates to “beloved- like the raisin), but in Yemen – a country where sweets were hardly eaten – raisins were a favorite delicacy for dessert, and had medicinal properties attributed to them (and there is even a Yemenite family name after them!). Yemenite Jews used these raisins, known for their quality, to make wine for Kiddush, Raisin Arak and a sweet mesra (from black or yellow raisins). On the night of the Yemeni Passover seder, raisins star in the traditional charoset (dukah), and they have a place of honor in Jaala – a Yemeni tradition that includes gathering around a table full of crackers, fruits and drinks (hence the name of the popular Yemeni cracker mixture, which is added to various foods).

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