Sauté celery, onion and carrots in oil in a 6-quart pressure cooker, approximately 4 minutes. Add lentils with all the remaining ingredients. Cook at 15 pounds pressure for 40 minutes. [Food editor's note: Even though I am an experienced pressure cooker user, I did not know what this meant. I cooked the soup for 40 minutes with the regulator rocking gently.] Cool cooker quickly according to manufacturer's directions.
In a conventional soup pot, sauté the vegetables in oil until soft and translucent. Add lentils with remaining ingredients and cook over low heat for approximately 2 hours.
Variation: Add 4 sliced kosher franks or 1/2 to 1 cup sliced salami when serving as a meat dish. [Food editors note: I have not tried this.]
This recipe is reprinted with permission from California Kosher: Contemporary and Traditional Jewish Cuisine, the popular cookbook of the Women's League of Adat Ari El Synagogue in North Hollywood, California (latest edition: 1995).