We all grow, but some try to do it with intention. That is, first self-reflect (which may be due to issues going on in one’s life, or just it’s the right time) and then figuring out what’s the next step.
So this is my attempt for taking the next step. I had my first macrobiotic class, just a brief introduction, some time in the 1980’s – but didn’t pursue it. Then in 1995, following the Fit For Life diet, went to a cooking demonstration, only because I was interested in being exposed to more recipes. At the time, I didn’t realize (and may still need to work on realizing it) that I had plenty of cookbooks which I could have used more to my advantage, but perhaps I learn best by actually seeing and tasting. After the demonstration, someone from the audience said she teaches this – I had no real desire for “this” being macrobiotic – it didn’t really mean much to me, again, only wanted to widen my cooking repertoire.
But that series of 10 classes opened a wonderful new world for me – a world that I continue to learn from and use their tools to develop myself.
As for Judaism, I’ve been Jewish all my life – but in a limited way. Living in the diaspora (everywhere but Israel), although I was very proud as a Jew, and to myself thought I practiced much more than the average Jew, it was only after living in Israel have I realized there’s so much more. As in macrobiotics, one can continue to learn and grow, which is what I think is the best part of life.
But sometimes the two loves of my life clashed – and sometimes they merged beautifully.
For this reason and others, I began a support group for macrobiotics in Jerusalem way back in 2003. I learned how to start a yahoo group so that I was able to send messages to all who joined the group – and being a world wide web more people found it and joined.
The group changed over the years – people came and went – and all through the years I continued to write to the group, although my intentions were to have discussions, as I’ve seen on other groups. Lately, it seems to have turned into a sort of teaching thing rather than a sharing thing.
So this is my attempt for change – and see if by blogging I reach others and can go back to sharing.
The focus here will be both Judaism and Macrobiotics – wherever they seem to meet, wherever they seem to go their separate ways.
Today is Tu B’Shvat – years ago it was celebrated mainly by planting trees in Israel – or if one wasn’t in Israel, by giving money to the Jewish National Fund to plant trees in one’s name (or as a gift for someone). Some symbolic dried fruit was eaten, as I understand it, because dried fruit from Israel was easier to ship than fresh.
It has in the last 20 years or so gone way beyond that. Besides eating all kinds of dried fruits (beyond the seven species that are known for Israel http://www.myjewishlearning.com/texts/Bible/Weekly_Torah_Portion/ekev_cn.shtml there are many Tu B’Shvat Seders – where much kabbalistic meaning is given to the fruit http://www.aish.com/h/15sh/ho/48965616.html
But even more so, here in Israel it has become an ecological holiday – which fits wonderfully with macrobiotics. Macrobiotics is not about food or just the individual – it’s about a Great Life – which, of course, each person decides for him/herself what that means. But in the largest sense, it means taking care of the world, which is also Judaism’s value of tikkun ha’olam, fixing the world. Again, that can have many interpretations, from medical advancements, helping the poor, the widowed, the orphans, but the one that’s easy for all to partake in, is using less energy so that the world can continue, being more self-sustaining, using less toxic materials and more natural – and tho it’s not purely mb (the way I will be using for the term macrobiotics), eating lower on the food chain. How one eats to create balance in their own lives, is totally dependent on one’s condition and one’s constitution – so in fact, some people may need to have meat once in a while – but still it would be ideal if that meat can be without all the pesticides and other toxic materials.
The Seder usually includes all kinds of fruits (seeds on the inside, seeds on the outside, etc) and 4 glasses of wine (symbolic meanings of both white and red) which for me doesn’t fit for my mb way of life. Both fruit and wine are considered wide “yin” which is a term meaning expansive energy. The opposite is yang which is considered downward energy. Both are needed for balance – but a lot of fruit along with the wine is a bit much. So I was grateful for those who came to join us in a more balanced mb potluck last night.
Today (Jewish holidays begin at sunset, last night, and continue til the next sunset) I am in the midst of making Christina Pirello’s Mushroom Barley Soup – barley being one of the more important of the 7 species (used for counting the Omer after Pesach). But the irony is that the barley I am using was bought abroad, as we in Israel seem to have a less chewy kind. I believe the one I have is called hulled and the one available in Israel is pearl – but I’m not 100% – if anyone knows, please let me know. http://wholegrainscouncil.org/whole-grains-101/types-of-barley
In the meanwhile, what everyone can do, is go hug a tree – and feel it’s wonderful energy.
Happy Birthday to the Trees – thank G-d for them.