Divided we stand

20150305_125802In our Jewish world, we have many divisions – there are the self-made ones where I belong to this kind of religiousness or that kind, some of it based on our belief systems, but I honestly think much of it is based on how we grew up, the kind of education we had or now have, and mostly who we hang out with. Then there are the divisions of our family lineage. I was born in Hungary, which makes me an Ashkenazi Jew (well Jewess) – had I married a Sefardi Jew, I would then become Sefardi. Confused yet?? Of course, there’s the differences of sexes – we definitely do not believe men are the same as women, thank G-d – and we do thank G-d for that. But neither do we believe one is inferior to the other, just different. But the most confusing difference is when we celebrate our holidays at different times. Those of us living outside of Walled Cities (like Jerusalem) celebrated last night and today – while those in Jerusalem, started tonight and will continue tomorrow. To me it’s quite confusing, as we go straight from the Fast of Esther into celebrating Purim – makes more sense to me to have it connected. While in J’lm, they have a day’s separation – more time to leisurely prepare for the holiday. but time is a crucial aspect of our holidays – and just makes so little sense to have a full day in between. So how do we celebrate – well, as in mb, food food food – we send each other gifts of food (the above picture is part of what I sent – a grain, a bean and a vegetable – Buckwheat Salad, Lentil Spread and Red Cabbage, Sweet and Sour, German Syle) – and have a celebratory meal. And sadly, I have problems with both. I was reading on a fb site how people are appreciating more and more to receive gifts of food that are real food, not junk – definitely a step in the right direction. I wandered over to our shul to check out the “great” seudah that they were having – what made it great? loads of meat cooked over the fire. OK, it did smell good, but in my heart I knew this wasn’t for me. After the discipline of fasting on Wednesday, it made no sense for me give up my own awareness of what I need to eat to keep me healthy. Yes, it does take discipline to not just put anything into my mouth, and it does take discipline (and time) to cook the good food I love – and yes sometimes it is hard. But every year I practice cooking and eating this food it gets a bit easier. Never 100%, cause you know, we’re human, therefore not perfect. So now we, outside of J’lm are done with our celebrations can clean up and get ready for Shabbos (more food) while we hand over the mantle of partying to our neighbors just a short distance away. But don’t want to leave you with the impression that all we care about is just food for the body – there was much much food for thought as we think about how even today we still have enemies who seek our destruction, how even today it seems we can’t find G-d, but we know He’s there, always in charge, how even today we are often afraid to take the steps we know we must, but we overcome fear and do what we must do. Our holidays are always much more than just food.

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One thought on “Divided we stand

  1. Thanks for putting so clearly about having to think about food before eating. Especially when away from home abroad and eating at restaurants I think about FIVE major (for me) issues. One – is it acceptable to our Jewish dietary laws, Two – to project how it will affect my body, Three – How i will feel after eating and the next day, Four – how to balance the meal using the rhyme “A Grain A Green A Bean and A Soup”, and Five – How to balance the yin and yang of it all. After all these years most of it comes naturally and i am able to choose my menu, sit back and relax. And sometimes I cannot manage all criteria as long as the first is achieved that is ok too.

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