Blessing the Sea – Issue 6, February 2021 “Food for the Soul”

Above: Spice stand at Mahane Yehuda Market, Jerusalem © Lane Igoudin, 2019
“Whenever possible, avoid eating in a hurry. Even at home, don’t gobble up your food. Eating is an act of holiness. It requires full presence of mind.”
Rabbi Nachman of Breslov (Ukraine, 18th cent.)

  Simple acts of cooking and eating can be special and intimate. Yet, they are often overlooked and hurried. In this issue, I reach into a variety of sources, from Hasidic teachings to Zen cooking instructions to personal experiences at a Thich Nhat Hahn monastery, to see how these essential daily activities can be turned into the opportunities for pleasure, contemplation, and even devotion.
   Jewish food is as diverse as Jewish people. I, for instance, had never heard of, or tasted a challah until I turned 21. It simply wasn’t part of my family cuisine. Now, I like it, I enjoy it, but which challah? There is a crazy variety of challah-like bread used for Shabbat around the world, which is another story this month.
   Concluding this food-themed issue is a scientific miracle of harvesting new dates from the seeds found in archaeological digs in the land of Israel.
   Betey avon!  / Bon appetit!

Returning to What’s True: Mealtime Meditation

The second installation in my new blog series for the Applied Jewish Spirituality institute in Jerusalem discusses spiritual reasons and practical ways to eat mindfully. []

How to Eat an Apple

Vietnamese master Thich Nhat Hahn offers an example of how to enjoy and contemplate eating, even how to chew – mindfully! [ . . . ]  

Cooking One’s Life

There is an old Zen saying: ‘See the pot as your own head, see the water as your lifeblood.” Roshi Bernie Glassman, a former abbot of the Zen Center of Los Angeles, found many metaphors for life in the kitchen. [ . . . ]

A Wonderful World of Challah

In many Jewish cultures around the world, challah is neither braided, nor sweet, nor squishy. Oy! [ . . .]

New Fruit from Extinct Trees

Scientists harvest dates from the excavated seeds of the palm trees that grew in Judea 2,000+ years ago. How deeply symbolic. [ . . . ]

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