EAT HOLY ∙ Kashrut
get ∙ unstuck
experiments in spiritual mobility
What if something small and relatively painless could change the way you wake up and go to sleep, the way you eat and drive and schmooze and think, the way you relate to your most annoying co-worker and your best friend, the way you see the world? We're willing to bet that if you experiment with one age-old/ completely-new Jewish spiritual practice each month, it might actually change your life. Whether you're a rookie or an old Jewish pro, we'll help you find something that's just uncomfortable enough. You in?
EAT HOLY∙ Kashrut
Based on principles of Jewish eating, this month we challenge you to experiment with one of the following:
Make a distinction. The Torah concludes its lengthy list of prohibited and permitted foods with the command to be holy, because God – who took us from slavery in Egypt - is holy (Lev 11). One of the central principles of kashrut is that holiness emerges through distinction. If you can have everything always, nothing means anything, ever.
For one week this month, make the culinary distinctions traditional Jews have been making for several thousand years, even if they feel archaic and illogical. Avoid eating dairy and meat products together, and go out of your way to avoid eating bacon maple donuts (aka high treif).
Be disciplined: The Jewish eating system is premised on the notion that eating is life-sustaining and therefore has the potential to be immensely meaningful, as long as you pay attention. As AJ Heschel taught, Jewish practice calls us to do more than we understand in order to understand more than we do. It is in disciplined engagement with something greater than ourselves that we find spiritual meaning.
Choose one meal a day in which you’ll be mindful not only of WHAT but also of HOW you eat. Put your fork down between each bite. Take the time to smell and actually taste your food. Chew. A lot. Maybe even 20-40 times for each bite. See what happens.
Experience Gratitude: Thank before you devour. Consider for just a moment: how much had to go right for that pear to land on your plate? The seed, the soil, the sunlight and rain, the person who reached up through the branches to pick the fruit, the one who carried it in the basket on his back, the person who packed it into the truck and the one who got up before the break of dawn to unload the truck and gently place that pear, with hundreds of others, on the shelf - so that you could bring it home and eat it now. 1000 blessings in every bite. Take a moment, before you eat, to say thank you for the many miracles – divine and human – reflected in every single piece of food.
For one week, offer gratitude (a brakhah) before everything you eat.
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