Shabbat Greetings from Stuart Skolnick – April 12, 2013

Stuart SkolnickAlthough a discussion of Jewish dietary laws was part of last week’s Torah reading, most of us like to eat each day. I know that I do! That means that thinking about Kashrut is a subject for any day, not just on the Shabbat where we read a particular portion from the Torah.  It’s too easy to get bogged down in the various details that we always associate with our dietary laws. I think there’s an overriding principle at work and that can help us keep Kashrut in perspective. As Rabbi Holtz taught about the difference between chametz and matzah at Passover, that principle is time.  In our too-busy lives, Kashrut asks us to slow down before consuming a meal. Putting on the brakes gives us a chance to ask about what it is we are about to eat. Where did it come from? How was it processed? Is that item on our plate good for us to eat? And we now ask all of these questions from an ethical as well as from a ritual or nutritional perspective. How did producing our food affect our planet? How were the workers who harvested our produce treated? Are the processes that are feeding us sustainable? Although our ancestors saw the dietary laws through a different lens, I think that some of these concerns were theirs as well. This most basic but most important part of our daily lives ties us to previous generations. As we sit down to have our Shabbat meals let’s consider all of the factors that make up the meal in front of  us. B’tayavon!  Good appetite and Shabbat Shalom!

Author: Melissa