Friday, April 1, 2016

Parshat Shemini, 6th Portion, Leviticus 11:1-32, April 1, 2016

Why do the Jews have special rules?

Why did God make animals not fit for eating?

Ok... I don't know what to say about food. My arm hurts from a recent surgery and I'd just like to take a pain pill and go to bed.

I've never kept kosher a day in my life, and most of the last 25 years I've been a vegan, which means I essentially ate a kosher diet without being kosher, for my intent was not to separate myself from gentiles (non-Jews), but not to eat meat or dairy for a variety of reasons. Now I'm eating meat... just until I get to remove my sling. I had a feeling that meat would make my arm heal faster.

Food has been an obsession in my life, from one list of eating rules to another. I remember calling my grandmother from college and her first question was, “what are you eating?” When I said, "Brown rice and peaches," she told me that was wrong. My mom was obscessed with food as well and didn't miss a new fad diet.

The other day I offered to get a carpenter some tacos and I was so surprised that he said, "I'll eat anything."

Does my food pickyness come from my Jewish heritage?

Where I'm mostly interested in thought, much of my life seems tied up in caring for my body. How do these two connect? 

When the body doesn't function then the mind can't do its job. Socrates thought death would be ideal for the philosopher because the desires of the body take one away from their thoughts.

We don't eat birds like the vulture because they are scavengers. They might have eaten anything. We sometimes think that the dietary laws make logical sense. Many don't, especially considering the medical knowledge of the day.

The meal in Judaism is special and the Torah should always be discussed (when I try, I often see eyes roll). The selection of food is a means to separate the Jews from others (for better or for worse). It is also a means of being mindful about the feeding of the body. As an extension of this, one might become mindful of their care of the Earth, which feeds us as well. 

I will continue about food as more discussion continues in the Torah about the kosher laws.

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