Eating can be a glorious spiritual experience


This week’s parashah, Ekev, speaks of eating; it describes the bountiful land the Israelites are about to enter, “a land of wheat and barley, vines, figs, and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey.” Are you hungry yet?

The parashah continues on and tells us that food will be plentiful, that we shall eat until we are full, and then give thanks to God for what we have been given.

I love food and often marvel at the fact that we Jews mark both joyous and solemn occasions with food.

Therefore, it would seem that eating is an extremely holy act. Certainly the laws of kashrut allude to the holiness of eating, but it is the simple act of blessing our food before and after we eat, that to me elevates the very act of eating to a spiritual level. These two simple tasks require us to be conscious of the act of eating, to in fact celebrate the food we are putting into our bodies. These blessings allow us to also consider the balance between “eating to live and living to eat.” Instead of “wolfing” down our food with no regard to whence it came, we are given an opportunity to slow down and appreciate the food in our midst.

This moment in time also allows us the chance to consider the food in our presence and think about how much of it we truly need to feel satiated.

Food is a sacred gift that many of us all too often take for granted. Next time you sit down to eat even a small “olive sized” snack, stop and say a blessing, acknowledge and appreciate the food you are about to eat. Consider the miracle of that food and how it will help you and make you feel. B’teavon!!!

Rabbi Brigitte Rosenberg of United Hebrew Congregation prepared this week’s Torah Portion.