Weekly On-line Rabbi's D'var-Torah
June 8, 2023 19 Sivan 5783 Beha'alotecha Just this morning, we celebrated the graduation of the Pre-K students from our ELC. It’s on to Kindergarten for them! After the ceremony, you will probably NOT be surprised to know that we served some food. Among the choices on the buffet table were blintzes. One non-Jewish guest asked me what those delicious things were called. I explained that they are called ‘blintzes,’ but he could call them ‘Jewish crepes’ if he preferred. A second guest – I think she was the grandmother of a graduate – asked me if the blintzes were left over from Shavuot. I assured her that we made fresh ones for the occasion. I can’t speak for either of them, but I think that they both enjoyed their blintzes! As we think about upcoming events on our calendar – a B Mitzvah, Board Installation, Pride Shabbat to name a few – the menu is an important consideration. And we shouldn’t be surprised. Food has played an important role in our tradition from the very beginning. The story of Adam and Eve involves which fruit to eat and which to avoid. Abraham and Sarah fed the angels when they came to announce the arrival of Isaac. And Joseph sent his brothers home from Egypt with more food than they paid for. Now, in this week’s Torah portion, it’s God who’s doing the catering, providing manna and quail for the Israelites to sustain them in the wilderness. In truth, the Biblical stories about food are about more than food. Adam and Eve were supposed to show some restraint and follow the rules. Abraham and Sarah used food to make strangers feel welcome. Joseph used food to reconcile with his brothers. And, in this week’s Torah portion, God was providing for those in need. Today, we use food to express our values as well. We all make careful decisions about the kinds of food we’re going to prepare or procure: comfort food, organic food, processed food, unprocessed food, locally-grown food, vegan food, junk food, gluten-free food, kosher food, etc. The foods we make and the foods we eat say a lot about us. When we welcome people into our homes for a meal or provide food for a food pantry or homeless shelter, we are further using food to express our values. So, when you join us for an event or help plan an event at the synagogue, keep in mind that the food is an important part of the experience. We are hoping that everyone will feel welcome, will follow the rules and will work hard to get along with all kinds of people. We’ll also share some of that food with those in need. In short, we’re hoping to create community. Who knew that a blintz could do so much?! Shalom, RAF.