A Series on Food and Eating II: Sacred Foods

Standing on a ladder, up in a tree dripping with Bing Sweet cherries, I select a prime cherry to pick and eat. All cherries are not created equal, my taste buds tell me. Cherries that grow in sunlight have a higher sugar content and are more delicious.
Human beings give food status. We think food gives us status. However, the status-giving-habit comes with complications. Preparing food, and dining, become tricky when vegetarians, omnivores, and dieters get together. Rating and ranking food can create picky eaters, food snobs, or healthier eating. Food can also interject complexities into our daily life.
Last night I watched a movie titled, Ushpizin (2005). The story line was staged during a Jewish 8-day Harvest Holiday. One particular food item—the citron—was held in high-esteem to main character, Moshe, a man practicing the Orthodox Jewish religion. Citron is one of the Four Species used while reciting blessings during Sukkot.
In the film, Moshe paid an exorbitant amount of money for one unblemished citron which he kept safely in a box on the shelf. Moshe’s faith in God’s blessings was so tightly knit to this symbol, that he went ballistic when he discovered his guest had used it as a regular lemon to add flavor to a salad. However, advice from the Rabbi convinced Moshe to simmer down and dissolve his anger, which he did. Moshe realized, the citron wasn’t sacred but his trust in God was. Moshe was then able to disattach spiritual faith from the symbol and rely on God for his blessing. He lived what the patriarch Abraham lived. From 21st Century Science and Health, “[Abraham] illustrated the purpose of Love to create trust in good.”
Food will always have status because it is a symbol. Food and eating can be used to represent spiritual satisfaction, self-discipline, gratitude, and humility. However, the food is not indissolubly attached to the spiritual. We have self-control and satisfaction because they come from God, good. Not ourselves, not food. Until human beings better understand that food is created equal, we can appreciate, learn about, and treat food appropriately as we illustrate our trust in good.

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One thought on “A Series on Food and Eating II: Sacred Foods

  1. […] for many is all mixed up with emotions and thoughts. Meals are often the fun, relaxing parts of one’s day, often the few moments of connecting with […]

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