Today, August 25th, is the anonymously anointed “Kiss and Make Up Day.” Perhaps it is related to August 27th –“Global Forgiveness Day.” These modern “holidays” have little historic meaning, but Jewish Treats would be remiss in not noting that, in most years, the end of August is within the Hebrew month of Elul. (This year, Elul begins on August 31st.)
All natural produce in its original form is kosher — including fruits, vegetables, nuts and grains. Once anything is processed — such as frozen foods, canned goods, repackaged goods, juices, etc., supervision is required. Processing raises many questions, such as: Are the processing machines ever used for non-kosher foodstuffs (e.g. lard on machines to keep things running smoothly is a common problem)?
One of the most ancient cities in the land of Israel, Hebron is mentioned in the Bible as the location of the Cave of the Patriarchs (Me’arat Ha’mach’pelah), which Abraham purchased as Sarah’s burial site. Furthermore, at the time of the conquest of the Promised Land, Hebron is specifically singled out: “They gave Hebron to Caleb”(Joshua 1:20).
The Book of Ecclesiastes frequently repeats the theme of, “There is nothing new under the sun.” For King Solomon, the composer of Ecclesiastes, this focus was intended to inspire people to do good and to stop looking for new experiences. There is nothing new under the sun because God created the universe and nothing is new to Him.
Twenty-first century medical technology has a pill for nearly every illness and ache. Even those who prefer alternative medicines often purchase their cures in liquid or pill form. Most people today have no familiarity with the potential medicinal cures found in their local gardens.
Until recently, the repercussions of converting to Judaism meant more than just renouncing one’s previous religious beliefs. More often than not, a person who converted to Judaism also cut off ties with his/her family (and in many cases the family sought his/her arrest and punishment). Additionally, converts were often forced to forfeit any personal wealth that they might possess. This was a challenge for which the Torah was well prepared. Scripture, in Deuteronomy 10:18, states that God “loves the stranger, giving him food and clothing.” Throughout the Torah, the Jewish people are reminded of the importance of being kind to converts (and widows and orphans). Throughout history, communities often took it upon themselves to help converts support themselves.
The case of Leo Frank is incredibly disturbing.
The Jewish view on healing is that while all healing is in God’s power, the Almighty works His will through human hands. This being the case, it is interesting to note the tone of rebuke in the case recorded in II Chronicles 16:12: “In the 39th year of his reign, Asa was diseased in his feet; his disease was exceeding great; yet in his disease he did not seek God, but [went] to the physicians.” Asa, the third monarch of the Kingdom of Judah, was a righteous king who waged war against idolatry. As a known righteous man, why did he not pray for healing?
Tu B’Av (The Fifteenth of Av) is no longer the well-known holiday on the Jewish calendar that it was in ancient times. In fact, in Talmudic times it was said: “There were no holidays so joyous for the Jewish People as the Fifteenth of Av…” (Ta’anit 26b).
Giving an appropriate gift to a host or hostess is the topic of many an etiquette column. But when one is invited to a Shabbat meal, not just any gift will do.