Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Omer 5768 - Day 3

Today is Tiferet she b'Chesed - a day of compassion in a week of loving kindness.

So many of the Jewish holidays deal with food--what we eat, how we eat, where we eat. There's the old one-liner that is said to sum up most of our commemorations--they tried to get rid of us, we're still here, let's eat. But I think this emphasis on food is one of the reasons Judaism still exists today.

I've thought alot about the Jewish food issue in these past years as I've taken on the practice of eating kosher. It's one more practice that has in its process a continually check in with its effect as I continue on this life path. There are times that I am resentful of the restrictions this practice puts on my eating habits--it seems like a bunch of incomprehensible and outdated rules. But the longer I continue to follow kashrut, the more I realize how it enhances my spiritual practice, my ties to my community, and the way I exist in the world. And all three of those things overlap in the process.

I am mindful of what I eat, where it comes from, how it was made. I try to extend the "kosherness" of a product to include how healthy it is for my body and how its production effects the planet. I feel the connected to all the generations of Jews who came before me, who ate this same way. I feel lucky to be able be a part of the generation that can share the foods of different lands that were made the Jews who settled in various lands around the world.

But most importantly, I think, I learn that there are always choices to be made in your life--choices that are not always what I want to do but what I need to do. And maybe having to make those choices when they are more simple, such as in what kind of food to eat, will help me when the more difficult choices have to be made.

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