Presentation on theme: "INTRODUCTION TO JUDAISM USE RIGHT OR LEFT ARROWS TO GO FORWARD OR BACK Making Jewish Choices for Living Unit 7, session 2 Using Kashrut as an example Rabbi."— Presentation transcript:
INTRODUCTION TO JUDAISM USE RIGHT OR LEFT ARROWS TO GO FORWARD OR BACK Making Jewish Choices for Living Unit 7, session 2 Using Kashrut as an example Rabbi Jonathan Keren-Black Leo Baeck Centre, East Kew Revised for Intro Course 2013/5774
A reminder... Educated Choice Progressive Judaism tends to see Judaism as traditions, customs and guidelines rather than law. Therefore we are not really a 'halahic' movement. We uniquely encourage and emphasise EDUCATED CHOICE (note For those who choose in the prayer book, eg page 10, bottom). Learn and understand what the traditions are and what they are about - try them - then decide for yourselves if they help bring God into your life.
An Example - Kashrut 'Kosher' actually means 'suitable for purpose' (eg a Torah scroll or a Mezuzah should be kosher). Most usually today it is used to refer to food. Is it important? How does what and how we eat affect who we are? Does it link us to other Jews? Kashrut may be about health, respect and care of animals, keeping separate from others, keeping Temple traditions, hospitality, sustainability; in reality it probably has elements of all of these.
Various aspects to Kashrut 1) Prohibited and permitted foods 1a) Prohibited parts of permitted foods 1b) When permitted foods are prohibited 2) Proper preparation of permitted foods 3) Prohibited combinations of permitted foods
If it grows in the ground its kosher All vegetables, fruit, grains and nuts are kosher It seems the original intention was for humans to be vegetarian (Genesis 1: 29-30)
Focusing the Mind Eating is one of the things we do most frequently, several times daily (except for a few fast days). Therefore it is an obvious activity to invest with a sense of kedusha (sanctity). By saying blessings over food, we elevate ourselves above animals who merely refuel We remember God, the creator of the food, and our responsibility to those without sufficient. We must work in partnership with God (shutafut) to provide enough for the hungry.
Prohibited and Permitted foods Seem to be the oldest layer - found in the Torah. 1) There is a prohibition of eating blood, which is identified as the life force of a being. The blood should be poured onto the ground (Deut 12:24). 2) There are lists of prohibited animals, with rules about cloven hoofs and chewing the cud (Lev 11) 3) Fish need to have both fins and scales (Lev 11) 4) There are prohibitions about carrion etc 5) There are prohibitions about tithed foods.
Proper Preparation These seem to be somewhat later, though some probably have roots in the sacrificial systems described for the Tabernacle in the Torah. They are about killing the animals in a proper way (probably meant to be the quickest and least painful). This is called 'Sh'hita (Hebrew letters Sh H T = slaughter). Vegetables must be carefully washed to avoid any bugs etc. (much more recent/contemporary).
Problematic Combinations Torah says three times 'You should not seethe a kid in its mothers milk'. Much later, in 'Mark 2' or 'Rabbinic' Judaism, the Rabbis decided that this had far wider meanings: They decided it meant any meat and any milk They decided it meant any kind of 1) cooking, 2) eating, and even 3) benefitting - during the entire meal, and for some hours after ( 1 hr, 3hrs or 6 hrs ) (They also included chicken etc as a safeguard)
Pots and Pans Some Jews go to great lengths to keep milk and meat separate, having separate dishes, cutlery, tea towels, dishwashers – even kitchens! Some also have another milk and a meat set for Pesach (Passover). If you wish to entertain strictly orthodox Jews, you will need to either do this or provide disposable plates and cutlery. Many Progressive Jews believe that normal washing of cutlery and crockery is sufficient.
Parve Parve (or parev) - the origins of parev are probably Latin by way of Czech and Polish. The Latin word par means pair. In Czech we find parovy and in Polish parowy. Pareve foods can be "paired" with either milk or meat. All vegetables, fruit, grains and nuts, condiments and spices, like permitted fish, can be eaten with either milk or meat.
Progressive Rationale Kashrut is one of the distinctive things about being Jewish. Strict kashrut allows you to invite anyone over. Strict vegetarianism is a good alternative. Shopping, cooking and eating are things we do regularly, so it is good to give them some sanctity One does not have to do 'all or nothing'. It is perfectly rational to choose to keep some parts, which may seem more meaningful or original. What you do now may differ from 10 years time.
Eco-Kashrut Today we live in a time of mass production and factory farming unimagined by our ancestors. We would certainly wish to extend our concerns into those areas. Many Jews today find factory farming unacceptable and try to buy only free-range eggs and chickens, and avoid veal, for example. Some might prefer only local-produced products, in season, to support local farmers and to reduce emissions from transportation.
The food cycle emphasises key Jewish concepts Torah – study – what we can and cant eat, and in what combinations Avodah – prayer. We say blessings before and after we eat the food; Kakatuv, vakhalta vsavata uvrakhta et Adonai eloheikha al haaretz hatovah asher natan lakh – Barukh atah Adonai, al haaretz val hamazon Gmilut Chasadim – making sure we rememebr and share with and feed the hungry and needy.