My latest post over at PunkTorah.org explores the transformational power of food, especially during the Jewish month of Adar and the Purim tradition (mitzvah) of sending Mishloach Manot — baskets of food to family, friends or those in need. I explore the history of the tradition, the possible earth-based roots, and modern ways to think about how and why to do this. This post will have you thinking beyond hamentashen this Purim!
Ever thought of this tradition as a social justice issue?
During the month of Shevat, we have a special Shabbat — Shabbat Shirah, which the Shabbat where we read Parsha Beshalach (Ex 13:17-17:16). There are many named Shabbatot during the year, Shabbat Gadol, Shabbat Shuvah, etc. etc. Shabbat Shirah is more than just a Shabbat where we read a “special” Torah portion, I mean — aren’t all Parshot special? Ostensibly, Shabbat Shirah, Sabbath of Song, is called this because we read the “Song at the Sea” (Exodus 15). But like in so much of Jewish life, we’ve built and built on that.
As Kislev approaches my mind once again turns to the corners of my Tallitot — which are vacant of Tzitzit. I have had an amazing emotional block around tying Tzitzit to my daily tallit and my ceremonial one. Tzitzit are hugely important to me. As a spiritual practice they not only make sense to me at a primal level, but also as a “magickal” tool via the tying of knots — and it’s a direct mitzvah from the Torah.
Adar 5772 begins at sundown February 23rd, 2012 and ends at sundown March 23rd, 2012.
Yes, it’s Adar and I decided to go exactly where you expected me to this month — Purim and Hamantaschen. But as opposed to doing a history of the fabled, and delicious, Purim cookie — I’m going to explore some of the mythic and ritual opportunities these humble cookies offer us.