Adar: Food as Transformation

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?

Maybe you will…. Read on at PunkTorah.org

 

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Hamantaschen: Symbol of Adar

Making Hamantshen -- Yummy and Spiritual!

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.

If you are unfamiliar with the history of hamantaschen, this post from Seforim Blog is a great place to start (thanks to Velveteen Rabbi for the link).   For some the triangle shaped cookies represent Haman’s (the villian of Purim) hat, pockets or ears.  There are also dozens of different recipes for the delicious cookies, and debates over whether jam or poppy-seed filling is the best. There are yeast dough recipes, regular old cookie dough recipes, and even this cream cheese recipes that seems to merge rugelach and hamantaschen.

But enough about the actual cookie.  Let’s talk ritual experience.

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Purim: Enter the Trickster

The Last Purim by Mark Shectman
The coyote, a common symbol of the Trickster, on the left and the full moon on the right. This village in in for a heck of a night. (The Last Purim by Mark Shectman)

Ahh….Purim.  Let’s invite the trickster in and see what havock s/he can wreak!   We think of Purim as the light-hearted, silly holiday, but the trickster sometimes has her own plans.  The month of Adar is the month associated with the Kesilah, the Fool, in the Kohenet model.  Generally, I think of the Kesilah as the light-hearted clown who’s sacred play helps us to break out our normal way of thinking.  There is also the trickster element, which is a bit more mischievous and dangerous than the fool.

I think the Trickster what is what’s at play  in our current economic situation in the United States, and much of the rest of the world.  The Trickster has taken the entire world we know and turned it upside down.  The foundations of our economy have been entirely shaken — and the Trickster is waiting to see if we’ll ask the right questions here.  The Trickster knows that our economy has been  based on a joke.  How can our entire way of life be  built around buying things we really don’t need, can’t really afford, and are so low quality that we’ll have to replace them in a couple of years?  What an amazing joke has been played on us all.

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