Friday, January 24, 2014

Leviticus 3: Mischievous Angels

Shemini/Eighth (Leviticus 9:1-11:47)

God spoke to Moses and to Aaron, telling them to speak to the Israelites, saying: These are the creatures that you may eat from among all the animals that are upon the earth. (Leviticus 11:1)

Living in Brooklyn, it seemed that mischievous angels had planted kosher shops in our neighborhood uprooted from Jerusalem and Bnai Brak.
Mel made paintings of food shops reflecting a misplaced reality and digitized angels ascended from fragmented images of other shops.

Angel and food are written with the same four Hebrew letters to teach us that angels are spiritual messages arising from everyday life. מאלך מאכל
Jews survived centuries displaced from their homeland by creating discrete communities of kosher food eaters.

Back home, we photographed a meat restaurant in Bnai Brak, an ice cream shop in Jerusalem, and our favorite pizzeria in Petah Tikva.    
This Torah portion provides a lengthy list that separates mammals, birds, fish and insects that Jews can eat from those they cannot eat.

Through discerning what is kosher every time we eat, we develop skills for distinguishing what can add holiness to all our life’s choices.
Restrictions on eating meat are designed to keep alive a sense of reverence for life until a time when a vegetarian diet will prevail.

The wolf will dwell with the lamb and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and a calf, a young lion and a lamb will walk together, and a little child shall lead them.  A cow and bear will graze and their young ones will lie down together; and a lion will eat hay like cattle. (Isaiah 11:6-7)
We end each week with the havdalah (meaning 'separation') ceremony honoring the divine act of making distinctions:

"Between sacred and profane, between light and darkness, between Israel and other nations, between the seventh day and six days of work."