Posts tagged "Kosher"
Shmita (the sabbatical year), on the theoretical level, is a radical movement towards social equality, awareness of land ownership, understanding of good agricultural practices, and a major reconsideration of a monetary system.
Sounds like an interesting thought-experiment, right?
Well, Shmita is also a real-life system that is currently implemented in Israel, the only place where following the laws of Shmita are traditionally required. The various systems in place in Israel right now are quite complex. There are essentially four options to choose from when a farmer is deciding in what capacity he will follow the laws of Shmita:
- Continue life as normal
- Use the rabbinical tool of Heter Mechira
- Use the rabbinical tool of Otzar Beit Din
- Import food from outside of Biblical Israel
For someone just trying to buy food, this could get quite confusing. Do I follow the laws of Shmita? Do I trust the Heter Mechira certification? Should I just be extremely safe and buy only imported food (despite the harm to the Israeli economy). Why so many options? Why can’t we just follow Shmita the way the Torah explains it?
I was not brought up with Thanksgiving. Guy Fawkes night on November 5th, with bonfires and fireworks, yes, but Thanksgiving, no. In fact my first exposure to this very American holiday was when I was in Yeshiva in Jerusalem, where a group of American students enjoyed the opportunity to invite a Hungarian, South African and an Englishman (that would be me) to their festive gathering. There was a politically correct and insightful reenactment of the story with puppets, rituals of gratitude and, of course, great food! As a vegetarian who occasionally indulged in chicken or turkey, but strictly no red meat, I really relished this almost religiously required ritual of ripping into a turkey. It was so delicious. In Hebrew, there is even a pun to increase the force of the obligation: hodu means both ‘give thanks’ and turkey! That joyful gathering in Jerusalem was not my last turkey dinner on Thanksgiving. (more…)