You Are What You Eat

Shemini: A resource for parents.

Commentary on Parashat Shmini, Leviticus 9:1 - 11:47, Numbers 19:1 - 22

We all eat and need to feed our families.  But how we do so involves many small decisions.  Think about being in a supermarket.  We all make many decisions there concerning the food we buy.  We are inundated by products and need to make decisions based on various factors such as healthfulness or what’s appealing to our family.

In this week’s Torah portion we are told very specifically that we can not eat whatever we want whenever we want.  Discipline, in Judaism, is an important part of eating.  According to the Torah, following the discipline of what we can eat and what we can’t eat makes us holy. Making these choices teaches us that food and eating are sacred matters.

While some of us may choose to keep kosher and some might not, it’s important to keep in mind that making wise choices about the food we eat elevates the act of eating. We want to teach our children that they just can’t eat anything any time and any way that they want. Families eating healthful food together are involved in a sacred activity – taking in the bounty of the earth.  Consider what would elevate your family’s eating experience into one that consciously acknowledged the blessings that are abundant at our dining room or kitchen table.

TALK TO YOUR KIDS about how important food choices are to their physical and spiritual health.

CONNECT TO THEIR LIVES:  

* What kinds of foods do you like to eat?
* Do you know where these foods come from?
* Which kinds of foods makes you feel good when you eat them?
* Why is it important to eat together with your family?
* What is the value of applying discipline to what we eat?

© Copyright 2010 Joyce and Fred Claar

From “Values and Ethics: Torah Topics for Today,” available from Behrman House Publishers.

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