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Food, Glorious Food!: Thoughts on Eating 20 Holiday Meals

October 3, 2018 | by Emuna Braverman

Food can be misused or abused, but it can also create wonderful family memories and experiences.

The intense Yom Tov season has just ended. During that time we ate 20 Yom Tov meals (and some weekday ones as well!). The meals were fancy and elaborate, as befitting the holidays. After each meal we moaned and groaned and made noises about never eating again. Until the next meal when somehow we had room, even for dessert!

As soon as the holiday ended (and after a massive clean-up), my children sat around trying to figure guessed it...what to eat. What take-out place was open? Why was the fridge so bare?

While it is true that we actually are hungry (at least on some of those occasions), I think the motivation is more about togetherness than the actual food. And although there are certainly situations where individuals can develop an unhealthy relationship with food, it’s a glue that binds relationships. It can be used (judiciously of course) as an expression of love.

We are supposed to eat fancy meals on Shabbos and other Jewish holidays. It elevates the physical and connects us not just to each other but also to the Almighty - in gratitude, appreciation and joy.

Like everything in the physical world, food can be misused or abused. But it can also create wonderful family memories and experiences. It can connect us to the holidays and our heritage. (And it can be a rationalization for over-eating!)

Our children will remember the foods associated with the particular holiday and it will increase their pleasure in the experience. It is something to look forward to.

It may not be the highest level but if we're honest, we'll acknowledge that it speaks to all of us.

There is certainly room for self-control (perhaps a lot of it) but an ascetic diet is not their Jewish way.

So we can continue to enjoy, to shop, cook and serve. And to take comfort in knowing that we are creating a home and memories to last across the generations.

And that even on a more mundane level, we are deepening our connection with our family members. As long as they remember to save me a piece of pizza...

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