Section 1-3-jewish-home-food-laws


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Section 1-3-jewish-home-food-laws

  1. 1. SECTION 1 The Irish Jewish Communities and the Jewish Home Topic 1.3 The Significance of the Home in Judaism Description of Topic How the Torah is the basis for Jewish home and family. The religious activities that take place at home and within the family (e.g. Sabbath and Holiday meals, Torah study, prayer, Passover Seder). Characteristics of a Jewish home (mezuzah, prayer books, candlesticks, ketubbah, charity box, etc.). The biblical origins of the Jewish food laws. The main elements of kashrut observance. The role of the various family members in religious activities in a Jewish home. Their respective functions in preserving Jewish identity and in promoting an ethical and just life style. The role of women in maintaining a kosher home, educating the children, and transmitting religious practices, beliefs and values to the next generation. For HL: The protection of equal rights for women in Jewish marriage, as guaranteed in the marriage contract Learning Outcomes Discuss the significance of the home in Judaism; describe three religious activities that take place in the Jewish home; describe the characteristics of the Jewish home and their significance; explain the Jewish food laws and identify the texts where they originated; describe the main elements of kashrut observance; describe the role of various family members in a Jewish home; provide examples of how each family member preserves an ethical and just life style; discuss the role of women within the Jewish home and community. For HL: explain the origins of equal rights for women in Jewish marriage; evaluate the current status of women within Jewish faith and practice. CHARACTERISTICS OF THE JEWISH HOME1 There are elements which are characteristic of a Jewish home regardless of the practices of its residents and there are other additional characteristics which are particular to very observant Jewish families. Firstly, we will look at the general characteristics and, later, we will look at what one might expect to find in the households of more observant Jews. Mezuzah: Mezuzah literally means ‘doorpost’ and is a small casing, made of wood, metal, ceramic or other material. It is the rabbinic interpretation of the instruction to ‘write them on the doorposts of your house’ (Deuteronomy 6:9). 1 Vanessa Oochs has a very good article on what makes a Jewish home in ‘My Jewish Learning’:
  2. 2. Jewish Studies, DWEC, NCCA, DES 2 The mezuzah contains the parchment with the Shema Israel, Deuteronomy 6 text, reminding Jews of the oneness of G-d and of G-d’s commandments. Tzedakah Box: The original word Tzedakah means righteous behaviour but has come to mean the giving of charity. It is a fundamental religious obligation or mitzvah (good deed/commandment) to do right in Jewish life and is required even if a person is of limited financial means. It is taught that Tzedakah money was never yours to begin with, rather, it always belongs to God, who merely entrusts you with it so that you may use it properly. Hence it is one’s obligation to ensure that it is received by those deserving of it. Dreidel (Yiddish)/Sevivon (Hebrew): A four-sided spinning top for a game at Hanukkah. Each side of the dreidel bears a letter of the Hebrew alphabet: ‫נ‬ (Nun), ‫ג‬ (Gimel), ‫ה‬ (Hei), ‫ש‬ (Shin), which together form the acronym for "‫סנ‬ ‫דולג‬ ‫יהה‬ ‫"םש‬ (Nes Gadol Hayah Sham – "a great miracle happened there"). These letters also form a mnemonic for the rules of a gambling game played with a dreidel: Nun stands for the Yiddish word nisht ("nothing"), Hei stands for halb ("half"), Gimel for gants ("all"), and Shin for shtel ayn ("put in").2 Shabbat Candles Shabbat candles are lit on Friday nights 18 minutes before sunset. Lighting Shabbat candles is a tradition enshrined in rabbinical law. Candlelighting is traditionally done by the women of the household but may be done by men. After lighting the candles, the woman waves her hands over them, covers her eyes, and recites a blessing. It is traditional to light two candles, but in some homes an additional candle is lit for each child. The lighting of Shabbat candles has a dual purpose: To "honor Shabbat" (‫דכבו‬ ‫)שבת‬ and 2 Information from
  3. 3. Jewish Studies, DWEC, NCCA, DES 3 create shalom bayit or domestic peace Menorah or Hanukkiyah A menorah is a six-branched candelabrum and a hanukkiyah is a eight-branched candelabrum used at Hanukkah. It has become an expression of Jewish creativity an art. Every type of style is used: antique, classical ornate, modern, austere, plain, elaborate. The candle holders can even be in the form of small silver or copper birds, and can burn with oil or a wax candle. Each member of the family may light his or her own. On successive nights of the eight-day festival of Hanukkah, (beginning on 25th of the Jewish month Kislev, near December in the Gregorian calendar) a candle for each of the previous nights is lit again, so that on the last night, eight candles are burning, plus a ninth – the one which is used each night for lighting the others. It is known as the shamash – the servant. It is usually at a different height to the other candles. In more observant households, one would expect to find the following: Two sinks for the separation of meat and dairy.
  4. 4. Jewish Studies, DWEC, NCCA, DES 4 Containers separating meat, dairy, and parve (which is neutral food which can be eaten with meat or dairy). This is required according to kashrut or Jewish food laws. Colour-coded cutlery or crockery, pots or pans. Red is usually for meat and blue for dairy. Siddur Jewish prayer book containing the order of daily prayers.
  5. 5. Jewish Studies, DWEC, NCCA, DES 5 Tikkun Chumash The Chumash (the Torah/Pentateuch/first five books of the Bible), books of the Ne’vim (Prophets), and the five megillot (scrolls) which are parts of the Ketuvim (Writings), the third major section of the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible). The Five Scrolls are the Song of Songs, the Book of Ruth, the Book of Lamentations, Ecclesiastes and the Book of Esther. Shulchan Aruch A four-volume work on legal codes of Judaism dating back to the 1500s. It covers areas such as laws of prayer and holidays, laws governing charity, tzedakah, dietary laws, laws concerning Jewish marriage and divorce, and Jewish civil law. The following items are commonly found in a Jewish home with Jewish affiliation but not shomrei mitzvot (observant): Items Books Everyday Use Mezuzah may be only one on the front door Tzedakah (charity) box (in Yiddish Pushke) The more strong the Jewish identity, the more likely one might find paintings or decorations of Jewish interest. Dreidels (Yiddish) or Svivonoim (Hebrew) Graggers (Yiddish) or Ra’ashanim (Hebrew) – percussion instruments, noise-makers In Dublin: The Irish Jewish Yearbook Elsewhere: Jewish Calendar Tanakh (Hebrew scriptures) Siddur (Prayer book) Jewish cookbooks Novels and/or general non-fiction books of Jewish interests, e.g. history, politics, biography
  6. 6. Jewish Studies, DWEC, NCCA, DES 6 Children’s story books. Shabbat Two candlesticks Kiddush cup (Kiddush means sanctification and is used often as a ritual of blessing of wine) Challah cover (deckl) (challah is the braided bread eaten on Shabbat) Hagim Menorah(s) (8-branched candlestick for Hanukkah) Seder Plate (For Pesach meal) Pesach dishes (Passover) Hagaddahs (texts associated with the Passover events) The following items are commonly found in a Jewish home where the family is shomrei mitzvoth (observant): Items Books Everyday use Mezuzot: On the front door and all real rooms other than toilets and bathrooms Tzedakah box 2-handed cups for netilat yadayim (Hand-washing) colourful plastic for casual use, silver or bronze ones for more fomal use Bentschers (Birconim: Prayer and song books) for Bircat ha Mazon (Grace after meals) Kitchen with two sides, two sets of dishes, counter-tops etc. Ketubah (Contract detailing the obligations of a husband towards his wife) Decorations, artistic calligraphy (possibly Bircat Habayit – blessings for the home - inside the front door) Jewish-themed paintings are common Toys included alef-bet (AB) toys, puzzles, etc. In Dublin: The Irish Jewish Yearbook Elsewhere: Jewish calendar Tanakh Chumash Tikkun (Chumash written as in Torah scroll) Siddurs (Prayer Books) Tehillim (Psalms) Mishna (rabbinical texts from c. 220 CE Talmud Shulchan Aruch ( Kitzur Shulchan Aruch Modern halachic books Other books from rabbis and authorities meant as guidance Kosher cookbooks Novels and/or general non- fiction books of Jewish interests, e.g. history, politics, biography Children’s story books. Shabbat At least 2 candlesticks (may be for the number of family members) Kiddush cups and saucers (may Lightweight siddurim (possibly combined with chumas) in towns with an eruv (The eruv allows
  7. 7. Jewish Studies, DWEC, NCCA, DES 7 be different ones for family members, havdalah etc. Challah cover Challah knife Breadboard for Shabbat Mayim aharonim (ritual washing before meals) dispenser Havdalah candle and holder Saucer for havdalah cup Spice box (Besamim) May be special platters, etc. labeled for Shabbat and/or yom tov (days on which certain activities are not permitted) Timeswitches Slow cookers or blech in kitchen Urn left on for hot water Thematic toys observant Jews to carry needed things in public on the Sabbath) Pirkei Avot (Part of Jewish Law from the Mishnah) Hagim All the items for Shabbat may be used for yom tov. Some families will have separate items like Kiddush cups marked for yom tov use. More specialized items include: Shofar (ram’s horn used at Rosh Hashanah) Etrog holder (for Sukkot) Lulav holder (for Sukkot) Sukkah may be taken apart and stored Menorahs (Could be several) Dreidels (svivonoim) Graggers (Ra’ashanim) Plates for mishloach manot (Basket of food or items sent to friends at Purim) Seder plate (Ke’arah) Matzah plate Matzah cover (can be combined seder plate/matzoh item) There may be special containers for seder items – Matzah, maror, charosets Afikoman pouch At least 6 machzors, for Rosh Hashannah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Pesach, Shavuot Megillat Esther Eichah (Book of Lamentations for Tisha B’Av Kinot (Laments or dirges) Selichot (Penitential poems and prayers) Haggadot
  8. 8. Jewish Studies, DWEC, NCCA, DES 8 Jewish Food Laws (See powerpoint in the Teacher Notes Section) Kashrut is the body of Jewish law dealing with what foods Jews can and cannot eat and how those foods must be prepared and eaten. "Kashrut" comes from the Hebrew root Kaf-Shin-Reish, meaning fit, proper or correct. Kashrut is the same root as the more commonly known word "kosher," which describes food that meets these standards. The word "kosher" can also be used, and often is used, to describe ritual objects that are made in accordance with Jewish law and are fit for ritual use. The Torah offers no explanation for the dietary laws other than the holiness of God and his chosen people: ‘You are to be holy to me because I, the Lord, am holy, and I have set you apart from the nations to be my own’ (Lev. 20:26). It is difficult to know what ingredients are in one’s food and how they were processed, so it is helpful to have a rabbi examine the food and its processing and assure kosher consumers that the food is kosher. The origin of these food laws is contained in the Torah: 1. ‘Animals with split hoof and chew cud’ (Lev. 11:3; Deut. 14:6): Cow, Lamb, Chicken, Duck, Turkey, Goat, Deer. 2. ‘Fish with fins and scales’ (Lev. 11:3; Deut. 14:6): Cod, Trout, Plaice, Herring, Salmon, Tuna. 3. ‘These are the birds you are to regard as unclean and not eat because they are unclean: the eagle, the vulture, the black vulture, the red kite, any kind of black kite, any kind of raven, the horned owl, the screech owl, the gull, any kind of hawk, the little owl, the cormorant, the great owl, the white owl, the desert owl, the osprey, the stork, any kind of heron, the hoopoe and the bat’ (Lev 11:13-19). The Torah lists forbidden birds but does not specify why these particular birds are forbidden. All of the birds on the list are birds of prey or scavengers, thus the rabbis inferred that this was the basis for the distinction. Other birds are permitted, such as chicken, geese, ducks and turkeys.3 4. Of them you may eat: the locust of any kind, the bald locust of any kind, the cricket of any kind, and the grasshopper of any kind’ (Lev 11:22). Of the "winged swarming things" (winged insects), a few are specifically permitted but the Sages are no longer certain which ones they are, so all have been forbidden. 3 The information here is abridged from the Jewish Virtual Library:
  9. 9. Jewish Studies, DWEC, NCCA, DES 9 5. ‘And these are unclean to you among the swarming things that swarm on the ground: the mole rat, the mouse, the great lizard of any kind, the gecko, the monitor lizard, the lizard, the sand lizard, and the chameleon’ (Lev 11:29-30, 42-43). Rodents, reptiles, amphibians, and insects (except as mentioned above) are all forbidden. 6. All fruits, vegetables and grains are permissible (Gen. 1:29), with the exception of grape products. Due to laws against eating or drinking anything offered to idols, and the fact that wine was often made for pagan offerings and celebrations, all wine and grape juice that is not made under Jewish supervision is prohibited. Although the details of kashrut are extensive, the laws all derive from a few fairly simple, straightforward rules: Certain animals may not be eaten at all. This restriction includes the flesh, organs, eggs and milk of the forbidden animals. Of the animals that may be eaten, the birds and mammals must be killed in accordance with Jewish law. All blood must be drained from the meat or broiled out of it before it is eaten. Certain parts of permitted animals may not be eaten. Meat (the flesh of birds and mammals) cannot be eaten with dairy. Fish, eggs, fruits, vegetables and grains can be eaten with either meat or dairy. (According to some views, fish may not be eaten with meat). Utensils that have come into contact with meat may not be used with dairy, and vice versa. Utensils that have come into contact with non-kosher food may not be used with kosher food. This applies only where the contact occurred while the food was hot. Grape products made by non-Jews may not be eaten. Kashrut Certification: Food which is kosher will be indicated as Kosher or Glatt (without blemish) Kosher. See the following pictures:
  10. 10. Jewish Studies, DWEC, NCCA, DES 10 Food that is permissible is KOSHER. Food that is not permissible is TRAYF/TREIF.
  11. 11. Jewish Studies, DWEC, NCCA, DES 11 PARVE is a Hebrew term (PAREVE is the Yiddish term) that describes food without any meat or dairy ingredients.4 Exercises on Kashrut 1. Prepare a menu for a kosher restaurant with a starter, main course and a desert. 2. What might make kashrut observance difficult if one is an observant Jew and is visiting a non-Jewish household? Make reference to food and utensils in your answer. 3. Draw a table of acceptable kosher foods. 4. Which of the following are kosher or in accordance with Jewish food laws? Why? Why not? Explain. 4 Jewish dietary laws considers parve food to be neutral; Parve food can be eaten with both meat and milk dishes. Fish, eggs, fruits and vegetables are parve.
  12. 12. Jewish Studies, DWEC, NCCA, DES 12 5. Explain why there might be a problem with any of the following foods. In each case, state your reason and give the text from the Torah which is its foundation: A cheese-burger A cardigan with cotton and wool A creamy sauce over a meat dish at dinner time A bottle of wine Pork chops or sausages A crabmeat sandwich Monkfish
  13. 13. Jewish Studies, DWEC, NCCA, DES 13