Can the physical act of eating be a spiritual experience?
Judaism offers different blessings as a way of sanctifying all sorts of things, from the food we eat to…well, going to the bathroom afterwards. Why is food so important to Jews? “It’s not just hunger,” says one rabbi in the book Kosher Nation. “When I eat, my soul is also hungry to fulfill its mission in this world.”
The website NewKosher.org–masterminded by a bunch of Jewish punks in Georgia–is dedicated to exploring ways of eating that are “healthy, ethical, environmental and mystical.” They encourage us to leave the “cycle of pain” of fast food and convenience foods, and instead to see ourselves as “stewards of the Earth” (Genesis 2:15). They put their beliefs into action with a series of cooking videos, a blog called “Young, Broke & Kosher,” and a number of arts and crafts and cooking projects.
NewKosher also offers a free bencher. Traditionally, a bencher is a booklet that contains the script to the Grace after Meals. NewKosher’s is a collection of prayers, song lyrics, meditations on food, and recipes.
At its best, the Internet lets people from vastly different backgrounds and geographical areas share a common love. NewKosher takes one of those activities that literally everyone on Earth does–eating–and encourages us all to transform it from an animalistic action into a real spiritual vehicle.
January 13, 2011