Friday, February 10, 2017

The Soul of a Strawberry

The goal of this email is to get to the true essence of the Shabbat table ...  Please share.
.Continuing to wish a speedy recovery to Tamar Adina bas Kayna Shulamis.
Happy birthday to our daughter Goldy, who turned 18 this week.

billy_martin_the_soul_jets-strawberry_soulTo you and me, a strawberry is a strawberry...

... is a strawberry?

But this week, to our 7-year-old, understanding the essence of a strawberry was an urgent matter.

The anecdote begins with a loosely-enforced rule chez Seinfeld: you eat a vegetable every day.

But what counts as a vegetable?

If you ask me, among other factors, it should be green.

If you ask my wife, other colors qualify.

But we agree that white (eg, pasta, potatoes) does not!

So what about strawberries?

Our seven-year-old urgently argues for the vegetability of strawberries.

It seems she had in mind to eat a bowl of strawberries immediately after her bowl of pasta, with nothing green in-between.

"If they are not vegetables, then why is their bracha (blessing) 'borei pri ha-adama' (who creates fruit of the ground)???"

(How much tuition are we paying to her Jewish school? Maybe we should send her teacher a tip. She's obviously doing a stellar job.)

"But wait a second," another child parries, "Why is it fruit of the ground? Doesn't fruit grow on trees?"

A third child: "Are tomatoes fruits or vegetables?"

This is getting out of hand.

Tonight is Tu-bishvat. That's the tree holiday.

Tu-bishvat gives us our annual ritual to head down to Whole Foods Market and remind ourselves what pomelo, kiwi, mango, papaya etc. actually taste like.

And all those wonderful varieties of apples.

We try to create the ultimate centerpiece table arrangement - with 30 different "fruits" of trees on the table - that can include maple syrup, wine of course, and olive oil. And a glass of wine.

(A fruit of tree is one that gets a "borei pree ha'aytz" bracha. Gotta grow on an eitz (tree)

On this note, here are this week's two questions for your table:

1. What about fruit juice - should that count as "fruit of the tree"?

2. The Torah likens a person to a tree, but doesn't say in what way(s) — how is person like a tree?

On this theme here is this week's question for your table:

The Torah likens a person to a tree, but doesn't say in what way(s). How do you think a person is like a tree?

Shabbat Shalom

PS - Speaking of trees....


There once was a preacher with lofty inflection
Who chanced to read Stein in the poetry section
But read it "Arose
Is arose is arose"
And thought it concerned resurrection


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