from page 41
Songs. That most romantic of biblical
If you want to enjoy some of the fla-
literature speaks of a "garden of nuts
vors that have been "food improvers"
(the walnut), said to be like the Jewish
throughout Jewish history (all of these
people: just as the nut tree needs prun-
are cited in the Torah), try: caper, dill,
ing, so does a Jew need to give charity,
cumin, caraway, mint, mustard, pepper,
and just as a diseased walnut tree must
saffron, sesame or thyme.
have its roots exposed to become well,
so, too, does a troubled Jew need to
ti Now that you've got all the informa-
return to his roots (the Torah) to find
tion you need about food, here's a great
Web site that will tell you exactly how to
In the talmudic period, walnut trees
flourished in the Land of Israel, though
Go to wwvv. judaism.about.com At
today it's rare to find a walnut tree in the the top, you'll find a place to search the
site. Type in "Thanksgiving." In no
Almonds: In Israel, you can enjoy a
time, you'll have before you a feast of
yummy white almond drink, or buy hot new and different kosher, often parve,
almonds in little bags from street ven-
Thanksgiving items, including cranberry
In Ecclesiastes, the
almond tree sym-
bolizes the brevity
and sweet potato
You'll even find
Most of the mush-
rooms found in
Israel today are poi-
sonous, so don't go
and a mini-serv-
without a guide.
ice for the holi-
The Torah does
days created by
Mushrooms in salad
mushrooms at all,
but rabbinic litera-
ture certainly does and it even speaks of
• You may have a Jewish neighbor who
one of the most coveted food items
does not celebrate Thanksgiving.
today: truffles. Interestingly, when eating
Is that because its against Halachah
a mushroom one does not say the bless-
(Jewish law) to observe this holiday? No.
ing that thanks God for a food "grown
Some Jewish families observe Jewish hol-
in the soil." This is because unlike most
idays and only Jewish holidays.
other foods, like carrots, tomatoes,
However, there is no Halachic prob-
cucumber and onion, taken from the
lem whatsoever with celebrating
earth, mushrooms "do not draw their
Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving, as well as
nourishment from the ground but from
July 4, is an American holiday, which in
the air," the rabbis said.
no way conflicts with Judaism.
Celery: As with mushrooms, celery
grows wild in Israel.
ti Thanksgiving, and all its trimmings,
Today, celery's greatest claim to fame
includes a virtual plethora of fun words
in Judaism probably comes during
that you can use to make creative Jewish
Pesach, when Ashkenazi families use it
for kaipas. Many scholars, however, note
Why not try doing that at your
that the term karpas actually refers to
Thanksgiving table? For example:
"the celery of the rivers,"' which was
[Cran] " Berry" Manilow writes very
"corny" music. Or, xxx (fill in the name
Onions:According to the Torah
of your least favorite politician) is a
(Numbers 11:5), the Israelites wandering
"turkey" who has as much sense as a
in the desert were positively aching for
the onions that grew so abundantly in
Egypt, but which were nowhere to be
• Leviticus and Deuteronomy both
found in the hot sand. The vegetable
define what constitutes kosher mam-
also became part of many Jewish family
mals and fish.
names (in Hebrew, onion is batzai, and
The Torah is a bit sketchy, however,
it was said to produce some of Israel's
when it comes to birds. Turkeys are
native birds to America, and so the
Spices: Though the Torah has no
issue of whether they are kosher never
word for 'spice, they are mentioned
came up within the Jewish community
throughout the Tanach, where they are
— until Jews began immigrating here.
usually called "food improvers."
After concluding that a turkey was
the tree") only on items that come
from trees, and bony pri hdadama
("who has created the fruit of the soil")
for those grown directly in the ground.
Cranberries grow in the ground, yet
we say borey pri ha'etz before eating
them. Why? Because they grow on per-
manent plants (as opposed to annuals,
which must be replanted each year).
Blueberries also fall into this category.
Norman Rockwell's Thanksgiving
much like a chicken, the rabbis ruled
that it was indeed edible as kosher. All
the rabbis that is, except one. Rabbi
Yishaya ben Avraham halevi Horowitz
(born 1565), a leading kabbalistic
scholar, asserted that turkey is not
kosher, and to this day his descendants
do not eat turkey.
t Have you ever
wondered why you
wash and say
HaMotzi before eat-
ing rye bread and
and pita bread but
corn is not listed in
the Torah as one of
the five grains
(wheat, barley, rye,
oats and spelt).
Instead, the rabbis
ruled that cornbread
falls into the same
category as noodles,
and so we say the
blessing of borey ming
mzonot before con-
• As in English, Hebrew has one
word, hodu, which refers both to the
animal turkey and the country of
• If you've ever studied Turkish and
shorthand (and really, isn't this every-
one?), no doubt you're familiar with
Benaroya (1889-1955) developed a
system for writing the Turkish language
I Love cranberry sauce with your
turkey? Cranberries pose an interesting
situation in Judaism.
Usually; we say the blessing of borey
pri-hdetz ("who has created the fruit of
g In Judaism, we are grateful for God's
abundant gifts to us.
It may not be a Jewish holiday, but
there's no reason not to give thanks for
everything good in your life on
Here are some blessings especially
appropriate for the holiday.
When Smelling Something
Wonderful: 'Blessed are You ... who
has created fragrant spices."
When Seeing A Friend After A
Long Separation: "Blessed are You ...
who revives the dead."
On Experiencing Joy: "Blessed are
You ... who is
good and who
are You ... who
has created such
as these in the
On Seeing A
"Blessed are You
... who has
wisdom to flesh
Groups Of Jews
Together: "Blessed are You ... who
knows the secret thoughts of all these."
On The Arrival Of A New Season
Or Happy Occasion: "Blessed are You
... who has kept us and preserved us
and permitted us to reach this time."
Now it's time to look back on your
own life and consider, what are you
grateful for? Fl