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The Jewish Calendar and Dis-Ordered Eating

Each Jewish month carries within it it’s own lesson, challenge, and potential for growth. Last week we started the Hebrew month of Shevat. Our next Jewish Holiday, Tu b’Shevat literally means the 15th of the month of Shevat. This holiday is the “New Year of the Tree” (Tree, in the singular, even though many people today write it in the plural). The most important Tree in Judaism, is the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil in the Garden of Eden. When we strip down the details of that story about the snake, and who blamed who, in that story… at essence, it is about when, how, and what we eat! How we take of food, is in at least some ways, parallel to how we TAKE from the world in General. What kind of hunger drives our life? What kind of hunger drives our lives, even when we are physically satiated?

Sarah Yehudit Shneider teaches that, “Eating is an archetype, it is the experience of lack and the taking inside of oneself of something from outside to fill that lack. Something that was not you, becomes a piece of you.” Eating, taking, or some other way of filling a lack, is not good or bad in and of itself, but neither is it neutral… It depends on how we do the taking, and what we do with the object we have taken… Do we take something because it really feeds us, or simply because we can? How do we feel afterwards? Do we abstain from taking, because life has somehow taught us that we are “not allowed” or “not good enough” for some reason?

How we eat may not be perfectly parallel to how we take-in everything else in the world, but it does have lessons to teach us about all of those other interactions, and perhaps healing any of those interactions can support healing in the others as well.

I pray that whatever lacks, whatever hungers, whatever holes we feel inside.. May we find the wisdom to know how to heal them, and not just fill them… May we do so with love and awe for the world around us, and our own lives...

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