A vision of my childhood. Some smoked meat courtesy of Schwartz’ Delicatessen in Montreal. (Creative Commons)

Column: Food is a bridge

There is a talmudic story I know. It’s about how food can heal us. Mend the wounds we all carry inside. Bridge the distance between self and other.

I mean, think about it: where are some of your best memories? Likely, sitting around a dinner table, or out at a restaurant.

Perhaps you were with a relative, or a loved one. Maybe you were alone. But there was something about the experience of nourishing yourself that made you pause and be. There. Here. And now.

It might seem silly, but this weekend, watching people gather at a Carousel of Nations and share food, I was reminded of that Talmudic story, and the sages who shared their wisdom some millennia ago, so that I may one day read and reflect.

It made me think a great deal about what it means to be a Jew in the world. Something I think is lost on most folks.

Being Jewish is like carrying a 6,000-year old-weight. It is the resolve of an ideal. A aspiration. A purpose.

To be a Jew in the world, the sages have said, is to participate in its healing.

According to Kabbalistic thought, the creation of the universe itself consisted of the destruction of the body of god, which given what is a pantheistic and asexual notion of other, is the universe itself.

So when each of us (and not just Jews) participate in acts of compassion, empathy, mindfulness, or ritual, (what are called in hebrew, mitzvot) the idea is that we are actively participate in putting back together the universe, and participating in its healing.

But what does it mean to connect self to other?

The value of a humanistic education, I was once told is that it reminds us of the patterns at play in the workings of the universe that most of us don’t want to look at. But if we want to bridge those cultural and emotional gaps: the differences in the ways each of us think about, know about, and be in the world. Then we need to talk to one another.

As a great rabbi once said to me: “If we want to work together, we must first understand one another. And if we want to understand one another, we have to talk to one another.”

Food can help each of us talk to ourselves, and to each other. It is a bridge, and though it might seem trivial, it can help to save and transform the world, one bite at a time.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Revelstoke council to hear first proposed cannabis store application

Starbuds would be located at 109 Connaught Ave.

Revelstoke father and daughter venture abroad to teach English

Columbia is trying to increase the number of English speakers

Cost of propane decreasing for FortisBC customers in Revelstoke

Propane will decrease to its lowest rate in two years

Winter logging planned near Revelstoke due to fir beetle

Woodlot 1834 is harvesting near Flowdown trail in Mt. McPherson area

It’s the last day to vote in B.C.’s referendum on electoral reform

Ballots must now be dropped off in person to meet the deadline of 4:30 p.m.

VIDEO: This B.C. school leads country in vaccine donations to UNICEF

Federally funded Kids Boost Immunity uses quizzes to earn vaccinations

UPDATE: Hedley residents will be without water for at least one week

Elevated levels of coliform and arsenic leave small town dry

Boeser scores 3, Pettersson has 5 points as Canucks hammer Blues

Vancouver picks up impressive 6-1 win in St. Louis

Cold case files: Murdered woman still unidentified after 44 years

Penticton RCMP releasing info on historical missing person and found human remains investigations

Okanagan Valley to see snow tonight

Environment Canada is calling for two-to-four centimetres of snow from Penticton to Salmon Arm

B.C. police stop drunk driver who offered up burger instead of ID

Roadblock checks over the weekend found at least two other impaired drivers

Being vegan during the holidays just got a little bit better

Cook up these delicious options during the holidays

In Canada, the term ‘nationalism’ doesn’t seem to have a bad rap. Here’s why

Data suggest that Canadians don’t see the concept of nationalism the way people do in the United States

Update: Sicamous and Tumbler Ridge neck and neck in the Sled Town Showdown

Both communities in the final round have amassed over 10,000 votes

Most Read