עדכונים מהבלוגהכניסו את כתובת המייל לקבלת עידכונים מהבלוג:
(Written by Uri Mayer-Chissick)
I am not an expert on Halacha. However, my post is going to deal with the way the Halacha deals with nutrition. I have learnt this subject from Rabies that I met – the subject is complicated and fascinating.
The people that come to my lectures and foraging tours are varied, and often include – people with a religious background or from religious communities. A few years ago, when I was leading a course on healthy cooking in one of the religious Kibbutzim, the question of the Halachaic connection arose. A Rabi and a headmaster of a regional school – a man I learnt to respect and admire – was there. I was telling my usual stories, and he was surprised to hear of the quantities of poison that the average person allows in his body. Later, I met him in the street, accompanied be friends. He pointed at me and said: “do you see him? He is more religious than we are”.
This surprised me and made me think.
Later, I read what Maimonides wrote on the subject. Maimonides relates the subject of looking after your health to the mitzvah “ונשמרתם מאוד לנפשותיכם” which originates in the Torah, and weighs as the Halachot of keeping Shabbat. Its meaning – according to Maimonides – is: “Because being healthy in body is one of God’s ways, as it is impossible to learn and understand God’s will when one is ill – one should move away from things that harm the body, and use (eat) things that strengthen and improve one’s health”. As is well known, Maimonides is a very important authority and creator of Halachaic rules, and he preaches to keep your body from harm. However, we know that natural healthy nutrition does not count as a Halacha nowadays, and that many people who lead their lives according to the Halacha put sweetened drinks and white-flour challa (Shabbat bread) on the Shabbat table, and treat their children lovingly with sweets.
As pointed earlier, I am not an expert on Halacha. Therefore, I challenged a few religious friends with this dilemma: what is the difference between healthy eating and keeping Shabbat, if they are both ruled by Maimonides?
As a matter of fact, the mitzvah as Maimonides interpreted does not deal with nutrition only, but with healthy way of love too. A few years ago, in a conference on Maimonides in Tiberias, one of the lecturers, a doctor from Yeshiva Hospital in New York, declared that a Rabi who goes out of a shi’ur (study session) to smoke a cigarette, should be denied his rabbinical permit.
I met a Chabadnik friend this week who deals with plants. We sat and talked. I raised the question of Halacha via nutrition and asked why do they eat so much junk food in the Chabad houses. I said: “We are both religious – only you chose to keep the Shabat rules, while I chose other mitzvoth do as ‘Take ye therefore good heed unto yourselves’ “. He agreed, and told me that in the book “Sha’arei Ha’emuna” (that presents a collection of rules and lectures of the Lubavitch Rabi) the Rabi actualy makes a similar interpretation, based on Maimonides interpretations. The Lubavitch Rabi writes (chapter 42) that it is a Halacha that a person should keep his health as best he can and as is known in his time.
Well, we now know, beyond any doubt, that white flour and sugar are harmful, thus their consumption is forbidden.
However, he said, you can’t expect a poor family to eat healthy food. Maybe, I retorted, but if the Rabi Ovadia Yosef would decide that it is important to eat healthy food and that it is a condition for his Kashrut Certificate – then healthy food would not be so expensive.