Thursday, October 01, 2015

Food, family, friends — meals as soulful devotions

For the Jewish Journal Robert Eshman writes "The Backyard Pilgrim" about building this year's sukkah to celebrate the pilgrimage festival: "Sukkot is the holiday in which we recall those booths — earthly or heavenly — by building huts of our own and eating our meals in them. Only a small fraction of Jews actually do this, which is a shame. 'He who has never seen the joy of Sukkot has never in his life seen joy,' the rabbis said in the Mishnah."

In this reflection he quotes Thomas Moore's Care of the Soul:
"Soulfulness, Thomas Moore writes in Care of the Soul, 'is tied to life in all its particulars — good food, satisfying conversation, genuine friends, and experiences that stay in the memory and touch the heart.'

For people of all faiths — and even the faithless — meals remain our primary and most satisfying form of devotion. When we make good food, sit with friends or even eat mindfully alone, the walk from our kitchen to our table is our pilgrimage. " 
Eshman concludes, "People wander the world to seek out shrines for cures, holy places that will center them, paths that will set them straight. After a week of walking between my kitchen and our rickety cloud of a sukkah, I can tell you: Don’t underestimate the holiness of that overlooked pilgrimage, a journey that will bring you some of the deepest blessings life has to offer, and that you can undertake each and every day. "