Apr 28, 2005

why is this night different than all other nights...

so it's pesach, passover, whatever one wishes to call it, yet another of the "we were slaves, we survived, lets eat (and drink)!" holidays that we jews seem to enjoy in abundance

this one has an extra limitation, however
for a little over a week it's customary to abstain from leavened bread, which is extrapolated for some to ...bread, for the more observant sephardic jews: grains, and for certain sects all grains plus corn, rice, legumes

I could go on at length about these limitations, and their history, but really, who has the time?

so we have a seder, that supplies a long symbolic ritualistic meal to educate those involved in the holiday, and don't eat "bread"
one of the many things you have to do for the seder is pass around hard boiled eggs, so you end up peeling MANY MANY eggshells
thus this beautiful picture, supplied without permission, or rather stolen, from a certain Mr. Brenman

but I digress from the topic it hand...
which is dietary restrictions

anyone who has spent time with me at a restaurant or bar knows that I have many, self-imposed, dietary restrictions
they are not religious, but they are certainly ideological
not exactly being a creature of restrain, many have commented in surprise at this, marveled at my restraint, at times, or scoffed at why I might makes things so difficult for myself
but what they don't seem to understand is that limiting or eliminating my consumption of a variety of food products is hardly difficult
I grew up with a variety of religious dietary restrictions due my families religious beliefs, so this does not seem unnatural to me or difficult. In fact, I can not imagine a world in which I didn't wonder at the ingredients, or in which I would order anything on the menu. It doesn't seem weird, or frustrating to not be able to have a cheeseburger or to question if the soup is dairy based. It's just what I do, and what I choose to do.

except every year when passover comes around. then, suddenly, i am actually at a loss for what to eat.
i can hardly go out, i can't have a beer, and really really miss my oatmeal. i loose at least a few lbs every passover.

so why do i do it? for exactly that reason
no, not to torture myself, not to make life more difficult, but to make life more deliberate. it takes thought and restraint to manipulate one's diet to express a belief or ideology. it has become easy enough for me to be mostly a vegetarian. i don't think much about throwing down money for organic anymore. it takes contemplative effort for me to put down the bagel, and i do it because i still consider myself a jew, i still subscribe to certain ideologic principals, and it is an enormous part of my identity

i have always enjoyed the notion of controlling one's diet, be it ritual fasts, or vegetarianism, or eating organic, or even slow eating, to reflect one's values. what is more intrinsic to life than food? it's what we take in...it's what we absorb on every level: we need food for social purposes, health purposes, livelihood.
i am not saying that eating should become a joyless, mechanical measure, or something we should obsess over. nothing of the sort, food should be enjoyed, ideally with someone you love and a nice glass of wine
but, i simply meanthat conscientious living can be facilitated by making explicit choices to live your life in accordance with your values, and that working such choices into something you do several times a day, with others and alone is a darn good way to physically integrate your intellectual beliefs down to the biological level.


heydt said...


Go shabot, its your pesach...

daff0dil said...