29/30 March 2024, 20 Adar II 5784

Tzav is interested in the distinction between what is offered and what is eaten. The fat of ox, sheep or goat – all kosher animals – cannot be eaten. In this portion, Torah goes on to investigate what can be eaten.

I suppose we are starting to imagine here ritual meals separate from or alongside sacrificial offerings.

I like this. Post biblical – post priestly ritual – we have to find different ways to engage with these descriptions of animal flesh. We know that gathering to eat is a major part of Jewish communal life. I have loved hosting Shabbat at the Rabbi’s meals in the community, not just Chavurah suppers in the building, which are always fun, but me (and often Anthony too) cooking and preparing Shabbat lunch or Friday night dinner and a few of us eating around my kitchen table. I like investing time and effort in what we eat, which only adds to our conversation and togetherness. Eating together is a key Jewish experience. We are planning our FPS seder 23rd April menu right now. (Remember to book).

We create our own contemporary Ohel Moeid, tent of meeting, for the people we care about. I like cooking my grandmother’s roast chicken recipe for meat eaters, and going rogue into Ottolenghi vegetable recipes for our vegetarian guests.

See what you think of this blessing written by Leah Koenig and Anna Stevenson called the ‘Cooking Bracha’:

“Blessed are You
Creator of the world
Who brings forth fruit from the Earth.
Blessed are You,
Who gives us knowledge of cooking and time to cook
And who has blessed us with the need for nourishment
so that we can fully understand Your gifts.
May it be Your will
That the food that I cook
Bring nourishment, fulfillment, and happiness
to those who eat it
And bring honour to the land and all the people that make this meal possible.”

Here’s to more meals together and remember to book in for the next one Shabbat lunch on 27 April in my kitchen

This Shabbat we will be praying for:

Ron Benjamin
Yair and Eitan Horn
Yarden, Shiri, Ariel and Kfir Bibas