Today is Food Day, a nationwide movement to promote healthy, affordable, sustainable and fair food. Frisch’s Environmental Club and RealSchool's Health and Environment team decided to bring Food Day to Frisch. We all know that as Jews, food plays a major role in our lives. We just ﬁnished celebrating the Chagim [holidays] where all we seemed to do is eat. If you ask a non-Jew about what makes Jews different, dietary restrictions are usually high on the list. Not only do we have many laws about kashruth, we also have to say a berakha [blessing] before everything that goes into our mouths. We understand that kashruth keeps us separate and holy, and berakhot create in us an “attitude of gratitude.”
But why should Food Day -- a movement about healthy, affordable and sustainable food -- be important to our religious lives? Rambam in Hilchot Deot suggests one answer: “Since maintaining a healthy and sound body is among the ways of G-d, for one cannot understand or have any knowledge of the Creator if he is ill, therefore, one must avoid that which harms the body and accustom oneself to that which is healthy and helps the body become stronger.”
Our bodies are a gift from G-d and they are meant for the purpose of serving G-d. Therefore, it is our obligation to take good care of our bodies and to make sure that what we put into our bodies is good for us.
Not only do we have an obligation to keep our bodies healthy. Judaism also obligates us to make sure that we behave in a way that’s beneficial for the world. Two weeks ago we read Parashat Bereishit, where we recognize God as Creator and all of his creation as GOOD. We have an obligation therefore to keep God’s world in a good state, as God intended, and not to be wasteful of His works.
The Halakha [Jewish law], in fact, prohibits wasting. We are told not to waste resources; when we do, we violate the commandment of Bal Tashit [do not waste]. We are obligated to think about the ethics of how we obtain our food; if we are wasteful in how we make and consume our food, then we are being wasteful of the earth, of God’s creation.
Join the Environmental Club and RealSchool today in celebrating Food Day. We’ll be planting herbs during periods 6-7 and watching Food, Inc. after school tonight. The movie is about the ethics of food production. We hope today inspires you to be more aware of the kind of food you eat and to make healthier decisions for yourselves and our planet.