From Forbidden Fruit to Milk and Honey

Rabbi Ari Enkin • Torah Book Reviews

Forbidden Fruit web 2

Hearing about this release certainly “whet my appetite” to get my hands on it. A parsha book that focuses exclusively on food in the Torah was a cool idea, I thought. Although many might mistakenly believe that the Jewish love affair with food originated at the turn of the 20th century in the Delicatessens of the Lower East Side, this book shows that the Jewish love affair with food extends back to the Bible, and by extension, the first days of Creation.

The book includes one chapter for every parsha. Each chapter begins with a general 2-4-page essay on the theme of food in the parsha that is submitted by a different author each time. Following the opening essay, Diana Lipton selects a number of excerpts from the parsha relating to food and shares her thoughts and commentary on what we can learn from these verses. Many of these opening essays and commentaries are truly eye opening. Even those who know the weekly Torah portions quite well may be surprised to learn of all the hidden food and mealtime connections that there really are!

Although this is not a “normative” parsha book, as it includes thoughts and writings from authors of different backgrounds, often drawing on secular and alternative sources, from what I have seen, there is nothing objectionable for the orthodox reader. In today’s market, where parsha books are overflowing and competing for a limited readership, this book is to be commended for it’s very original and unique angle. Who isn’t interested in food? And for this, I salute it.

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