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Emotional eating, holy eating


Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

Eating is one of the essential necessities of life and it's one of the main subjects of this week's Torah portion. Here we are reminded which animals are permissible (kosher) and which are not permissible (non-kosher) to eat. That we must always make sure the Levite, the stranger, the orphan, and the widow "come and eat and be satisfied," and that we observe the mitzvah of eating matzah on Pesach.
Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak HaCohen Kook describes the consequences of eating properly, on the one hand, and of overeating on the other: "Eating moderately and in holiness sanctifies the human being and the world, and brings joy into our lives. Sadness leads to overeating and sluggishness, to anger and despair, to a soul filled with sorrow."
Today, overeating is described as "emotional eating." We live in an era of processed and sugar-laden food, extreme diets, boutique restaurants, and non-stop cooking shows and reality TV cooking competitions. In the midst of this obsession with food, Rabbi Kook draws our attention to healthy eating, which is an aspect of holiness. Our attitude toward food can be self-destructive, but it can also sanctify the world. Bon appetit.


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