Category Archives: Shelach

Parshat Shelach

In Bamidbar 15:38-39 God says to Moshe:

“Speak to the children of Israel and you shall say to them that they shall make for themselves fringes on the corners of their garments, throughout their generations, and they shall affix a thread of sky blue [wool] on the fringe of each corner.  This shall be fringes for you, and when you see it, you will remember all the commandments of the Lord to perform them.”

First of all, lets take a look at Tzitzit. (fringes or tassels)

 Rav Kook has a beautiful vort about the connection between Tzitzit and the soul. He explains that the soul functions on three levels: a) the actual soul, b) the soul’s character traits (compassion, tolerance, humility, etc) and c) the soul’s actions and conduct.

The deepest level is the actual soul. It’s completely removed from the physical world and can only be seen through the second two levels, characteristics and actions. The character traits act as the soul’s ‘clothing’ or ‘garment’ and indicate the deeper nature of the soul.

The last level of the soul are our actions. Our actions and behaviour are reflections of our character traits, and like the Tzitzit that emanate from the four corners of a garment, they represent endless variations and possibilities.

One thing we must remember, just as people judge us based on the choice of clothing, we are evaluated based on our traits. Like clothing though, they are external and can be changed.

Let’s talk about  Techelet, the dyed sky-blue thread which is a the stunning shade of indigo. According to the most recent research, the  source of the ancient Techelet dye was the murex trunculus snail.

According to Rav Kook the colour is reminscent of the sublime; the oceans, the sky, and God’s Holy Throne (Sotah 17a):

Sky-blue is the background color of the universe. The techelet thread connects us to the very Source of life, from whom all forces flow. Together with the other threads, which correspond to the color of the garment and represent the diverse range of human activity, the techelet thread complements and completes the function of the tassels.

The Torah teaches that the mitzvah of wearing tzitzit corresponds to all 613 mitzvot:  By wearing a garment with these special tassels, we envelop our souls in the Torah’s magnificent fabric of values and deeds.

Here’s a recipe that’s inspired by the colour blue, although this colour obviously does not come close to the sublime nature of  Techelet.

Bamidbar/Numbers 15;38 Speak to the Israelites and tell them to to make tassels (tzitzit) on the corners of their garments for all generations. They shall include a thread of sky-blue [wool] in the corner tassels.

Bamidbar/Numbers 15;38 Speak to the Israelites and tell them to to make tassels (tzitzit) on the corners of their garments for all generations. They shall include a thread of sky-blue [wool] in the corner tassels.

The dressing is such a beautiful colour, plus Merav really enjoyed it! (Hello, Merav!)

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Spinach  Salad with Blueberry Poppy Seed Dressing

Spinach Salad:

  • 1 bag of spinach
  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 package enoki mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts, or blanched almond slices
  • 1/2 cup grape tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1/3 – 1/2 cup blueberries

Layer above ingredients in the order of the recipe.

Blueberry Poppy Seed Dressing:

  • 1/3 cup sugar, (next time I’m going to try this with Stevia/xylitol. If you’re interested in the results leave a comment or shoot me an email)
  • 1/3 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 tsp garlic
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup  oil
  • 1/4 cup blueberries
  • 2 tablespoons poppy seeds

Puree ingredients in food processor. Drizzle on salad and enjoy!

B’tayavon and have a great Shabbos!

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Parshat Shelach – June 16, 2012

So this was a week where I actually thought I could post the recipe on Wednesday night. (Sorry Marilyn, I was thinking of your Thursday morning Parsha class.) I knew what the D’var Torah would be and had the ingredients for the recipe ready to go. But you see dear reader, I made a terrible mistake. I had a horrendous allergy attack that lasted for an hour so I took a ‘daytime’ anti-histamine.

Friends: Learn from my mistake!

DO NOT BELIEVE THE BOX WHEN IT SAYS ‘DAYTIME.’ It was only after I took the pill that I noticed that it also said, ‘may cause drowsiness’ as well as ‘don’t drive.’

I fell asleep at 9:30 am. When I woke up I tried going to the gym but I could barely lift my legs. I fell asleep in the afternoon again. After dinner I lay down to ‘rest’ for two minutes… I woke up in the next morning with my clothes on. Ewww.

I essentially took a sleeping pill first thing in the morning.

Rant over.

Anyhow, back to the Parsha. This week’s Parsha gives the dramatic account of God allowing Moshe to send scouts to the land of Israel to survey it before the nation of Israel will enter. In Bamidbar 13:23

They came to the Valley of Eshkol and they cut a branch with a cluster of grapes. They carried it on a pole between two people

Rashi comments that two poles were used. Eight of the spies took the cluster of grapes, one had a fig, and one had a pomegranate. That totals ten out of the twelve scouts. The remaining two: Yehoshua and Calev didn’t take anything. This confirms that the intention of the ten spies was to bring back a terrifying and slanderous report about the land. The fruit was extraordinary, so imagine how gigantic the people are!

Midrash Rabbah adds that they prefaced their fear-mongering with the words, ‘the land does indeed flow with milk and honey…’ Such is the way with gossip – start off with something positive and then get to the evil.

In this week’s recipe we’ll celebrate the extraordinary bounty and gift of the produce of Eretz Yisrael. And let’s be honest – we all know that the fruit and veggies taste a thousand times better in Israel!

Orzo, Grape, and Almond Salad

  • 2 cups orzo, cooked
  • 1 cup red grapes, halved
  • 1 cup almonds
  • 1 cup basil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • oil for sauteing
  • lemon juice to taste
  • salt and pepper to taste

Saute almonds with garlic, basil, and oil until they have a nice golden colour. Add to the pasta. Season with lemon juice and salt and pepper. Add grapes.

B’tayavon and have a great Shabbos!

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