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Parshat Beshalach – February 12, 2012

Note: Both recipes are up – see below.

This week’s Torah portion includes some spectacular moments. Hashem parts the sea for B’nei Yisrael, the sea closes on the pursuing Egyptians, Moshe and Miriam sing a song of praise for G-d with the entire nation, G-d sweetens the waters of Marah, Moshe brings water from a rock, manna rains down every morning, and quails are available every night.

So many miracles. So many recipes.

So little time.

The first one is based on Pasuk, (Shemot 15:24). After three days of wandering in the desert without water they arrive at Marah where B’nai Ysrael complain that they can’t drink the water because it’s bitter.

G-d showed him a tree and he threw it into the water, and the water became sweet.

There’s a Chassidic tradition that says, because they — the Children of Israel — were bitter, everything they tasted was bitter to them.

The Zohar describes the tree as  actually being the Tree of Life whereas the Midrash says it was bitter to the point of poisonous. This contradiction is explained by Rabbi Schneerson, the 7th Lubavitcher rebbe as representing the different stages of overcoming evil. Controlling behaviour while still experiencing evil urges is the first step that leads to eliminating these urges and then ultimately channeling them to do good. The tree thrown in the water transforms the water from bad to good, representing G-d’s desire for us to change the physical world to a spiritual one.

Shemot 15:25 God showed him a tree; he threw it into the water, and the water became sweet

This recipe is a literal interpretation of Moshe throwing a tree inside the water and transforming it to sweetness.

Lemon Grass Lemonade

  • three stalks of lemon grass, rinsed, checked, and cut in half, lengthwise
  • eight cups water
  • one cup sugar (adjustable to taste)
  • one cup bottled lemon juice
  • one lemon, sliced

Mix ingredients in translucent or clear pitcher, and place in fridge a few hours before serving.  If you can’t get lemon grass, use mint or peppermint as a substitute. The drink will still be lemony and refreshing, and most of all, will have the tree-in-water effect. Add ice right before serving.

Recipe Number 2: Miriam’s Drum

Shemot 15:20. Miriam, the prophetess, Aaron’s sister, took a timbrel in her hand, and all the women came out after her with timbrels and with dances.

According to the Mechilta, Moshe sang and the Israelites sang back to him. Then Miriam, his sister sang to the women and they responded. Why did the women have ‘timbrels’ or ‘drums’ (Hebrew word: ‘Tof’). It was because they were so sure that they would witness God’s miracles. So they took their instruments out of Egypt. I assumed the translation of “Tof” is drum, but I see it also translated as ‘timbrel’ or tambourine. I’ve done the cake as ‘drum’ but it can easily by done as a tambourine by horizontally attaching Oreo-type cookies around the sides of the cake.

Miriam, the prophetess...took a drum in her hand, and all the women came out after her with timbrels and with dances.

Miriam’s Drum Cake

(this can be done as a tambourine by horizontally attaching Oreo-type cookies around the sides of the cake.

I’m rushing off to the OLA Super Conference now so I’ll just post the most important part of this recipe. The cake is a basic chocolate one with a butter cream icing on the sides. The top (when done properly, not the way I did it this morning as I’m rushing to get to the conference) is a beautiful and smooth glaze.

  • 1 part margarine
  • 2 parts chocolate chips
  • optional: 1 teaspoon vanilla flavouring

Melt in a microwave for 30 – 60 seconds. Pour on the top of cake and allow to drip down sides.

Have a great Shabbos and Betayavon!

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