Tag Archives: orange

Parshat Toldot

In this last week’s Parsha, (I’ve had heavy-duty technical problems with the blog that kept eating up my posts) Yitzchak has become tremendously wealthy. He’s dug up some of his father Avraham’s wells that had been stuffed up by the Philistines who eventually become so jealous of his success that they ask him to leave. Yitzchak then re-settles in the Gerar valley where his servants dig two new wells. The ownership of those wells are contested by the Philistines so they dig a third well which was uncontested. Yitzchak calls the well ‘Rechovot.’ “He named it Rehoboth, and he said, “For now the Lord has made room for us, and we will be fruitful in the land.”

According to the Ramban, those first two wells allude to the first two Temples, which were destroyed by Israel’s enemies. The third well represents the future Third Temple which will be established without hostility and strife. “G-d will then broaden our boundaries and all nations will serve Him in unison.”

The image of Rechovot and fruitfulness conjures up an image of the modern Israeli city of Rechovot – where my brother and sister-in-law live.  Although it is apparently not the same location as Yitzchak’s well, it reminded me of an image I had of the city the first time I visited it. The main boulevards were covered with rows of orange trees that were bursting with fruit.

An orange tree on a Rechovot street. Photo courtesy of Stephen Epstein.

An orange tree on a Rechovot street. Photo courtesy of Stephen Epstein.

The closest thing I’ve seen to a public fruit tree here in Canada, is a chestnut tree at the entrance to our local park. I tried baking those chestnuts one year and they were completely bitter.

In any case, the image of fruit and fruitfulness and the memories of Rechovot inspired me to do an orange-related recipe. So here it is – Orange Cranberry Muffins.

Bereishit 26:22 22. And he moved away from there, and he dug another well, and they did not quarrel over it; so he named it Rehoboth, and he said, "For now the Lord has made room for us, and we will be fruitful in the land."

Bereishit 26:22 22. And he moved away from there, and he dug another well, and they did not quarrel over it; so he named it Rehoboth, and he said, “For now the Lord has made room for us, and we will be fruitful in the land.”

Healthy-ish Orange Cranberry Muffins

  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 3/4 cup Splenda (or if those chemicals give you the willies, use 1 cup brown sugar)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/4 cup almond or soy milk
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup cranberries (not Craisins)

Place batter in paper-lined muffin tins and bake at 400 F for 20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Enjoy!

B’tayavon and I hope you had a great Shabbos.

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Parshat Chayei Sarah

This week’s Parsha offers the story of Avraham’s servant Eliyahu searching for a ‘shidduch’ for Yitzchak. Eliezer asks God for a sign that Yitzchak’s intended should display chessed by offering him to drink. As soon as Elizer arrives in Nachor, he immediately meets Rivka, whose kindness and modesty goes above and beyond his test. They return to Rivka’s house and by the next morning, the deal is sealed and he begins his journey with Rivka back to Avraham.

The story is not a long one but is told in tremendous detail – 67 p’sukim to be exact. Chazal were puzzled by the amount of space devoted to this interaction, given that the wording of the Torah is usually so economical. One of the answers is found in Breishit Rabbah 60:

The conversation of the patriarch’s servants is superior to the Torah of the descendants” 

That poses a further question though. Is the everyday conversation of the Avot actually more significant than the Torah and its law? Rav Kook answers this.

These ‘conversations’ of the Avot (patriarchs) were also a form of Torah. This Torah was more elevated than the later Torah of their descendants, as it reflected the extraordinary holiness and nobility of these spiritual giants. Rav Kook explains that the reason Chazal referred to their words as ‘conversations’ was because that’s a term that refers to natural speech. He writes that

“the Torah of the Avot was like a conversation, flowing naturally from the inner sanctity of their lives and aspirations. Holy ideals permeated the day-to-day world of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to such a degree that these ideals were manifest even in the everyday discourse of their servants.”

The Torah of their descendants, on the other hand, lacks this natural spontaneity. It is a more conscious process that’s dependent on law to control all aspects of our lives. So the words and deeds of the Avot and Imahot are like living Torah, inspirational, and beloved by Hashem.

This week’s recipe is related to Eliezer’s deed in relation to negotiating for Rivkah’s hand in marriage. It says in Genesis  24:53. And the servant took out silver articles and golden articles and garments, and he gave [them] to Rebecca, and he gave delicacies to her brother and to her mother.

This was clearly a disappointment to Lavan, Rivkah’s brother. According to Rashi these delicacies refer to sweet fruits (מְגָדִים), that Eliezer had brought with him from the Land of Israel.

Since the most well-known fruit export from Israel is the orange I’ve chosen a recipe incorporating oranges.

Genesis 24:53 And the servant took out silver articles and golden articles and garments, and he gave them to Rivka, and he gave delicacies (fruit) to her brother and to her mother.

Citrus Spinach Salad

  • spinach
  • red onion, sliced
  • sliced oranges or canned mandarins
  • handful of soy nuts

Dressing:

  • 3/4 cup oil
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 teaspoons Dijon salad
  • 3 teaspoons honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Mix and dress salad right before serving.

B’tayavon and have a great Shabbos!

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