Feed Your Other BodyAug 13th, 2010 | By Adam
We were fortunate to have Donna Sonkin as a guest lecturer this week on the topic of holistic nutrition. We learned a lot about the beneficial effects of “real food” on the body and also what happens when we feed ourselves bad stuff. Did you know that Judaism teaches that we are all in possession of not just one, but two complete bodies that both need nourishment?
Judaism has long maintained that there is a revealed and a concealed side to all that we see and that a human being is no different. From this perspective it would follow that it is equally as important to feed one’s inner body (soul) just as carefully as the outer. What is it that harms the outer body? Junk! “Food-like substances” as Michael Pollan calls them. It looks like food and tastes like it…but it’s not! The chemical properties of an orange jaw-breaker and an orange have nothing to do with each other. So too, our soul body becomes ill when it’s fed junk…negative emotions, confused philosophies, lack of meaning and the like. The cardinal rule for real food eating is that new fangled is usually not good. If your great grandmother didn’t eat it then you probably shouldn’t either and this holds remarkably true for spiritual information as well. The inner body thrives on unity, love, altruism and a deep connection with the Infinite and when it does not get these becomes “anemic” and unhappy.
Many people believe that the rules of Kashrut (Kosher laws) are health-based and thus have no current applicability. While it may be true that eating according to kosher standards does have some health and other ancillary benefits, the truth of the matter is that it is a purely spiritual discipline-one that is designed to effect your “inner body” more than your outer. Kabbalah explains that the life force contained within food effects ours and sometimes our inner bodies can “digest” it and sometimes not. Food that we can not spiritually assimilate is called “asur” or bound, ie: the light within it can not be untied and used by the inner body. Interestingly we are taught that the most famous non-kosher animal, the pig, may not be eaten not because it’s dirty or carries certain diseases, but because the light within it is too high for the soul to process. We are also taught that in the future, as we evolve spiritually, it will return to its original state of permissibility. Therefore it is called the “chazir”-the returner.
Last thought. In order to release the light/life force even within permitted animals, a specific process of ending the function of the animals outer body is required. It’s called “shechita” and as it happens, it is provably the most humane method available as it causes blood loss through the Vertebral and Carotid Arteries simultaneously causing loss of consciousness within 2 seconds. Amazingly, this is only possible with kosher animals who always have these two arteries linked. In non kosher animals they are separate and therefore would significantly delay loss of consciousness.
Tell me that’s not cool. Maybe these ideas aren’t so antiquated afterall…