January 16, 2015

Every week, Jody Hirsh, the JCC's Judaic Education Director, provides a Judaic message that is featured at the top of the JCC's weekly email newsletter. Below is the Shabbat message for Friday, January 16, 2015. 


The basic stuff of any meal is BREAD! In English, we epitomize the connection/friendship/bonding with other people by “breaking bread together.” The word “companion” comes from the Latin meaning “with bread” [com = with; pan = bread]. In the Jewish tradition, any meal which includes bread is a full-fledged meal. Therefore special blessings are said before eating the bread, and after an “official” meal, official meaning any meal with bread in it.

Even the blessing for bread is wonderful and mysterious:

Baruch Attah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech HaOlam, HaMotzi Lechem min HaAretz.

Blessed are you, Adonai our God, Ruler of the Universe who brings fort bread from the earth.

Think about it? Does bread come directly from the earth? Can it be possible that God actually creates bread from the earth? No. Who invented bread? It is truly astonishing. Who discovered that mixing wheat and water and cooking it would create something delicious. And who refined it knowing that it had to be refined by kneading it, forming it in loaves, and baking it. The Jewish tradition says that the creation of bread is a partnership between God and humans. Nature, in fact, creates the raw materials of bread: wheat, water, yeast. But we can only have bread once the raw materials are taken by human beings and mixed, kneaded, and cooked. It is a true partnership between the divine world and the human world.

Shabbat Shalom