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Posts Tagged ‘Israel’

This is not an easy post to write, for we are not living in easy times.

I try to keep politics out of the kitchen, but indeed it is the political situation in Israel right now that kept me from posting a recipe this past weekend. My family went up North (we had planned the vacation a long time ago as my in-laws came to visit) and we did not intend to cancel. In truth, we thought we would be safer in the North of Israel, considering what was going on in the rest of the country. We managed to evade many air-raid sirens, but even as we spent the weekend cocooned in apple and apricot orchards, Israel was attached from the North – from Lebanon. And then we drove to the Golan, again, thinking to take our family out of harm’s way, and then a rocket fell from Syria.

And indeed, though I am currently blogging about the Prophets, the only thing in my mind was a line from Psalm 27: “Though a host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war should rise up against me, even then will I be confident.” But it isn’t easy to be confident. And it isn’t easy to read the second chapter of Joel either.

I’ll give you a taste:

Heaven and Earth Potatoes 1

Joel 2:2 “A day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, as blackness spread upon the mountains…”
Joel 2:3 “A fire devoureth before them, and behind them a flame blazeth…”
Joel 2:8 “Neither doth one thrust another, they march every one in his highway; and they break through the weapons…”

And this: (Joel 2:10) “Before them the earth quaketh, the heavens tremble; the sun and the moon are become black, and the stars withdraw their shining.”

And that is exactly what I feel like here, what we all feel like. Caught between heaven and earth, between rockets from above and tunnels from below, between the practicality of life here and our belief in God, and sometimes it feels like there is no hope, that there will never be an end to this conflict.

But in Joel there is hope, and this is a message to us all, even when we feel caught between heaven and earth: (Joel 2:13) “rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God; for He is gracious and compassionate, long-suffering, and abundant in mercy…”

And finally: “Then was the LORD jealous for His land, and had pity on His people.” (Joel 2:18)

It is all we can do. Yes, there are armies and tanks and iron-dome systems down here on earth, but if we do not turn to heaven and trust in the Lord of this land, of all lands, then every army in the world will not save us.

This is a food blog after all, so please forgive me, but this is how I feel and I think how many of us feel. We would not live in this land if we did not have faith: a connection to the land, the very earth we live on, the Land of Israel, but also a firm belief in the heavens that protect us.

Heaven and Earth Potatoes

Heaven and Earth Potatoes 4

The traditional Dutch and German versions of this recipe call for a topping of both fried onion and bacon or sausage. The blandness of the potatoes and the tartness of the apples is supposed to represent the contrast between heaven and earth, the golden brown onions and the dusting of cinnamon also provide a heaven-and-earth type of color contrast.

3 potatoes, peeled and sliced
1 tsp. salt
3 apples, peeled and sliced
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 tsp. vinegar
4 Tbsp. butter or margarine
1 onion, finely sliced
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. cinnamon

Cook potatoes in boiling salted water for 7 minutes, add the apple slices and continue to simmer until both potatoes and apples are soft. Drain thoroughly, mash and add sugar and vinegar to taste. Fry onion in 4 tablespoons of butter or margarine and cook until golden brown. Season potato and apple mash with salt and pepper, to taste. Top with onions and cinnamon.

Heaven and Earth Potatoes 3

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“And Israel (Jacob) loved Joseph more than all his sons, because he was a son of his old age; and he made him a ketonet passim.” (Genesis 37:3)

Questions: What do you think Joseph’s “ktonet passim” looked like? Why do you think that Jacob gave it to him? Why was Joseph dubbed “the son of his old age” – isn’t Benjamin even younger? Maybe Benjamin wasn’t born yet?

Ideas: Multi-colored cookies (with rainbow sprinkles) or striped candy, a striped vegetable platter (slice multicolored vegetables into long strips and arrange nicely on a platter), set the table with a richly embroidered tablecloth or use striped napkins to decorate your table, however I must request that you not attempt to combine wool and linen at your table somehow – even if it will heal a family feud.

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“And God brought us to this place, and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey.” (Deuteronomy 26:9)

Questions: Why is it that the land of Israel is repeatedly referred to as the land of milk and honey? Why not cattle and sheep, fruits, grain and wine – all of which are mentioned in connection with the land of Israel as well?

Ideas: Serve hot steamed milk and flavor it with honey. Put honey on top of ice cream, or make honey ice cream! Add honey to your yogurt or even add it to your coffee with the milk!

ice cream

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“And it will be, when the Lord, your God, brings you to the land He swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob, to give you, great and good cities that you did not build, and houses full of all good things that you did not fill, and hewn cisterns that you did not hew, vineyards and olive trees that you did not plant, and you will eat and be satisfied.” (Deuteronomy 6:10–11)

Questions: What warning is Moses trying to give the Israelites here? What is he afraid of? Why this list of things that were not done? And why will they eat and be satisfied anyway? How important is it to have faith?

Ideas: Serve grapes, grape jam/jello, grape juice or good wine, olives, olive oil, or an olive spread.

Olives wine

 

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‘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 and they also took some pomegranates and figs.’ (Numbers 13:23)

Questions: Why do you think the spies chose these fruits specifically? Why did they choose gigantic fruits rather than bring back more normal sized examples? What could their motive have been? Is it ever good to speak badly of something or someone? Does it matter if we speak negatively about inanimate objects? What power do words have?

Ideas: Put out a bowl of grapes, dried figs and pomegranates (or pomegranate juice if you can’t find fresh pomegranates) to represent the fruit the spies returned with from the Land of Israel. Or put out fruit that is native to your land. Make sure to praise the fruit!

Image

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