Chicken Soup for Shabbat Nachamu…

As Tish’a Be’Av nears its end, the daily Talmud page brings an encounter of a group of sages from Israel and Babylon who tease each other over their different foods. It’s best to just look at it in the original (Shabbat 145:b – from Sefaria):

גמרא שנינו במשנה שדבר שבושל בחמין מערב שבת — שורין אותו בחמין בשבת. ושואלים: דבר שכבר בושל בערב שבת וצריך להשרותו שוב בחמין בשבת כגון מאי [מה]? ולשם מה צריך בישול נוסף זה? אמר רב ספרא: כגון תרנגולתא [התרנגולת] של ר’ אבא. שלצורך רפואה היו מבשלים תרנגולת פעמים רבות כל כך עד שנימוחה ונמסה לגמרי ואמר רב ספרא: זימנא חדא איקלעית להתם, ואוכלן מיניה [פעם אחת הזדמנתי לשם והאכיל אותי ממנה, מתרנגולת כזו], ואי [ואם] לא ר’ אבא דאשקיין חמרא בר תלתא טרפי [שהשקני יין בן שלשה עלים, שלוש שנים] — איתנסי [הייתי אנוס להקיא].

GEMARA: We learned in the mishna that an item that was cooked before Shabbat may be soaked in hot water on Shabbat. The Gemara asks: In what case would soaking in hot water be required after the item was already cooked? Rav Safra said: In the case of the chicken of Rabbi Abba, which for medical reasons was cooked so thoroughly that it completely dissolved. And Rav Safra said: One time I happened to come there and he fed me chicken prepared that way, and if not for the fact that Rabbi Abba gave me three-leaf-, i.e., year, old wine to drink, I would have been forced to vomit.

מסופר כי ר’ יוחנן רייק [היה יורק] מכותח (תבשיל עשוי מחלב ופירורי לחם) דבבלאי [הבבלי], כשהיה נזכר בו, מחמת גועל. אמר רב יוסף: ולירוק אנן מתרנגולתא [ושנירק אנחנו מן התרנגולת] של ר’ אבא, שהיא מאוסה יותר, בעיני יושבי בבל. ועוד, הרי אמר רב גזא: זימנא חדא איקלעית להתם, ועבדית [פעם אחת הזדמנתי לשם, לארץ ישראל, ועשיתי] כותח דבבלאי [הבבלי], שאילו מיניה כל בריחי מערבא [וביקשו ממני כל חולי ארץ ישראל] נמצא שאינו מאוס בעיני כל בני הארץ.

The Gemara relates that Rabbi Yoḥanan would spit from the thought of Babylonian kutaḥ, because he found it so disgusting. Rav Yosef said: Then we should spit from the thought of Rabbi Abba’s chicken, which is even more disgusting to people from Babylonia. And furthermore, Rav Gaza said: On one occasion I happened to come there, to Eretz Yisrael, and I prepared Babylonian kutaḥ, and all of the sick people of the West, Eretz Yisrael, asked me for it. Apparently, not everyone in Eretz Yisrael found it disgusting.

We wonder when this is ever going to be over, the teasing, bickering of various groups from within, the us and them. Recent events as well as recent history challenge it again and again… Will it?

But the Shabbat after the day we commemorate the destruction of the Temple, is called Shabbat Nachamu, the Shabbat of Comfort. The destruction was beyond awful, as was all the ensued – exile, slavery, torture, executions, expulsion, on and on, all the way to the Holocaust, and yet, we’re here. In a strange way, even that is a proof we’re part of an eternal living covenant with the Holy One. As Yehuda Amichai says in one of his poems: והבית נסגר בערב על הטוב והרע שבו “and the home is closed up at night, with the good and the bad in it”. This is our home with Hashem: all is still inside the same deal we were told about long ago and far away, right in this week’s Torah portion (Deuteronomy 4:4-40):

רַ֡ק הִשָּׁ֣מֶר לְךָ֩ וּשְׁמֹ֨ר נַפְשְׁךָ֜ מְאֹ֗ד פֶּן־תִּשְׁכַּ֨ח אֶת־הַדְּבָרִ֜ים אֲשֶׁר־רָא֣וּ עֵינֶ֗יךָ וּפֶן־יָס֙וּרוּ֙ מִלְּבָ֣בְךָ֔ כֹּ֖ל יְמֵ֣י חַיֶּ֑יךָ וְהוֹדַעְתָּ֥ם לְבָנֶ֖יךָ וְלִבְנֵ֥י בָנֶֽיךָ׃

But take utmost care and watch yourselves scrupulously, so that you do not forget the things that you saw with your own eyes and so that they do not fade from your mind as long as you live. And make them known to your children and to your children’s children:

…….

וְהֵפִ֧יץ יְהוָ֛ה אֶתְכֶ֖ם בָּעַמִּ֑ים וְנִשְׁאַרְתֶּם֙ מְתֵ֣י מִסְפָּ֔ר בַּגּוֹיִ֕ם אֲשֶׁ֨ר יְנַהֵ֧ג יְהוָ֛ה אֶתְכֶ֖ם שָֽׁמָּה׃

The LORD will scatter you among the peoples, and only a scant few of you shall be left among the nations to which the LORD will drive you.

וַעֲבַדְתֶּם־שָׁ֣ם אֱלֹהִ֔ים מַעֲשֵׂ֖ה יְדֵ֣י אָדָ֑ם עֵ֣ץ וָאֶ֔בֶן אֲשֶׁ֤ר לֹֽא־יִרְאוּן֙ וְלֹ֣א יִשְׁמְע֔וּן וְלֹ֥א יֹֽאכְל֖וּן וְלֹ֥א יְרִיחֻֽן׃

There you will serve man-made gods of wood and stone, that cannot see or hear or eat or smell.

וּבִקַּשְׁתֶּ֥ם מִשָּׁ֛ם אֶת־יְהוָ֥ה אֱלֹהֶ֖יךָ וּמָצָ֑אתָ כִּ֣י תִדְרְשֶׁ֔נּוּ בְּכָל־לְבָבְךָ֖ וּבְכָל־נַפְשֶֽׁךָ׃

But if you search there for the LORD your God, you will find Him, if only you seek Him with all your heart and soul—

בַּצַּ֣ר לְךָ֔ וּמְצָא֕וּךָ כֹּ֖ל הַדְּבָרִ֣ים הָאֵ֑לֶּה בְּאַחֲרִית֙ הַיָּמִ֔ים וְשַׁבְתָּ֙ עַד־יְהוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֶ֔יךָ וְשָׁמַעְתָּ֖ בְּקֹלֽוֹ׃

when you are in distress because all these things have befallen you and, in the end, return to the LORD your God and obey Him.

כִּ֣י אֵ֤ל רַחוּם֙ יְהוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֶ֔יךָ לֹ֥א יַרְפְּךָ֖ וְלֹ֣א יַשְׁחִיתֶ֑ךָ וְלֹ֤א יִשְׁכַּח֙ אֶת־בְּרִ֣ית אֲבֹתֶ֔יךָ אֲשֶׁ֥ר נִשְׁבַּ֖ע לָהֶֽם׃

For the LORD your God is a compassionate God: He will not fail you nor will He let you perish; He will not forget the covenant which He made on oath with your fathers.

The Talmud tells us that “There were five events that happened to our ancestors on the 17th of Tammuz and five on the 9th of Av”… five and five, just like the arrangement of the Ten Commandments, as if hinting that even the disasters are in order, even then, Someone is with us. Can we find comfort in that? Knowing we’re not alone? Knowing the “formula” given to us with the Torah works “with the good and the bad”??

A week after Tish’a Be’Av is the 15th of that month – Tu Be’Av. About this day the Mishna says (Ta’anit 4:6):

אָמַר רַבָּן שִׁמְעוֹן בֶּן גַּמְלִיאֵל, לֹא הָיוּ יָמִים טוֹבִים לְיִשְׂרָאֵל כַּחֲמִשָּׁה עָשָׂר בְּאָב וּכְיוֹם הַכִּפּוּרִים, שֶׁבָּהֶן בְּנוֹת יְרוּשָׁלַיִם יוֹצְאוֹת בִּכְלֵי לָבָן שְׁאוּלִין, שֶׁלֹּא לְבַיֵּשׁ אֶת מִי שֶׁאֵין לו…… זֶה בִּנְיַן בֵּית הַמִּקְדָּשׁ, שֶׁיִּבָּנֶה בִמְהֵרָה בְיָמֵינוּ. אָמֵן:

Section one: Rabbi Shimon ben Gamaliel said: There were no days of joy in Israel greater than the fifteenth of Av and Yom Kippur. On these days the daughters of Jerusalem would go out in borrowed white garments in order not to shame any one who had none…… this refers to the building of the Temple; may it be rebuilt speedily in our days, Amen.

Is there a connection between the saddest day in our calendar, and the happiest one, just a week later? Wait, a week = 7 days… a coincidence?

The prophet Jeremiah says (31:13):

אָ֣ז תִּשְׂמַ֤ח בְּתוּלָה֙ בְּמָח֔וֹל וּבַחֻרִ֥ים וּזְקֵנִ֖ים יַחְדָּ֑ו וְהָפַכְתִּ֨י אֶבְלָ֤ם לְשָׂשׂוֹן֙ וְנִ֣חַמְתִּ֔ים וְשִׂמַּחְתִּ֖ים מִיגוֹנָֽם׃

Then shall maidens dance gaily, Young men and old alike. I will turn their mourning to joy, I will comfort them and cheer them in their grief.

Mourning is traditionally 7 days as are the holidays (Pesach & Sukkot). Even the saddest day, Tish’a Be’Av, will turn to joy, as is evident from its own “7th day” – Tu Be’Av, Chag Ha’ahava, Holiday of Love. Indeed, it says (Ta’anit 31:b):

אמרו: כל המתאבל על ירושלים זוכה ורואה בשמחתה

It is stated: Whoever mourns for Jerusalem will merit and see her future joy…

From here we learn that by commemorating the absence of the Temple we don’t just cry for our past, looking backwards, but rather, hold on to a better future.

Shabbat Shalom.

From Tish’a Be’Av:
https://www.facebook.com/wearemaharat/videos/1374946376036900/

Vegan Tofu – Noodle Soup

 

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1 Response to Chicken Soup for Shabbat Nachamu…

  1. denimarshallgmailcom says:

    yafei meod!
    Shabbat Shalom
    B’ahava
    Deni

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