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Showing posts from May, 2016

The Law of Kindness

Parashat Kedoshim Rabbi Esther Hugenholtz
The Law of Kindness
The last few weeks, I’ve been really engrossed in watching BBC’s ‘MasterChef’. As we speak, the final has been aired (on Friday night) and as soon as Shabbat goes out, I’ll watch it on iPlayer and can’t wait to find out who wins!
I love watching the show for its adventurous and creative cooking. It’s a guilty pleasure because, as a religious Jew, I can only have 10% of the dishes they prepare! It’s a true celebration of treyf: the episode where they cooked the giant prawn with urchin sauce and noodles flavoured with octopus ink powder really took the proverbial cake!
What I’ve really enjoyed about MasterChef is its unexpected and counter-cultural message of kindness. This is a Reality TV competition where the prize opens the doors to a career that could change contestants’ lives, where judges from the best and brightest of the food industry submit the contestants to their unrelenting judgement. There’s no denying that the conte…

Difficult Freedom

Parashat Acharei Mot 2016 Rabbi Esther Hugenholtz
Difficult Freedom
We’re still stuck with our matzot. Officially, by Reform and Israeli standards, Pesach ended yesterday night but because the end of the 7th day of Pesach led immediately into Shabbat, many of us will not have had the chance to bake challah or buy bread. And so we find ourselves in limbo, somewhat, still eating the bread of affliction as we inch towards redemption, dreaming of delicious chametz. (I have a suspicion it’s going to be a pizza night for my family after Shabbat goes out!)
The deeper symbolism behind our craving for carbohydrates is our own craving for freedom. When chametz re-enters our lives, we have completed our week of contemplating slavery and we prepare to emerge into the fullness of our daily, remarkably free lives. We leave the Holiday Torah readings behind and pick up our regularly scheduled parshiyot again: this week, Acharei Mot. Shockingly, Acharei Mot – which literally means ‘After the Death’ - pic…