Health, Nutrition & Torah: Kedoshim

| April 21, 2010

Courtesy Alexander Smolianitski (http://flickr.com/photos/smolianitski/)

Courtesy Alexander Smolianitski (http://flickr.com/photos/smolianitski/)

The Text:
Leviticus 19:9-10 “When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap all the way to the edges of your field, or gather the gleanings of your harvest. You shall not pick your vineyard bare, or gather the fallen fruit of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the stranger: I am YHVH your God.”

The Context:
Kedosh means holy, and it is appropriate that, in this parsha, God lays out a number of mitzvot (commandments) through which Jews sanctify themselves and emulate divine holiness.

One such commandment relates to the gathering of crops: Jews are instructed to leave a portion of their land unharvested, so poor and needy people have an opportunity to eat. Another of these mitzvot involves the cultivation of fruit trees – God mandates that Jews wait five years before consuming the produce they yield.

What it Means for Advocates:
The most practical advice to deal with the hungry in our community is offered in this parsha. Gleaning the fields assures that when there is a good harvest, everyone will have food. Consider this both literally and metaphorically. One could imagine always sharing some of their meal with hungry people. Or, one could consider their year of earnings and “trim” 5-10% for the less fortunate. MAZON encourages families celebrating a simcha to donate 3% of the cost of their simcha to MAZON to insure that when the family celebrates that the community can be fed as well.

Consider a family conversation about what percentage of income is a reasonable one to donate to those who do not have.

2 Responses

  1. I donate some money every month, everyone should do it.

  2. I donate some money every month, everyone should do it.

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