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Health, Nutrition & Torah: Re’eh

| August 4, 2010

The Text:

12:13-16 Take care not to sacrifice your burnt offerings in any place you like, but only in the place that The Eternal will choose in one of your tribal territories.  There you shall sacrifice your burnt offerings and there you shall observe all that I enjoin upon you.  But whenever you desire, you may slaughter and eat meat in any of your settlements, according to the blessing that The Eternal God has granted you.  The impure and the pure alike may partake of it, as of the gazelle and the deer.  But you must not partake of the blood; you shall pour it out on the ground like water.

12:20-25 When The Eternal enlarges your territory, as promised, and you say, “I shall eat some meat,” for you have the urge to eat meat, you may eat meat whenever you wish.  If the place where The Eternal has chosen to establish the divine name is too far from you, you may slaughter any of the cattle or sheep that The Eternal gives you, as I have instructed you; and you may eat to your heart’s content in your settlements.  Eat it however, as the gazelle and the deer are eaten: the impure may eat it together with the pure.  But make sure you do not partake of the blood; for the blood is the life, and you must not consume the life with the flesh.  You must not partake of it; you must pour it out on the ground like water: you must not partake of it, in order that it may go well with you and with your descendants to come, for you will be doing what is right in the sight of The Eternal.

The Context:

This Torah portion emphasizes the rewards and punishments that will come from obeying or transgressing the laws outlined previously in the Torah and here specifically. The people are reminded to destroy all idolatrous altars and to worship only in the place designated by God.  Outlines for tithing, the sabbatical year, the treatment of slaves and the three Pilgrimage Festivals are contained herein.

What it Means for Advocates:

Visit the USDA food pyramid to find out what constitutes a balanced diet based upon government standards, newly prepared for 2010.  Go to the grocery store and purchase double the ingredients for a balanced week of food for yourself (and family) and donate the other items to a local food bank.    Would you still be able to afford the items if you were living on a fixed income?

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