Today, the Ninth of Av, is usually the saddest day in the Jewish calendar, but being Shabbos we honor the day with joy, and the fast and grieving is suspended until tonight and tomorrow.
What happens when life is devoid of flavor? How can we make it taste good?
A providential confluence of a fast day and fast food may provide a clue, as alluded to in this week’s Torah reading.
The Torah deploys many metaphors and methods to teach how to better our lives, including how to find meaning in monotony and how to improve the taste of whatever seems too bland.
Indeed, two spiritual cooking aids are hinted at in two geographical place names – Paran and Tofel – which Moses references in this week’s Parshat Devarim.
Paran hints at pru u’revu, be fruitful and multiply. Tofel – which is also mentioned in Lamentations, the book we read on Tisha B’Av – hints at tastelessness. The remedy seems to be to add salt, as per the Book of Job.
So now let’s see how we can we apply these soulful ingredients to make the dish of our personal lives delicious, and transform our sadness into joy…