web analytics
December 22, 2014 / 30 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
8000 meals Celebrate Eight Days of Chanukah – With 8,000 Free Meals Daily to Israel’s Poor

Join Meir Panim’s campaign to “light up” Chanukah for families in need.



Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

Sandwiches: Symbol Or Meal?


A young construction worker lies in bed, the shrill shriek of his alarm still echoing in his room. He groans. He doesn’t want to get up to confront the day. He’s comfortable under the blankets, with the early morning sun streaming in through the crack in the drapes and landing across his face. Another few minutes … that’s all. When the alarm’s “snooze control” wakes him from his renewed slumber, he reluctantly pushes aside his blankets and begins his daily routine of shaving, showering, brushing his teeth.

Once dressed, he goes into his kitchen, ready to make his lunch. He opens the refrigerator and quickly decides on the various ingredients – a roll, lettuce, tomato, turkey, mustard – he will need to make his sandwich.

After working hard all morning, his lunch break arrives. He finds a seat on a stack of roof shingles and removes his lunch from its wrapping. He pauses and takes a moment to gaze out into the distance. From his vantage on the roof, he enjoys his expansive view of the town and its surrounding hills and forests. He considers his own labors in helping to construct the building upon which he now sits, contemplating the world about him. Then he takes his first bite of his sandwich, and for that moment all is right in his world.

The sandwich, a universally cherished food item, may be plain or elaborate, bland or delicious, but it is too rarely considered more than part of a meal; too rarely appreciated for its symbolic weight as well as its calories. For a sandwich can be so much more than its parts; it can represent freedom and independence.

Lunch is seldom more than a brief break from the monotony of a working day and most don’t bother to consider anything more than taste before it is gone. One is hard-pressed to imagine a ten-year-old earnestly considering his own liberty while enjoying his peanut butter and jelly sandwich on the playground; he is more likely to gobble it down to allow more time to play with his friends. But the fact of the matter remains that the essence of the sandwich – the concept of placing various fillings between two pieces of bread – lies in a practice meant to reinforce a memory of slavery and hardship and, therefore, emphasize a sense of autonomy.

It was Hillel who, to honor the gift God presented to the Jewish people in redeeming them from their bondage in Egypt, combined the Pesach offering, matzah, and maror at the Temple to remind himself of the blessing of geulah without losing sight of the bitterness of galut. For Hillel, it was not enough to eat the Pesach meat and matzah, both of which signify God’s miracles in releasing the Jews from slavery, and maror, which serves as a reminder of those difficult times, separately; they must be eaten together so as to make sure that the happy and sad memories are as united as the separate sandwich items.

For how could one truly appreciate geulah without galut? And how could one possibly survive galut without the promise and hope of geulah?

History, however, does not assign Hillel the honor of “inventing” the sandwich. That honor falls to John Montagu, the 4th Earl of Sandwich. History teaches that Montagu popularized the item by requesting roast beef between two slices of bread so that he would be better able to eat while continuing to play cards.

And so, in the popular mind, the “sandwich” was created – a convenience to allow John Montagu to indulge in games and gluttony simultaneously. Following his example, men of the upper class began to order sandwiches while gambling. Over time, however, the sandwich became more acceptable and spread to more “refined” venues among aristocrats in the 18th and early 19th centuries.

Then, with the explosion of industry in Western Europe in the 19th century, as well as the advent of pre-sliced bread, the sandwich’s popularity rose significantly as its simplicity and portability made it a staple in middle- and working-class households. Its convenience and accessibility was key to its popularity. Soon, lands and cultures outside of Europe, including the United States, caught the “sandwich bug.”

About the Author: Rabbi Dr. Eliyahu Safran is an educator, author and lecturer. He can be reached at e1948s@aol.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Sandwiches: Symbol Or Meal?”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Haredi men cast their votes for the 19th Knesset in Bnei Brak, January 22 2013.
New Poll: Shows Netanyahu Will Lead Next Gov’t with Haredim
Latest Indepth Stories
512px-Jerusalem_Hannukah_021210

Let us become modern day Maccabees and seize the day. Embrace the challenge. Fight for Hashem.

Motta Gur overlooks the Old City with his troops during the Six Day War

Har HaBayit is still Biyadein; Through our actions, its fate is in our hands


What does the way we count the days of Chanukah come to teach us about living in the present?

Knesset and Menorah

Israel projects global material illumination not always the light of “morality” meant by the Navi

“Mr. Prime Minister, declare a unilateral ceasefire! Remember, Blessed is the peacemaker!”

“D-e-t-e-r-m-i-n-a-t-i-o-n!”

Hamas is continuing to prepare its next war against Israel instead of improving conditions in Gaza

If the UN Grants national recognition to Palestine, why stop there? Tibet, Chechnya, Basque…

The decision to not publicly light the Menorah in Sydney, epitomizes the eternal dilemma of Judaism and Jews in the Diaspora.

Am Yisrael is one family, filled with excruciating pain&sorrow for losing the 4 kedoshim of Har Nof

What is its message of the dreidel?” The complexity and hidden nature of history and miracles.

Police play down Arab terrorism as mere “violence” until the truth can no longer be hidden.

The 7 branches of the menorah represent the 7 pillars of secular wisdom, knowledge, and science.

Obama obtained NO verifiable commitments from Cuba it would desist from acts prejudicial to the US

No one would deny that the program subjected detainees to less than pleasant treatment, but the salient point is, for what purpose?

For the past six years President Obama has consistently deplored all Palestinian efforts to end-run negotiations in search of a UN-imposed agreement on Israel.

More Articles from Rabbi Eliyahu Safran
Two dreidels from the author’s extensive collection.

What is its message of the dreidel?” The complexity and hidden nature of history and miracles.

Jacob Talking with Laban

It is difficult to remain faithful in galut, the ultimate Rorschach test for all Jewish generations

Racheli Frankel: “I didn’t think they were thrown just anywhere. The tears of Hebron embraced them”

Yes, God judges, but His judgment is that of a loving father who longs for his child’s quick return.

But the world is forever challenging our Jewish principle and our practices.

What defines kana’ut these days? Throwing rocks at passing cars on Shabbos? Burning an Israeli flag on Yom Ha’Atzmaut?

One who may leave his wife an agunah is not included in the general rule that we may not imprison on Shabbos.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/sandwiches-symbol-or-meal/2008/04/16/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: