web analytics
August 20, 2014 / 24 Av, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat (L) visits the JewishPress.com booth at The Event. And the Winners of the JewishPress.com Raffle Are…

Congratulations to all the winners of the JewishPress.com raffle at The Event



Tasting the “Heat” of the Torah


Heat-Peppers-110411

As a Baal Teshuva who discovered the “emes” about eight years ago, I am often asked by my FFB friends in my very FFB neighborhood to describe what inspired my wife and I to take the plunge and more specifically, what it feels like to lead a Torah observant life after so many years of living on the “other side.”  After enlightening them with our story, which I must admit never seems that awe inspiring to me, I can almost always predict where the conversation will go from there.  “You are so fortunate” is usually how the next sentence begins followed by something along the lines of  “I can never feel what you feel” or “Having grown up this way we just do what we do because that is what we were taught.”  On cue, I feebly attempt to describe the feelings I have when I daven, learn, celebrate Shabbosim or Yomim Tovim, or take our children to yeshiva.  I use words like “inspired,” “true happiness” or “fills a void” yet in each instance I feel like I failed to appropriately and adequately capture the true essence of what it feels like to be a novice at Torah observance.

I am always struck by the irony of this exchange.  After all, I would give anything to have been brought up frum from birth!  The thought of never having to ask, “What page are we on” during davening or learning, or have my best friend translate a yeshivish colloquialism during the rabbi’s shiur would be shamayim on earth.  Yet those who can easily answer these questions somehow envy my position, since I am able to feel something they simply cannot.

This past Shabbos I finally had the chance to help my friends experience the sensation I feel in regards to yiddishkeit.  I will admit that it occurred, at first, inadvertently, but it played out like a charm…

Like many communities in the frum world, ours is passionate about food, and specifically, a tasty post-Shabbos morning davening kiddush.  In the rare instance when our shul does not have a community simcha kiddush planned, a few of us rotate hosting a kiddush in our homes. What began as a few men getting together for chulent and a l’chaim has, baruch Hashem, blossomed.

One of my weaknesses, or perhaps it is a strength, is my appetite and passion for extremely spicy foods.  So much so, in fact, that I dedicated almost an entire garden this summer to growing jalapeno and habanero peppers.  Most are familiar with the green jalapeno and the punch it packs when added to salads, sauces, or served on top of nachos and cheese.  Well the habanero is the stronger, meaner and much more intimidating “big brother” to the jalapeno.  In fact the habanero packs 10 times the heat level of the garden variety jalapeno…with just a morsel of this pepper causing even the most experienced “hot foodie” to recoil.   I have found that a tiny slice of habanero adds an incredible edible kick to a chulent and decided to share my discovery with my chevra last Shabbos.

Almost lost on the large table of cakes, kugels, herrings and bowls of chulent was the small plate of finely chopped bright orange habanero peppers, courtesy of yours truly.  In response to the many, “hey, what are those” questions I received, I let my friends know what was on the plate, where they came from and attempted to describe the powerful punch they pack when added in miniscule doses to the chulent.  I stood back as the initial daring few took a small pinch and added them to their plates.  The even more courageous, despite my warning, popped a small portion directly onto their tongues!  Slowly but surely the plate of peppers disappeared, and the shock induced tears increased.  Yes, my friends were experiencing a “sensation” they never experienced before.

About the Author: David Gruber lives in Wesley Hills with his wife and three children. He can be reached at magazine@jewishpress.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 “Tasting the “Heat” of the Torah”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Man protecting his son on the side of the highway, as rockets fall. (Archive: July 17, 2014)
Live Updates: Morning Barrages & Rockets on Ashkelon, Ashdod, Gaza Border Communities (10:48am)
Latest Judaism Stories
Leff-081514

“When a mother plays with her child there is an acute awareness of the child. But even when the mother works at a job or is distracted by some other activity, there is a natural, latent awareness of her child’s existence.

Business-Halacha-logo

“Guess what?” Benzion exclaimed when he returned home. “I just won an identical Mishnah Berurah in the avos u’banim raffle.”

The-Shmuz

While it’s clear to you and to me that a 14,000-pound creature can easily break away from the light ropes holding it, the reality is that it cannot.

An Outcast
‘He Shall Dwell Outside His Tent’
(Moed Katan 7b)

Question: The Gemara in Berachot states that the sages authored our prayers. Does that mean we didn’t pray beforehand?

Menachem
Via Email

Based on the opinion of the Ramban, the Territorial School believes that leaving any territory of the Land of Israel in the possession of non-Jews is a violation of a biblical mandate.

“But they told me to come in today,” she said. They gave me this date months ago. It’s not my fault if it’s the wrong day.”

Tosafos there takes issue with Rashi’s view that the letters that are formed in the knots of the tefillin are considered part of the name of Hashem.

Blind obedience is not a virtue in Judaism. God wants us to understand the laws He has commanded us

What does Hashem want of us? That we should protect each other and the awesome heritage He gave us.

Israel is the only place where we have the potential to fulfill our mandate as the chosen people.

The innkeeper smiled and replied, “Why do you think we are dancing? We are dancing because G-d destroyed the Bais HaMikdash!”

One of the manifestations of the immature person is a sense of entitlement.

“Do I have to repay the loan?” he asked. “Does Yosef have to reimburse me? What if doesn’t have that sum, does he owe me in the future?”

More Articles from David Gruber
Heat-Peppers-110411

As a Baal Teshuva who discovered the “emes” about eight years ago, I am often asked by my FFB friends in my very FFB neighborhood to describe what inspired my wife and I to take the plunge and more specifically, what it feels like to lead a Torah observant life after so many years of living on the “other side.”

    Latest Poll

    Do you think the FAA ban on US flights to Israel is political?






    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/judaism-101/tasting-the-heat-of-the-torah/2011/11/02/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: