Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Judaism is exceptionally defined and structured. You daven at so-and-so time of day. You light a menorah from left to right. And on Shabbos we have meals with Kiddush and challah, followed by food.

Food? But what food? Prepared how? What spices, ingredients? For that, the Shulchan Orech is silent. No recipes are provided. We can eat whatever we want, prepared how we want. It’s in these details that our creativity and uniqueness can shine.


Even the most traditional of foods, chulent has immense possible variations. Though, of course, chulent originated as the simplest of stews, today, there are whole cookbooks devoted to chulent. There are Ashkenzi chulents and Sephardi chulents. There are chulent cook-off competitions. I recently went to a bar mitzvah that had five different crockpots set up with five different chulents. There are more chulents than I can imagine, cook, or taste.

Chulent shows that while our Torah is structured and dictates how and when we cook and how and when we eat, we still have enormous creative choices within its framework.

We get to pick what we throw into that pot. We get to pick what works for us.

How delicious.


Previous articleBread And Torah – Or Torah And Bread?
Next articleWord Prompt – CHULENT – Naomi Nachman
Ann Diament Koffsky is the award-winning author/illustrator of more than thirty-five books for kids. She also creates free coloring pages which you can sign up to receive at