Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Eight is a foodie homophone. It sounds like we are talking about consuming food (I ate, he ate), but before you cast off this word as simply mathematical in nature, consider its relation to food, especially Jewish food.

Have you ever considered that even the Hebrew word for eight, shemonah, literally means “to nourish.” In Judaism, we are satiated by the number eight. How so? There are many elements of food in Judaism related to the number eight. Think about the lavish spread we have eight days after a baby boy is born.

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There are eight days of Pesach (outside Isrsael) where we engage in many symbolic foods. Chanukah ushers in eight days of fried, oily goodness. Eight days of feasting in our sukkah huts. An animal is only acceptable as a sacrifice on the eighth day of its life.

In secular life, eight has additional references to food. There are eight main allergens: dairy, wheat, eggs, fish, tree nuts, peanuts, soy, and shellfish. Some dieticians allege that it is best to avoid eating food after eight p.m. Eight is a cool number; you cannot not grin when saying the number eight: look in the mirror and try! So go ahead and enjoy eight as a number or as a verb meaning to eat.

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Naomi Nachman is a cookbook author and social media personality. She hosts Table for Two on the Nachum Segal Network, posts videos on Kosher.com, conducts cooking and Zoom food demos, and is a Mishpacha Magazine columnist. She also is a cooking competition producer whose recipes are featured in several publications.