Beit Gamaliel

The House of Gamaliel: The confluence of knowledge and faith.

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Vegetable Haters

Kosher law is usually a source of contention among Gentiles. They just don’t get it.

God gave us his law for our good and for His pleasure. He understood our bodies and what makes them work best. He was kind enough to give us some directions. We just tend to disregard those directions.

Imagine applying this same idea to a car? Engine oil and transmission fluid are both oils. You could actually put transmission fluid in your engine and it will run just fine. Now the truth is, it will run just fine only for a short time before it will suffer irreparable damage. Likewise, you could put engine oil in your transmission with little noticeable impact….for a few miles anyway.  To hone this knowledge further, there are literally scores of different types of oils and weights and viscosities JUST for the engine alone! You can’t just put oil in and expect your car to run for long. But, you can conceivably use ANY oil in an emergency situation and change it back later. It wouldn’t be the end of the world.

VegetablesAt 15 years old, my son hates fruits and vegetables. He eats only junk food and meat. Despite my constant nagging and clear explanations, he just will not choose healthy food on his own. It must be forced upon him. We can sit at the table for hours just waiting for him to eat 1/4 cup of corn chased with literally GALLONS of water! He convulses and gags and makes it all very exciting for us watching. But drama aside, the human body requires fiber and vitamins that simply DO NOT exist in animal meat.

The Torah states:

For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, flowing forth in valleys and hills; a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and honey; a land where you will eat food (lit. bread) without scarcity, in which you will not lack anything…. When you have eaten and are satisfied, you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land which He has given you.

The ultimate blessing of God was tied to the Land of Israel (Eretz Israel). God blessed them immensely prior to crossing the Jordan, but the bulk of the Torah is what blessings will flow in Canaan. But notice the blessing is that of increased produce. While the next few verses that follow address the increase of cattle, the verses that connect blessing with our satisfied bellies reveal clearly that we are to be satisfied with vegetables and bread.

So, am I implying that God REALLY wants us to be vegetarians? Absolutely not! That would deny the truth of Genesis 9. God clearly articulates that meat is for our consumption. We are not talking about a matter of culinary preference. We are talking about a gastronomical technicality. The importance of fiber in the diet not only allows our bodies to digest more effectively, it is also proven to treat the most deadly disease of every generation: heart disease. What becomes clear in this passage is that we can eat anything we really want, but we are to be satisfied with produce. The basic idea is that our diets revolve around fruits, vegetables, and grain, with a few other items thrown in. Not a steady diet of beef, with half a carrot and a cupcake.

But I Hate Vegetables!

The problem is I HATE vegetables. I don’t like them and I do not want to eat them. Now what?

In a recent conversation, a local clergyman revealed that he has never delivered a sermon from notes. He just gets up on the stage and let’s it fly with whatever he feels “a hankering” to preach. The downside of this strategy is that there would be no systematic way of teaching the people the scriptures in their totality as in a verse by verse exposition of the Bible. I imagine the congregation has heard the stories of Adam and Eve, Moses, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph over and over and over again. But what about Habakkuk?

I have found that more often than not, we tend to “eat” only the Bible passages that we like. We tend to just eat what we like or have “a’hankering” to eat. The downside is that we leave the healthiest stuff on our plates, or just avoid it all together. It is a very easy step to move from “I hate corn” to “I hate the passages about tithing!” Or from “I hate peas” to “I hate scriptures about homosexuality!” I don’t want to hear messages about helping the elderly – I HATE those vegetables!

May we all learn that the WHOLE counsel of God is for our health – physical AND spiritual.

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