Friday, January 30, 2009

From the Earth...

Adam, the first man, is given his name because the letters ADaM comes from the Hebrew word ADaMa, which means earth. That's b/c he was made from the ground, the earth.

Hebrew is a Semitic, Afro-Asiatic language in which words are made up of root letters.

Well, I heard in a class this week something peculiar in reference to food.

Know the story of Joseph and the brothers, etc? When Joseph was in Egypt and rose to a high position, feeding everyone during the famine, the word food is called "SHeVeR." This word is related to the word "niSHBaR." Nishbar means break.(The b and v are interchangeable) See the similar root leters of SHVR? (capitalized)

Is that why we say "break-fast?" and "let's break bread?"


Secondly, the word for bread is "LeCHeM." And the word for war is "miLCHaMa."

Thirdly, the word for sustenance/food is "maZoN." And the word "cli ZaN" means weapon of war.

Do you see a theme here, folks? Breaking, War, and weapons. All associated with fighting...

Why is that?

Is it b/c food comes from the land, and land is a major reason why people war against each other?

Is it b/c the word bread/sustenance refers to money, and we KNOW people will kill for money?

Is it b/c food can be so controversial, and people are constantly arguing about what's good, what's bad, what will make you gain weight, bla,bla,bla?

Is it b/c eating the right foods is such a struggle that you have to fight with yourself and even the society around you to do it?

Perhaps it's all of the above.

And there are people who manipulate the ground, so to speak, to produce food that will actually kill you. All the while, saying that it's GOOD for you. They are very cunning...

Well, then I guess we're at war.

But we needn't be sulky and pessimistic. Triumph is within our grasp if we've got the right mind set and the right weapons.

Firstly, we have to remember who we are. Every person is like ADaM, from the earth. So, it's crucial to remember that the closer we can keep the foods we eat to the earth, the healthier we will be. It doesn't mean we won't be eating processed food. After all, bread is processed. It comes from wheat grain, right?
But it does mean increasing the amount of natural foods we eat. If we are what we eat, and the amount of "earthy" foods is too low, then we are in serious jeopardy.

If we can steadily eat more fruits; eat more vegetables; eat more grains; eat more fish; eat more lean meats (Each according to ones' means, taste, diet, etc) then we can win.

Secondly, eating healthy can be SO MUCH FUN! Have you ever made your own salad from scratch? Have you ever baked your own cookies? You know you have, and it's 10x more delicious b/c you made it. Having a positive attitude is key in this battle. We're not perfect, so let's not mope around b/c we didn't eat well, or we didn't have time to make something. Do better the next time.
Turn it into an adventure. Snoop out the closest health food store. Try a new recipe. Get a new cookbook if you have the cash. Do what YOU can.

Behold, these are our weapons! Believing in ourselves, remaining positive/happy, striving towards healthier eating, our pantry of yams and potatoes, the health food store on 11th street, the vegetable section in the supermarket, the recipe website, etc.

Not very fancy? It doesn't have to be.

And it's not enough for me to be healthy alone. Like the earth, like an ecosystem, we are like one. We are intertwined. For me to be at my best requires that you are striving towards health. And for you to be at your best means I must strive towards health.

Your health and joy enlivens me, and vice versa.

You are my weapon,

and I am yours.

And together we will be victorious.

G-d bless!

PS: Check out the other battlefronts at (post re: Goliath (among others)) and (post re: Breakfast anyone (among others))


The First Domino said...

Chaya, what a great article. You raise some interesting Biblical questions, and then associate them with the land and food.

"...eating healthy can be SO MUCH FUN!"

I want you to know that you have inspired me to take food more seriously, and to establish for my new year resolution a resolve to add more fruits and vegetables to my diet.

Are there no vowels in Hebrew?

Chaya said...

Hey, Domino
I'm glad to hear that you'll be eating more fruits/vegs. You should have a blast and keep inspiring others!

There are vowels in Hebrew. ie. there's the Chirik with the (ee) sound. (It's a dot underneath a letter)
Or the Patak with the (ah) sound. (That's a line underneath)

Many times you will see words written w/o vowels b/c once you're familiar with the vocab and you know the context, you'll know how words are usu. pronounced.

I hope I explained it ok.

The First Domino said...

"I hope I explained it ok." Chaya

You explained it just fine. What an interesting language!

Maybe I'll take a closer look at it. Imagine dots and lines representing certain sounds.

Is there an alphabet in Hebrew as in English?

Chaya said...

Yeah, there's an alphabet. The letters look totally different, but there are certain similar sounds like English, like the B/V sound, D, F/P, G, H, I/Y, K, L, M, N, R, S, SH, T
There are few letters/sounds that don't exist in English.

Here's how to spell Domino in Hebrew: דומינו

You read "backwards" right to left. That upside down "L" has the D sound.
DoMINo (the lines are vowels called...Holem? I think...that's the "o" sound.

Funny looking letters, hunh?


The First Domino said...

"Funny looking letters, hunh?" Chaya

Very strange, but interesting. I've copied the letters, and if I can, I'll paste them on my blog page.

Thanks, Chaya, for taking the time to explain the Hebrew alphabet, and how its sounds relate to English sounds.

Reading words backward, at least from the English language perspective, would take some getting use to, but I think the effort would be worth it.