Sunday, July 29, 2012

post tisha b'av split pea soup

today is tisha b'av, the 9th day of the hebrew month of av, it is a day of fasting and mourning, commemorating numerous tragedies that have befallen the jewish people throughout history, most importantly the destruction of both our first and second temples. it is a really hard day, we dont go to work, we dont listen to music, or take showers, or even brush our teeth, or do much of anything, instead we sit on the floor and embrace our brokenness. our communal brokenness, our historical brokenness, our global brokenness, and our personal brokenness. as afternoon approaches we begin to feel the light of chatharsis after eicha, kinos, and long talks with the one above, we begin to feel the eternal hope of our people, the hope of our inner divine spark which never gives up, which always believes things will get better. as we share our sadness with our creator, and give him some of our burden, to partner with him in making it better....

that is also usually the point in the day where people start fantasizing about food, and all the yummy things they are going to eat after the fast. trust me when i say never to go grocery shopping while fasting, i assure you in that moment your eyes are much bigger than your stomach. 

when i was little we called tisha b'av tissue bug. i still call it that in my head. i also still have the book "in the mouth of the wolf" which i got for my bat mitzvah and read every year, it is about a young girl hiding in nazi germany during the shoah. i have not read it in years, but maybe one day i will pass it on to my daughters. but maybe by then the geulah will have come, and instead of a day of mourning this will be a day of joy. i hope so. these days on tisha b'av afternoon i often watch the pbs documentray called kingdom of david, available on netflix streaming, it chronicles the jewish exile and destruction of both temples. being in america, and away from the communal outpouring at the kotel, it is a good focus for what this day is really about. a few years ago a well respected modern orthodox female communal leader laughingly told me that nobody thinks about the beis hamikdash anymore on tisha b'av. i didnt know how to respond to her. i still dont. but i bless her, and you, and me to know what is broken. to accept that it is broken. and to work to fix it.

but i was going to tell you about soup.

when i was little to break our fasts my mother would always give us orange juice, ice cream, and home made soup. today i will be breaking my fast on coconut water, which is easier on the stomach and full of electrolytes. and on split pea soup, which is gentle to your tummy, hearty, and satisfying. my recipe follows, but whatever you do, dont fill your body with processed crap post a fast (sorry for foregoing the ice cream mom), you just released so many toxins, give your body a moment of healing.

split pea soup:

16 oz green or yellow dried split peas
1 lb carrots, sliced into thin rounds
1 large onion, roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic, diced
2 cups vegetable broth
1/2 can cheap light beer, budweiser or coors work well
a few spoons of olive oil
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon soy sauce
salt and pepper to taste

heat soup pot over medium heat, add oil, onion, garlic, and carrots, saute for a few minutes. then add peas, broth, beer, thyme, soy and fill the pot up with water, turn flame to high bringing to a boil. once boiling, turn down flame to low (to avoid burning) and simmer until the peas break down and the soup has a creamy consistency, around 1.5-2 hours. you will loose a lot of water during the process and may have to add more so keep half an eye on it, giving it an occasional stir. at the end add the salt and pepper and cook another 5 minutes to meld the flavors.

serves 6.
recipe can be easy doubled, tripled....

so that is where i am. sitting on my floor, watching sad movies. really wanting to wash my face and drink some water. getting a headache. thankful that it is not so hot today. thinking about making soup. thinking about what is broken in my life. still aware of how many blessings i have. trying to understand where that fits into the bigger jewish picture. wanting to let god in but still a little bit pushing him away from the pain of everything that has gone wrong.

thank you for honoring me in this place, and maybe even joining it in your own way. blessings for an easy and meaningful fast. and a nourishing, loving, and healthy post fast.



  1. this is an awesome blog, and it's wonderful in addition to promoting good food and health, alongside it you promote such a beautiful spiritulity. Be well

    Jen Seligman

  2. "Beautiful" - I second that. The ideas, the post, the blog, the look, the "gantze gesheft," if you will.