parshat re'eh sweets and treats

This week’s Torah portion, Parshat Re’eh, continues Moshe’s long speech to the Jewish people before they enter the Land of Israel. He again urges them to follow the path of blessings that are promised when they keep G-d’s commandments. They are told that when they enter the Land of Israel they will build a Temple for G-d’s Presence to dwell in and that sacrifices will only be allowed to be brought there. Animals may be slaughtered to be eaten outside of the Temple. The laws of kosher animals and fish are reviewed. The concepts of maaser, giving a tenth of all produce to the Levites and then eating a tenth of that in Jerusalem (those who live far away may pay a symbolic amount as it would be impractical to travel so far with so much produce), are reviewed as well. First born cattle are to be brought to the Temple for sacrifices.

The parsha contains the rules of giving charity, forgiving loans, and freeing slaves every shemita (Sabbatical) year. Re’eh concludes with the Shalosh Regalim, the three pilgrimage festivals, Sukkot, Pesach and Shavuot, on which the Jewish people all congregated in Jerusalem to “see and be seen” before G-d.

There are so many symbolic treats that can be served this week! Animal cookies symbolize the animals that can only be sacrificed in the Temple, the sacrificing of the first born animals and the laws of kosher animals. The rules of kosher fish are reviewed as well, so candy fish is another option. Candy fruit (I purchased Fruit Gems) can be served to represent the rules of maaser. Candy coins are symbolic of the rules of charity and the monetary donations that can be made for those who live far from Jerusalem. Finally, candy feet (lollipops) represent the three pilgrimage festivals as well as the obligation to travel to Jerusalem to eat the maaser. Enjoy! And don’t forget to share your own ideas in the comments below…

Shayna Levine-Hefetz

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