Growing up in the mid 20th century, it was simple. My mother always cooked and my father never did. But having spent most of my professional life as a cook, it feels important for me to know if I’d merely drifted into my natural male role (if there is one), or had I ungraciously usurped rightful female territory (ditto)?
Nesanel Yoel Safran
Nesanel is a writer, chef, and student and teacher of Jewish spirituality. Read more of his musings (and recipes!) at: https://soulfoodiecom.wordpress.com/
Recent articles by Nesanel Yoel Safran
If you were the perfect man, and your marriage was the perfect marriage, what would it look like?
She flicked on the light switch, peered around and fumed. An innocent 2:00 am shuffle to the kitchen for a quick cup of water had turned into a minor nightmare and major gripe grist. Why was the stovetop she’d scrubbed that evening to a spotless sheen, now streaked with flecks of grease and cooking residue? Read more
For me, self-censored input includes that which demeans human dignity, undermines my valued relationships, or stimulates selfishness and other small-minded traits.
We keep hearing about the opioid addiction crisis. People are dying. What to do?
Suddenly organized religion made perfect sense—or at least organized Torah Judaism. Its millions of adherents weren’t copping out by choosing to believe and practice in a codified, organized way, but rather had simply plugged into the parameters of the same higher, revealed objective truth.
Suspended Judgment – A Shabbos Costume Ball Kabbalas Shabbos in Tsfas… Kabbalas Shabbos is Tsfas. It’s where, in the times of the Arizal, the weekly Shabbos-arrival ceremony as we know it originated. So I suppose it shouldn’t surprise me that it was Kabbalas Shabbos in Tsfas, during our recent visit there, when I had a Read more
Pesach lends itself to ‘extreme’ behavior, and nowhere more so than in the kitchen, as Nesanel Yoel Safran discovers.
So with no further ado, here comes NYS’s (in)famous ‘kabbalistic’* theory of cooking. The way I see it, cooking is all about the interplay of four elements that parallel the four primal mystic elements of creation. These are: Fire, Air, Earth, and Water. Creating a successful dish depends on nothing more than achieving a balance-point, Read more
V’ne’hapchu—A Fish Story If ‘v’ne’hapchu’’—sudden dramatic turnarounds—is the essence of Purim, then many of us here in Israel live in Purim all year long. There are two things one soon learns here; ‘there are no sure things’, and ‘nothing is impossible’. proverbial tale of entering a government office armed with every possible piece of paper Read more
Trees and Forests Are you a tree person or a forest person? Now I know you live in neither, but dwell in an apartment or (if you’re lucky) a house. But what I mean is, that some of us are naturally inclined to focus on the details (or, ‘trees’) of life, while others focus on Read more
Book Review: Unlocking the Secret of the Erev Rav (by B. R. Levy) The Erev Rav (the mysterious ‘mixed multitude’ of Egyptians who joined the Jewish people upon their liberation from Pharaoh’s Egypt) has long struck me as one of the deepest and most fascinating topics in Jewish/Kabalistic thought. Now, after reading B.R. Levy’s comprehensive Read more
Bottom’s up I recently had a very disturbing conversation. A Rav I know and with whom I’ve worked on a number of kiruv initiatives over the years was setting out for one of his frequent trips to the US in his valiant and seemingly indefatigable quest to reach Jewish hearts. “I’m wondering if it’s time Read more
For many a baal teshuvah, one of the biggest tests is to give up being ‘cool’. I guess before you can give something up, you have to know what it is, right? So what is ‘cool’? Not an easy term to define; but I’ll take a stab at it. Cool includes a certain irony, a Read more
No germs in Israel (and no bugs in America…) Being American born and bred, yet having lived most of my adult life in Israel, I suppose it’s no surprise that the contrast between the two cultures is a topic that occasionally gets me thinking. However, while until now, these ponderings have been more of the Read more
“So I guess now we get back to normal,” I said to my friend, at the end of the intense, whirlwind Tishrei ‘holiday’ season. I’d expected a smiling, shrugging ‘Yeah’, in reply, but instead, my friend, a long-time baal teshuvah, seemed to take my throwaway comment with more grains of salt than a cook like Read more
When we look at all our spiritual shortcomings, the task of fixing them all can seem overwhelming. But when we discover and cure the root cause behind them all they all fall away at once.