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Women's Corner

May One Throw Bread Away?

Rabbanith Ruth Menashe
Friday, February 8, 2013/Shebat 28, 5773

When I was a small girl, growing up in Israel, I remember seeing people bending down to the floor to pick up a piece of bread which fell to the ground and kiss it. Fortunately, nowadays many of us are privileged to enjoy food in abundance. It seems to me that somehow, in spite of having food in abundance, we witness much waste of it as well. Who remembers about kissing bread? Who feels a tinge of pain inside? We have become desensitized and lost the feeling of appreciation and respect we owe food.

Food must not be wasted. Bread, in particular, which is referred to as the "staff of life" may not be treated with contempt. One may not throw left over pieces of bread to the garbage. Many Ashkenazim have the custom of wrapping bread in a bag before disposing of it. Some Sephardim have also adopted this custom. In truth, Sephardim never used to dispose of bread by throwing it in the garbage, even if it was wrapped.

Women, who are usually in charge of food, should make an effort to use left over pieces of bread and make other dishes with it, such as french toast, croutons and the like. Let us be creative and come up with some innovative ideas. I even read about a lady who created a most delicious casserole with her left over Shabbath bread. It may require a bit of extra work on our part, but we are promised that abundant blessings and prosperity will follow.

Let us keep the custom of our forefathers and give the bread that we cannot use, to the birds to enjoy. And if the "staff of life" falls to the floor, let us pick it up and kiss it to show how dear it is to us.

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