Taam Tov Btuv Taam: A Flavorful Blend of Kashrus and Spices

Published Fall 2014

Unquestionably, the one area of food ingredients that attests to the global nature of the food industry is the spice trade.  The Torah is replete with reference to the spice traders who carriedYosef to Egypt to the ketores, that was fundamental to the avoda in the Bais Hamikdash.  The spice commerce has thrived from the beginning of commercial trade.  New World exploration forged forward fueled with the hope of finding shorter spice routes to the Far East.  Centuries earlier, Marco Polo witnessed flourishing spice trade first hand, during his travels to the Orient. Spice empires thrived as the European powers deepened their trade with the Far East. Today, spice trading continues to prosper.  Spices hail from Albania to Zanzibar and arrive to these shores in many different forms as whole spices, spice extracts, oleoresins and essential oils. What are the kashrus issues facing this fascinating ancient/contemporary industry?  Have modern processing techniques simplified or complicated matters?
What are spices?  Are spices and herbs synonymous?
The term spice is […]

Shmitta 5775

Published Fall 2014

For over nineteen hundred years, the Jewish people have longed to return to Eretz Yisroel, the Land of Israel.  It is only in the Land of Israel that we can realize our full potential as a nation; it is only in the Land of Israel that the Torah’s blueprint for life can be completely fulfilled.  For the millennia, the most important dimension of this longing was the yearning to once again be able to fulfill the mitzvos hatluyos ba’aretz (agricultural laws), the commandments that can be observed only in the Land of Israel.  With Hashem’s help, many of us in this past generation have realized part of this two thousand year old dream.  Yet, this realization has presented us with new challenges.

Without a doubt, one of the greatest mitzva challenges of all times is the fulfillment of the mitzva of Shmitta, the year of Sabbatical rest for the land of Israel.  The Midrash perceives this multifaceted mitzva as being so challenging and difficult that he who meets […]