Newsletter vol.1 issue 6
Adar 5770~February 2010

Queen in the Kitchen
Cooking for The King

~There's Something a bit Fishy about Purim...~

Horoscopes are decidedly un-Jewish but the signs of the Zodiac are whole other kettle of fish. It’s just not our way to make decisions based on what the mazalot, stars may predict for us or tell us about our personalities. Our Sages say this is because Jews do not have mazal; our future is in the hands of G-d the Creator of the stars and their spiritual properties.

What is so Jewish about the Zodiac?

Every month’s zodiacal sign has a correlation to that period of time. For instance, Scales which signify judgment are the constellation for Tishre, the month of Din. For Nissan we have Aires, the Ram which became the korban Pesach. When Haman wanted to find the most auspicious time to destroy the Jews, he saw no merit for us in Adar under the sign of the Fish.

The evil Haman surmised that just as fish swallow their prey whole, the Jewish nation could be swallowed up in Adar. However, Dagim are a double sign; two fish swimming in opposite directions. Haman completely missed the other side of his theory and couldn’t forsee the complete turnaround of events in the Purim story.

When You Fish Upon A Star

-The Midrash says that just as fish swallow their prey, they too are eventually swallowed by larger fish.

-The two fish swimming in opposite directions should have tipped Haman off that there was a force acting in opposition to him, the struggle of Haman against Mordechai, of evil against good.

- Haman saw that our greatest prophet, Moshe, died in Adar, but he did not realize that it is also the month we were blessed with his birth.

- Fish swim against the current to reach their goal as the Jews of Shushan were able to swim against the current of assimilation and return to Hashem.

-Fish live in a hidden world. Purim celebrates G-d’s hidden miracles which brought salvation and joy to the Jewish people.

-Water protects fish making them unsusceptible to most of nature's tragic events. When we are absorbed in a sea of Torah and mitzvos, we are protected, but when we drift away we become vulnerable.

-Just as the fish are hidden from the outside world, Esther’s name (Hester) and her nature indicate hiddeness. Only Mordechai knew of her origin until she revealed it to the king at just the right moment. Her concealment and modesty were key to our survival.

(next column)

Try my Oven Barbecue Salmon for your Purim Seuda.

It's easy and delicious.
Equally delicious and very economical is this Salmon Quiche served with a scrumptious Dill Sauce.

Tough Luck Haman

The Dagim were probably the worst sign Haman could have chosen for our demise and the most fortuitous one for our success. Adar is actually the “luckiest” time of the year for the Jew. It is such a good month, in a leap year we add a second Adar right after the first. That is another reason why the sign of the zodiac contains two fish.

A witness to the Purim story could say the turn of events in our favor was a great stroke of “luck.” But we say, "ayn mazal l'Yisrael," Israel is not subject to such mazal. Mazal, spelled “mem-zayin-lamed,” can stand for three Hebrew words: makom, z'man and limmud. It’s being in the right place (wherever Hashem places us), at the right time (His time), and having the Yiddishe kop to know just what Hashem expects of us. And that is what Purim is really about.

Source: Signs of the Times. The Zodiac in Jewish Tradition by Gad Earlanger (Feldheim).

Fish Food: Good For You

Is including fish in your diet is a “no-brainer?” Decidedly so. Maybe you have heard the recent findings corroborating folk medicine aficionados, that fish is indeed, “brain food.” New research has shown that eating three or more servings of fish per week may significantly decrease risk of dementia in general, and Alzheimer’s disease in particular. The key is fat. Not all fat is bad; in fact, polyunsaturated fat is essential to the body.

The Omega-3 fatty acid from fatty fish, commonly known as DHA, is among the most important fatty acids in brain cell gray matter. Including fish as a DHA source in your diet positively influences cell-to-cell communication in your brain. Evidence is also beginning to show a correlation between depression and anti-social behavior and low DHA levels in the brain.

Good for your head and also good for your heart, the American Heart Association recommends eating two to three servings of fish per week to benefit the heart and circulatory system.

Concern in recent years has influenced many people to avoid eating fish because of contaminants such as mercury, PCBs and pollution in fish populations. It still remains one of the most beneficial food sources available. Harvard School of Public Health says that among healthy adults, the benefits of eating a moderate amount of fish greatly outweigh the risks. The FDA suggests limiting fish consumption to two to three servings per week in order to limit potential health risk and gain certain benefits that fish has to offer.

Pregnant women and those who suffer certain aliments, should check with their doctors.

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Cooking for The King: The book of Torah insights, recipes and practical tips designed to bring majesty to the mundane.