Bizyon ochlim

Not abusing food

By Rabbi Julian Sinclair, February 3, 2011

A special and distinctively Jewish facet of table manners is not to abuse food. We should not treat food in a way that is likely to lead to it getting gross or disgusting. So, the Shulchan Aruch teaches (Orach Chayim 171:1), don't put a slab of raw meat on a slice of bread; don't pass a container of liquid over bread if spillage would mess up the bread; and don't sit on a basket of figs or dates - though it's ok to sit on a basket of raw lentils or beans as they will not thereby be injured.

It is also bad to throw food, particularly if doing so will damage it. There is an argument among the commentators about whether this restriction is more stringent with respect to bread than other foods.

Rav Yosef Karo in the Bet Yosef writes that it is; because of the importance of bread as a basic food, one shouldn't throw it around, even if the bread will not suffer as a result. Throwing is especially disrespectful to the food; it abuses the life-sustaining blessing within it.

Either way, food fights are not a Jewish concept.

Last updated: 2:09pm, February 3 2011