When I was a child, my mother, a native of Bogalusa, Louisiana, would conjure the indigenous ways of her mother and grandmothers by feeding me directly from her hands. I can close my eyes and see her hands. Still. I can recall the intimacy, the love, and even the tender touch of her fingers as she placed the food in my mouth with such love and great care. Still.
Even now, she feeds me from her hands.
In times of great sadness and of great celebration, we come together in the heart of our family home—the kitchen—and cook our way out of sorrow and elevate our joy to greater heights. Through laughter and tears, rage and joy, she calls me in to taste and receive a piece of herself—medicine first to calm, then to nourish and fortify, and finally to mend my broken spirit. The act of feeding is a powerfully transformative act that can move us forward together with more agency, power, vibrancy, resilience and love—well fertilized and fortified to move toward a righteous future of our making.
The Torah of Feeding is about nourishing ourselves now as an act of love, resistance and making our personal/family/community souls fertile for growth—ready to shift, change and transform our future. When we are nourished, we become the Agents of Prophecy rather than the passive recipients thereof. This ritual is a direct call to action to care for our emotional and mental health and physical bodies and those of our beloveds right now—so we can be the medicine needed to shape a new way of “being” in the future.
TONDA CASE, “The Torah of Feeding,” on the Lilith Blog, January 2021.