(Antique Foodways) Idle Talk (Ecclesiastes Rabbah)


“All things toil to weariness, [a person] cannot utter it” (Eccles. 1;8). Idle talk wearies [a person]: “The partridge today is pickled with garlic.” The side of the [animal] is like lead.””Cut thin slices.” “Roasted with mustard.” “Portions which deserve to be called portions.” “Ox of judgment with poor mountain,” “beet with mustard.”

–Ecclesiastes Rabbah I. 8.1

[In a note the editors to the Soncino translation explain the puns in Hebrew that some of these examples build upon. The  midrash goes on to talk about remedies for hair loss]

The following midrash continues the theme of idle talk that wearies talk about 500 confections with wheat and 100 dishes with egg.” Ascribed to Rabbi is the comment that today we don’t know what good living is, after the destruction of the Temple and the life that went with it.

About zjb

Zachary Braiterman is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. His specialization is modern Jewish thought and philosophical aesthetics. http://religion.syr.edu
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