Bookstores may find it difficult to shelve The Kabbalah of Food: Conscious Eating for Physical, Emotional, and Spiritual Health. Should it go in Health or Religion? Rabbi Nilton Bonder's point is that the two subjects should not be separated; and if they are, it is to our cost.

Kabbalah is the name given to the general body of Jewish mystical activity. Concerned less with law than with investigating the essence of the Divine, it is controversial and little known outside the work of scholars, rabbis, and practicing kabbalists (the latter are usually Hasidic Jews). Incidentally (and curiously), Kabbalah is enjoying a moment of glory in the media thanks to Madonna, Sarah Bernhardt, and Roseanne. Bonder argues that our eating habits are symbolic of our attitudes toward "receiving nourishment on many levels, not just the physical." To be connected to the flow of life, one must "follow an outer code in each and every exchange" to ensure a healthy interaction between the self and what it takes in. The code will discipline us to pay close attention to not only what we eat, but when we eat, where we eat, and why we eat. Given that the majority of people are starved for physical, emotional, and spiritual health, The Kabbalah of Food may result in a large, and quite healthy body of followers. It is a rich source of complex but practical insights into achieving holistic health. L'Chaim.

Reviewed by Joanna Brichetto.

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