The Covenant of the Bagel

Covenant of the BagelIt happened at an area synagogue lunch-and-learn where I was the guest speaker. Perhaps it shouldn’t have happened the way it did…unconsciously, I mean… but it did.  The fifteen of us sat around a large empty table waiting for lunch, and waiting for me to begin a lesson on Holy Eating. I held up a bagel that I found in the kitchen.

“This,” I said, “is a bagel. I am going to cup my hands around it, concentrate my thoughts on it for a moment, and then pass it to the person next to me. What I would like each of you to do in turn, is take the bagel and do the same.”

They all looked at me quizzically, but they were good sports and did what I asked. The bagel passed through the hands and consciousness of each member of the group and found its way back to me.

“Now,” I continued, “let’s make a blessing on the bagel, and divvy it up.” Some in the group giggled, and the energy changed from quizzical to relaxed and more certain; it seemed logical that since we were hungry and waiting, we should share the only food around even if only one small bagel.

“Blessed are you, Lord our God, Ruler of the universe, who brings forth bread from the Earth,” we said together. And then we ate.

After a few minutes of silence, I said, “A curious transformation is taking place as we sit here. Soon we will all be partially made out of the same bagel.” There came laughter and nods of recognition from the group. Indeed, we would all be partially made out of the same bagel. “We will be able to call ourselves the ‘Clan of the Bagel’, ” I said, “But more…we have entered into a covenant.”


Covenant? You have probably heard of the covenant of circumcision, but covenant of the bagel? Yet, biblically speaking, we had joined in a kind of covenantal relationship with each other and with God when we blessed that bagel, divided it amongst ourselves and then ate it. I admit that we didn’t explore any of the aspects of the covenant we made before we made it, and, so, our covenant was more of a tacit, implied covenant than an express one, but it was a covenant nonetheless.

Let’s explore further. We made a tacit covenant to be made out of the “stuff” of that bagel.

The “stuff” can be divided into physical “stuff” and energetic “stuff.”

We’ll start with the physical. The wheat from which the bagel was made grew on and in and out of the earth. The elements of the earth together with water in the presence of air and light, form the physical matter. The wheat sends it roots down into the soil and takes up nutrition by way of a symbiotic relationship with certain fungi and microbes that are part of “living” soil. So, the Clan of the Bagel is partially made out of the same soil. But what soil? Where?

There are some people who would not consciously join a bagel covenant unless the wheat was grown organically, or bio-dynamically. Others might ask whether it was harvested on Sabbath, local or fair-trade. Some people would not like to be partially made out of soil that was full of poison, or on which bad things happened. You get the idea. But we made the unspoken agreement to assimilate this bagel into our group body, no questions asked.[ii]

The oven also affects the bagel. Of what is it made? How is it fired? What about the workers, the packaging, the shipping? These decisions, when generalized, affect the whole earth, the earth on which the wheat for our bagel was grown, as well as the water, air and even the fire.

Our group didn’t discuss any of these factors until after we ate the bagel. I pointed out to the group that there is a lot about the “stuff” out of which we are now partially made that we don’t know. We don’t know ourselves anymore. Do we like what we are made of? Do we like the not knowing? We might want to be more mindful next time.

Now, let’s consider the energetic aspects of the bagel. The question here is, what is the energy aspect of a bagel? Does it hold energy from the accumulated experiences of its physical “stuff” that then becomes a part of us when we eat it? Can we change its energy before we eat it to somehow control or affect what energy becomes a part of us?

Quantum physics teaches that the entire universe is a pattern of patterns of energy and vibration frequencies. It further teaches that those energy patterns are affected by human observation. According to this teaching, the only aspect of a bagel is the energy aspect, coupled with our observation that the system being observed is called “a bagel.”

The renowned Japanese researcher, Dr. Masaru Emoto[iii] takes us  further with his research.  Whereas quantum theory teaches us about the observation effect, he brings us a teaching from ancient Japanese medicine about the effects of human emotions and intentions on physical matter. He describes an energy called hado in Japanese: “Hado is the intrinsic vibration pattern at the atomic level in all matter, the smallest unit of energy. Its basis is the energy of human consciousness.”

Have you ever been in a place where people have been fighting, or where something terrible happened and you can feel the tension that lingered? You probably have. Or have you ever been moved when two lovers look at each other across a room? The energy of their passion can be felt in your body. It stays around. Those are examples of the hado effect.

Dr. Emoto used high-speed photography to demonstrate perhaps the most convincing and remarkable effects that human behavior and consciousness can have on physical reality. He photographed water at the moment that it freezes. When water had first been exposed to positive words like “love” and “gratitude” it formed beautiful, distinctly-patterned crystals. When exposed to negative words like “you fool,” chaotic patterns formed.[iv] Pointing out that the human being is about 75% water, he postulated that both the water we drink and the water that makes up most of our bodies is greatly affected by our positive or negative thoughts and words. This in turn, he says, affects our health.

Likewise, he measured the vibrational-wave field, the hado, of foods produced under various conditions and found that the conditions under which food is produced and under which it is consumed affects the hado of the food. He began working with various physicians in Japan to explore an ancient form of Japanese medicine based on hado. This form of medicine links the energy patterns in peoples’ lives to various physical ailments. By deliberately changing the hado of the water and food people consume, he is often able to cure, or at least greatly ameliorate, certain conditions. Among his conclusions, he teaches that we should drink water and eat food that contains maximum “good” hado, and that we should meditate on our water before drinking it, so as to bring healing vibrations into our bodies.

One of the strongest healing energies he found is gratitude. Since the Hebrew word for “thanks” is hoda’ah, I wonder if there is a relationship between the words hado and hoda’ah. Either way, it can’t hurt to concentrate on the way we bless our food both before and after we eat it.


Exploring our Old Testament teachings

That brings us to explore our Old Testament teaching. The Torah  (Old Testament) sets out a system called “Holiness.” Think about that—Holiness is a system! Actually, it is a system of systems. Just as each of us has a nervous system, a circulatory system, a thought system, a belief system, so Holiness is a system of systems. Here are its vital parts:

  • The Creator (Godfield)- the life force;
  • Relationship with the Divine;
  • Ethical and just behavior on the inter-human domain;
  • Mindfulness that the Earth and her creatures belong to God, thus imposing requirements of good stewardship of land and ethics toward animals and plants, along with;
  • Strict rules about what we can and cannot eat as food;
  • The living Earth (always responding to the hado effect of human conduct and the way energy is moved by humans to and from the Godfield out into relationships and behavior on the earthly domain)
  • Respect for the sanctity of time.

Each part of the system is an energy sub-system, a vibrational wave-flow pathway that at once affects and is affected by every other part. The vitality of each part of the system depends on the hado effect of human consciousness as we act or refrain from acting. And because this is a system, if any of the parts is impaired, the entire system is impaired. If we turn away from God, the system falters. If we are unethical or unjust, the system falters. And so on. We are taught that if we maintain the system it will self-perpetuate and all will go well for us, but if not, things won’t go so well. So, in this sense, holiness is the Torah way of saying sustainability.

Back to our bagel. The physical ingredients of the bagel came from the Earth. The Torah implies what some far-Eastern religions expressly teach—that the Earth is alive and responds to the energy of what happens on it. In Psalm 82, recited each Tuesday, God asks how long injustice will remain on Earth because it (injustice) causes the foundations of the Earth to crumble. In perhaps the strongest statement, Leviticus [18:28] says, “And if you defile the land, it will vomit you out as it vomited out the nations that were before you.” Leviticus [20:22] explains further, “Keep all my decrees and laws and follow them, so that the land where I am bringing you to live may not vomit you out.” Those two verses from Leviticus bracket the Holiness code (Leviticus 19). Deuteronomy [11:13]-21 (vehaya im shamoa) the second paragraph of the Shema prayer, says that if we maintain the Holiness system, the Earth will give us bounty, fecundity, water, grass for our cattle and the like. The decision to maintain the system is likened to “choosing life.” Here, “choosing life” becomes synonymous with “holiness” and “sustainability.”

So, our Holiness system starts to sound a lot like quantum physics—a pattern of patterns of energy affected by human action and consciousness. It also starts to sound like the hado of the nation is affected by the hado of its parts, which in turn, are affected by the hado of all the other parts. It would seem, then, that all bagels are not created in or with equal hado.

When I gave this teaching over to the group, we realized that insofar as each of us can generate chaotic energies, so the energies in a group could get exponentially chaotic. One person’s cellphone rang. Interference. Another had a child that had to go to the bathroom. More interference. Another’s stomach growled. Even more interference. The Clan of the Bagel started to think about how important it is to set group goals, to work together to direct its energy most effectively to the outcomes it wants. We all started to understand the world a little bit better and a reason, perhaps, that our laws are so specific about how to go about doing things.

One person in the group said, “We should get our community garden going again.” Others nodded in agreement.

“Yes,” I responded, “When we look at what the Torah teaches through the lens of the Holiness system, the Torah sets out specific guidelines and laws for a sustainable, community-based, socially-just system of food production, consumption and distribution as part and parcel of being a holy people. A community garden is a great place to start.”

Just about now lunch was ready: grass-fed, grass-finished, pastured beef from a local ranch, slaughtered and processed with highest consciousness according to kosher law by a local butcher,   bio-dynamically raised vegetables and organic grains all cooked with love and gratitude, along with other foods that people brought from their homes as loving gifts to share in community. The Clan of the Bagel would soon be partially made out of these things. Hoda’ah filled the atmosphere as deliciously as the aroma of the food. The hado was very, very good.

The Clan of the Bagel was becoming Holy.

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