Jewish tradition customarily marks every lifecycle and calendar event with a meal of mitzvahLit. Commandment. It is traditionally held that there are 613 mitzvot (plural) in Judaism, both postive commandments (mandating actions) and negative commandments (prohibiting actions). Mitzvah has also become colloquially assumed to mean the idea of a “good deed.". Special foods that symbolize the occasion and the hopes that are associated with it are eaten at most of these meals. Here are a few suggestions for foods or drinks that can be added to your menu and which can be accompanied by related verses or explanations:
Foods from the Seven Species
Jewish tradition tends to favor fruits of the seven species with which the Land of IsraelLit. ''the one who struggles with God.'' Israel means many things. It is first used with reference to Jacob, whose name is changed to Israel (Genesis 32:29), the one who struggles with God. Jacob's children, the Jewish people, become B'nai Israel, the children of Israel. The name also refers to the land of Israel and the State of Israel. was blessed: [wheat, barley,] grapes, figs, pomegranate, olives, and dates. The following blessing is recited before eating these fruits:
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה אֲדֹנָי אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הָעֵץ
Barukh Atah Adonay Eloheynu Melekh Ha’olam boreh pri ha-etz.
Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe, who created the fruits of the trees.
Foods that symbolize birth, fertility, and childhood
If you like, you can serve at the meal fish, baked goods shaped like fish, pomegranates, and foods shaped like stars – all of which symbolize fertility and abundance, in the spirit of the blessing given to AvrahamAbraham is the first patriarch and the father of the Jewish people. He is the husband of Sarah and the father of Isaac and Ishmael. God's covenant - that we will be a great people and inherit the land of Israel - begins with Abraham and is marked by his circumcision, the first in Jewish history. His Hebrew name is Avraham.: “I will exceedingly multiply your seed as the stars” (Genesis 22:17). One may similarly serve milk, dairy products, honey and almonds, which represent the childhood, development, and growth that you wish for your baby.
Foods that symbolize the lifecycle
Circular shaped foods such as bagels, chickpeas, and hard-boiled eggs, symbolizing the cyclical nature of life where birth and death each has its time and place, can also be eaten at the meal. These foods are also served at the Shalom Zachar reception that is celebrated in honor of the birth of a son, and at the Seudat Havraah meal served to mourners. They represent the baby’s longing for the sheltered life it enjoyed inside the womb. An additional dimension to these foods is provided by the Talmudic tradition that the newborn child is overcome with sadness over the loss of knowledge and wisdom that according to Jewish lore, she was taught in-utero.