This web site contains an English translation and interpretation of Rabbenu Bahya ben Asher’s 14th century handbook on Jewish table ethics and etiquette,Shulhan Shel Arba. Since no English translations of this elegant little work on eating by the gifted 14th century Spanish Jewish writer, preacher, and kabbalist have been published yet (despite the relative popularity of the Hebrew editions in the seven centuries since its composition), and there is an growing interest in going “back to the sources” for guidance in contemporary Jewish food ethics and sustainable eating, I am posting selections of my translation on-line even before I have completed it.
I welcome people to use it, as long as you appropriately credit me as your source.
The translation is accompanied with original illustrations by Rosemary Liss, who graduated Wheaton College in Massachusetts with a major in Studio Art in 2011. Her illustrations for this project were made possible by a Wheaton College Mars Grant for student-faculty collaboration in 2010.
And I also seek comments, questions about it, and other suggestions that will help me make it clearer and more accessible in its final, polished, published form. You can make general comments here, or comment at the end of each chapter of the translation, or you can contact me directly at email@example.com. Thank You!
About the Translator
Jonathan Brumberg-Kraus is a Professor of Religion at Wheaton College in MA, a Reconstructionist Rabbi, and a member of the Zephyr Farm CSA and the Southside Community Land Trust in Rhode Island. I teach a First Year undergraduate seminar on “the Rituals of Dinner” which culminated in a sustainable banquet. I’m also on the Steering Committee of the“Meals in the Greco-Roman World” Seminar of the Society of Biblical Literature, have written extensively on meals in Jewish tradition, am a regular contributor to the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery, and the “New Jewish Food Movement” blog, The Jew and the Carrot.