While reading our portion for this week, parashat Eikev, I had a flashback to a moment very early on in the pandemic. It was just before the lockdown, when people were really starting to understand that life as we knew it was about to change. I’d gone to Tesco with a friend to pick up a few odds and ends to find a grocery store heaving with people pushing carts full of food and household necessities. It was the first time I’d ever seen rows and rows of nearly bare shelves, with limits being placed on staples like eggs and flour. 

I completely understood the impulse to overshop. Food is rarely just sustenance – it’s a source of comfort, it’s a reminder of good times and good people, and in the right hands, it has the potential to become a work of art. The thought that there may not be enough is frightening. 

Food scarcity was a big problem for our ancestors. Throughout the book of Numbers, the Israelites desire for better and different food even gives rise to the idea that they should return to slavery in Egypt!  

God in parashat Eikev shows a deep understanding that for us people, food symbolises safety, security, celebration, and many other things. So this week, as we tuck into our Shabbat dinner, let’s remember to be truly thankful for the variety we are blessed to enjoy.