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THE MORNING-MEAL WITH THE PHARISEE.
to the immediately preceding Discourse), but rather be regarded as CHAP. indicating the circumstances under which a Pharisee had bidden Him to the meal. Indeed, we can scarcely imagine that, immediately after such a charge of the Pharisees as that Jesus acted as the representative of Beelzebul, and such a reply on the part of Jesus, a Pharisee would have invited Him to a friendly meal, or that 'Lawyers,' or, to use a modern term, 'Canonists,' would have been present at it. How different their feelings were after they had heard His denunciations, appears from the bitterness with which they afterwards sought to provoke Him into saying what might serve as ground for a criminal charge. And there is absolutely no evidence that, as commentators St. Lnke suggest, the invitation of the Pharisee had been hypocritically given, for the purpose of getting up an accusation against Christ. More than this, it seems entirely inconsistent with the unexpressed astonishment of the Pharisee, when he saw Jesus sitting down to food without having first washed hands. Up to that moment, then, it would seem that he had only regarded Him as a celebrated Rabbi, though perhaps one who taught strange things.
xi. 53, 54
But what makes it almost certain, that some time must have elapsed between this and the previous Discourse (or rather that, as we believe, the two events happened in different places), is, that the invitation of the Pharisee was to the morning-meal.' We know that this took place early, immediately after the return from morningprayers in the Synagogue.3 It is, therefore, scarcely conceivable, that all that is recorded in connection with the first Discourse should have occurred before this first meal. On the other hand, it may well have been, that what passed at the Pharisee's table may have some connection with something that had occurred just before in the Synagogue, for we conjecture that it was the Sabbath-day. We infer this from the circumstance that the invitation was not to the principal meal, which on a Sabbath the Lawyers' (and, indeed, all householders) would, at least ordinarily, have in their own homes. We can picture to ourselves the scene. The week-day family-meal was simple enough, whether breakfast or dinner-the latter towards evening, although sometimes also in the middle of the day, but always before actual
Yoma 74 b
© Ber. 41 b
d Ber. 35 a Ps. xxiv. 1
Ber 36 a
darkness, in order, as it was expressed, that the sight of the dishes by daylight might excite the appetite. The Babylonian Jews were content to make a meal without meat; not so the Palestinians." With the latter the favourite food was young meat: goats, lambs, calves. Beef was not so often used, and still more rarely fowls. Bread was regarded as the mainstay of life,' without which no entertainment was considered as a meal. Indeed, in a sense it constituted the meal. For, the blessing was spoken over the bread, and this was supposed to cover all the rest of the food that followed, such as the meat, fish, or vegetables-in short, all that made up the dinner, but not the dessert. Similarly, the blessing spoken over the wine included all other kinds of drink. Otherwise it would have been necessary to pronounce a separate benediction over each different article eaten or drunk. He who neglected the prescribed benedictions was regarded as if he had eaten of things dedicated to God, since it was written: 'The earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof.'e 2 Beautiful as this principle is, it degenerated into tedious questions of casuistry. Thus, if one kind of food was eaten as an addition to another, it was settled that the blessing should be spoken only over the principal kind. Again, there are elaborate disputations as to what should be regarded as fruit, and have the corresponding blessing, and how, for example, one blessing should be spoken over the leaves and blossom, and another over the berries of the caper. Indeed, that bush gave rise to a serious controversy between the Schools of Hillel and Shammai. Another series of elaborate discussions arose, as to what blessing should be used when a dish consisted of various ingredients, some the product of the earth, others, like honey, derived from the animal world. Such and similar disquisitions, giving rise to endless argument and controversy, busied the minds of the Pharisees and Scribes.
Let us suppose the guests assembled. To such a morning-meal they would not be summoned by slaves, nor be received in such solemn state as at feasts. First, each would observe, as a religious rite, the washing of hands.' Next, the head of the house would cut a piece from the whole loaf-on the Sabbath there were two loaves and speak the blessing. But this, only if the company lay
As always in the East, there were many kinds of bakemeat, from the coarse barley-bread or rice-cake to the finest pastry. We read even of a kind of biscuit, imported from India (the Teritha, Ber. 37 b).
2 So rigid was this, that it was deemed
duty to speak a blessing over a drink of water, if one was thirsty, Ber. 44 a.
This, also, was matter of controversy, but the Rabbis decided that the blessing must first be spoken, and then the loaf cut (Ber. 39 b).
at table, as at dinner. If they sat, as probably always at the early meal, each would speak the benediction for himself. The same rule applied in regard to the wine. Jewish casuistry had it, that one Ber. 42 a blessing sufficed for the wine intended as part of the meal. If other wine were brought in during the meal, then each one would have to say the blessing anew over it; if after the meal (as was done on Sabbaths and feast-days, to prolong the feast by drinking), one of the company spoke the benediction for all.
At the entertainment of this Pharisee, as indeed generally, our Lord omitted the prescribed washing of hands' before the meal. But as this rite was in itself indifferent, He must have had some definite object, which will be explained in the sequel. The externalism of all these practices will best appear from the following account which the Talmud gives of a feast.' b As the guests enter, they sit Ber. 43 a down on chairs, and water is brought to them, with which they wash one hand. Into this the cup is taken, when each speaks the blessing over the wine partaken of before dinner. Presently they all lie down at table. Water is again brought them, with which they now wash both hands, preparatory to the meal, when the blessing is spoken over the bread, and then over the cup, by the chief person at the feast, or else by one selected by way of distinction. The company respond by Amen, always supposing the benediction to have been spoken by an Israelite, not a heathen, slave, nor law-breaker. Nor was it lawful to say it with an unlettered man, although it might be said with a Cuthæan (heretic, or else Samaritan), who was learned. • Ber. 47 b After dinner the crumbs, if any, are carefully gathered-hands are again washed, and he who first had done so leads in the prayer of thanksgiving. The formula in which he is to call on the rest to join him, by repeating the prayers after him, is prescribed, and differs according to the number of those present. The blessing and the thanksgiving are allowed to be said not only in Hebrew, but in any other language.d
d Ber. 40 b
In regard to the position of the guests, we know that the uppermost seats were occupied by the Rabbis. The Talmud formulates ite in this manner: That the worthiest lies down first, on his left side, with his feet hanging down. If there are two 'cushions' (divans), the next worthiest lies at his feet; if there are three cushions, the third worthiest lies above the first (at his left), so that the chief person is in the middle. The water before eating is first handed to the worthiest, and so in regard to the washing after meat. But if a very large number are present, you begin after dinner with the least
e Ber. 46 b
worthy, till you come to the last five, when the worthiest in the company washes his hands, and the other four after him. The guests being thus arranged, the head of the house, or the chief person at table, speaks the blessing,2 and then cuts the bread. By some it was not deemed etiquette to begin till after he who had said the prayer had done so, but this does not seem to have been the rule among the Palestinian Jews. Then, generally, the bread was dipped into salt, or something salted, etiquette demanding that where there were two they should wait one for the other, but not where there were three or more.
This is not the place to furnish what may be termed a list of menus at Jewish tables. In earlier times the meal was, no doubt, very simple. It became otherwise when intercourse with Rome, Greece, and the East made the people familiar with foreign luxury, while commerce supplied its requirements. Indeed, it would scarcely be possible to enumerate the various articles which seem to have been imported from different, and even distant, countries.
To begin with the wine was mixed with water, and, indeed, some thought that the benediction should not be pronounced till the water had been added to the wine. According to one statement, two Nidd. ii. 7 parts," according to another, three parts, of water were to be added
a Ber. 50 a
• Pes. 108 b
in St. Mark XV. 23
to the wine. Various vintages are mentioned: among them a red wine of Saron, and a black wine. Spiced wine was made with honey and pepper. Another mixture, chiefly used for invalids, consisted of old Mentioned wine, water, and balsam; yet another was 'wine of myrrh ;'a we also read of a wine in which capers had been soaked. To these we should add wine spiced, either with pepper, or with absinth; and what is described as vinegar, a cooling drink made either of grapes that had not ripened, or of the lees. Besides these, palm-wine was also in use. Of foreign drinks, we read of wine from Ammon, and from the province Asia, the latter a kind of 'must' boiled down. Wine in ice came from the Lebanon; a certain kind of vinegar from Idumæa; beer from Media and Babylon; a barley-wine (zythos) from Egypt. Finally, we ought to mention Palestinian apple-cider, and the juice of other fruits. If we adopt the rendering of some, even liqueurs were known and used. Long as this catalogue is, that of the various articles of food, whether native or imported, would occupy a much larger space. Suffice it that, as regarded the various kinds of grain, meat, fish, and fruits,
'According to Ber. 46 b, the order in Persia was somewhat different.
2 Tradition ascribes this benediction
to Moses on the occasion when manna first fell.
THE RULES OF ETIQUETTE AT TABLE.
either in their natural state or preserved, it embraced almost everything known to the ancient world. At feasts there was an introductory course, consisting of appetising salted meat, or of some light dish. This was followed by the dinner itself, which finished with dessert (Aphikomon or terugima), consisting of pickled olives, radishes and lettuce, and fruits, among which even preserved ginger from India is mentioned." The most diverse and even strange state- Comp. Ber. ments are made as to the healthiness, or the reverse, of certain articles passim of diet, especially vegetables. Fish was a favourite dish, and never wanting at a Sabbath-meal. It was a saying, that both salt and water should be used at every meal, if health was to be preserved. Condiments, such as mustard or pepper, were to be sparingly used. Very different were the meals of the poor. Locusts-fried in flour or honey, or preserved―required, according to the Talmud, no blessing, since the animal was really among the curses of the land. Eggs were a common article of food, and sold in the shops. Then there was a milk-dish, into which people dipped their bread. Others, who were better off, had a soup made of vegetables, especially onions, and meat, while the very poor would satisfy the cravings of hunger with bread and cheese, or bread and fruit, or some vegetables, such as cucumbers, lentils, beans, peas, or onions.
At meals the rules of etiquette were strictly observed, especially as regarded the sages. Indeed, there are added to the Talmud two tractates, one describing the general etiquette, the other that of 'sages,' of which the title may be translated as 'The Way of the World' (Derech Erez), being a sort of code of good manners. According to some, it was not good breeding to speak while eating. The learned and most honoured occupied not only the chief places, but were sometimes distinguished by a double portion. According to Jewish etiquette, a guest should conform in everything to his host, even though it were unpleasant. Although hospitality was the greatest and most prized social virtue, which, to use a Rabbinic expression, might make every home a sanctuary and every table an altar, an unbidden guest, or a guest who brought another guest, was proverbially an unwelcome apparition. Sometimes, by way of selfrighteousness, the poor were brought in, and the best part of the meal ostentatiously given to them. At ordinary entertainments, people were to help themselves. It was not considered good manners to drink as soon as you were asked, but you ought to hold the cup for a little in your hand. But it would be the height of rudeness, either to wipe the plates, to scrape together the bread, as though you