Forgotten Judaica

Jewish Spice Box

We live in a great big world where thousands of different cultures meet every day on the street, on the Internet, and in the boardroom. Some of these cultures are familiar and easy to understand while others have strange practices that can make people feel a little uneasy or uncomfortable. But it is always good to remember that even though you may think someone else is a little odd they are probably thinking the same thing about you. Some of the cultures on the world are more well-known than others like the Jewish culture. They have a long and interesting history with various traditions that are sometime very interesting when you get right down to it. Traditions like the Jewish spice box.

A Jewish spice box is at its very simplest an ornate box that is usually made from wood. Traditionally it is made from wood and is ornately decorated with all sorts of beautiful designs. They are often very nice gifts to receive and there are a number of very beautiful pieces available from various locations. Even though it can be an actual box, there are also some that take other shapes. One interesting example is a Jewish spice box that takes the shape of a flower complete with wooden petals, stem, and leaves. The space for the spices is in the center of the ring of petals.

But what is a Jewish spice box? For those that are not well acquainted with Jewish traditions, a spice box is pretty much what it says it is. It is a box, as described above, that is used to keep fragrant spices in. There is more to it, of course. The significance of the box comes after the Jewish holiday of Shabbat. After the holiday of Shabbat has passed, the people would place fragrant spices in the box. The delicious and wondrous smells of the spices coming from the box would act as a reminder of the good times that were had during Shabbat and make people remember fondly the holiday and what it stands for. The sweet smell of the spices tries to counteract the sadness that one feels as the holiday departs.

For the most part he spices that were to be placed in a Jewish spice box had to be quite fragrant. There are Jewish laws that dictate which spices should be used, but generally any fragrant spice will do. A favorite spice in many households is cloves because of their pungent smell that can last for a long time. Some families may even have their own ‘traditional mixes’ to put into their Jewish spice box.

A Jewish spice box is an important part of the Jewish holiday of Shabbat. The sweet and fragrant smell of the box means a lot to the people of this particular culture. Whether it is a simple but ornate box or some other container in which to hold the spices does not really matter. It is the idea behind the tradition that matters most to the people.

 

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