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Jews were in the Midbar, the desert, complaining about food. So, Gd gave them Manna every day, and they still complained. On Friday, they had to take two of the Manna loaves, so they would have enough for Shabbat. They complained. And to this day, people complain about preparing for Shabbat.
We also had to collect double portions when there was a holiday. So, now Jews prepare huge feasts every holiday. Four of them within a forty hour span. And three enormous feasts every Shabbat. And you have to eat them all. And if you don't eat them, you're not a good Jew.
Here is the extensive history:
How It Began
We were told to collect double portions. And you wonder why our ancestors were complaining all the time. Two Challahs?! That won't fill anybody up. Ever had one of those little rolls? Imagine getting stuck with a bulkie.
Worried we would get stuck with bulkie rolls, we started having huge meals.
Meals Became Huger
In late 204 CE, to be exact, the rabbis tried to figure out what two loaves meant. That got translated as two four course meals every day of every holiday and three on Shabbat. Plus dessert.
In 1377 Shmuli asked, 'What about dessert?' And it became a requirement to add babka.
Exile Didn't Stop Us - It Only Added More Food
Wandering, Jews were worried how they will make these four course meal loaves. And they found a way to make huger meals, creating Hashgacha organizations for Kashrut. Allowing factories to cook for us, in vats that hold a hundred thousand gallons.
Yom Tov Sheni Shel Galuyot, the second day holiday of exile, became a staple in the Jewish community. So, we had to eat more. If Gd would've had in mind Yom Tov Sheni Shel Galuyot, He would've made us take three loaves of Manna. So the people decided they needed to double the amount they ate at every meal; making for two eight course meals, every meal of the holidays. As Shabbat is even greater than the holidays, Shabbat had to have three eight course meals. They needed thirty Challahs for that. And soup.
In the early 1500s soup nuts became a rabbinical requirement. The rabbis were worried that there were not enough carbs. It took years, and the founding of modern day Israel, to finally bring the crunch to the soup that the rabbis announced was missing from Shabbat joy.
Recipes Add To Weight
In the 1600s, they figured out how to make Kugel, which is anything not dessert in baked form. Truly, a Kugel is anything served in a tin that is not chicken. And we started making bigger meals. You had to have double portions of Kugel. Otherwise, you offend the Ba'alat Bayit. It was then that they also learned how to make brisket as well. This all doubled the amount of each course, again, doubling the main course.
The Kugel redefined Shabbat meals, and made us fatter as a people. We have to delight in Shabbat, and Kugels brought delight. Kugels, choolante, kishka, tzimis, fish, matzah balls, desserts, chicken, salatim. It all developed at around the same time.
It was then that two Challahs turned into fifteen dishes for the main course. And you couldn't have a main course without soup. You also needed fish, so that you could use the extra smaller plate. An aside: The smaller plate became a symbol of what the Jew will not eat. We use it for a beginner course, and then we remove it from the table to show that only sinners eat such small portions.
In the twentieth century Hadassah was created to ensure that all Jews know how to make large portions.
Different Traditions Of the Ages
The food became too much to bring to the table, so the French started what is known as the buffet. They are very weak and can't carry forty pound briskets to the table.
In other countries Jews were worried. The pale of settlement came and the Jews didn't know where their next meal was coming from. So it was a new command to eat as much as you can twice, at each meal, to fulfil Lechem Mishneh.
And then we saw that there was no Challah.
An Extra Shabbat Soul
And then the rabbis started pushing the teaching of a Nishama Yeteira, an extra Shabbat soul. So, at each meal, you had to eat two four course meals with extra Challahs, soup, kishka, Kugels and soup nuts, at every meal, and extra dessert. I don't know the full mathematics. All I know is that this is where they coined the phrase, 'I'm going for doubles.' 'Seconds' was already used in the year 1,043 BCE.
How we have two Challahs still on Saturday? I don't know. So we now collect thirty-two Challahs for Shabbis. And we eat more, as we're worried we didn't fulfill the two loaves.
And then they added whip cream to dessert. Otherwise, the extra soul is still hungry.
Being a Good Jew
Then the rabbis made a decree that you have to be heavy. Otherwise it's Maaras Ayin that you're not eating enough on the holidays (Chagim). Communities started excommunicating members who were under 200lbs. If you were over eighteen and under 200lbs, you were banned.
In some communities it became tradition to start diets after every Chag. The head of the table would say, 'The diet starts after the Chag.' Those communities became known as modern orthodox.
Next time we will go through the history of the Oneg Shabbat and other modern-day additions to the Shabbat meal, such as Salatim, adding a double sixth course to every Shabbat and Yom Tov meal.
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That is how the punchline of a Jewish joke should look. Like you're questioning something, dealing with serious stomach issues, or giving a sermon.