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Almond jOy

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06/19/2014

Almond jOy photo

Have you ever seen an almond and thought that G-d was with you? Or that the little brown beauty was a sign of a divine presence?    

In this weekend’s Torah portion, Korach, Aaron’s staff sprouted almonds. In Numbers 17: 23, “And on the following day Moses came to the Tent of Testimony, and behold, Aaron's staff for the house of Levi had blossomed! It gave forth blossoms, sprouted buds, and produced ripe almonds.” The fast growth of the almonds proved that G-d intended that Aaron become a high priest. Almonds were the sign? Almonds?  

According to Rashi, almonds blossom quicker than any other fruit (Yes, almonds are considered fruits, called drupes!) and that is why almonds were chosen as the fruit that connected Aaron to G-d. I have a different take on it, however. Maybe almonds were chosen because they’re packed with vitamins and nutrients, and that the almond itself was the miracle, rather than the time it took them to blossom. That Aaron was able to produce something so healthy so quickly was a sign that G-d was with him.  

Almonds are a great source of biotin, magnesium, and vitamin E. Biotin helps control your blood sugar and keeps your skin looking healthy. Magnesium also controls blood sugar, but is more widely known as a mineral that protects our bones and fights inflammation. Vitamin E, which makes up 40 percent of the nutrients of an almond, is an antioxidant and helps fight heart disease.  

Another way that almonds help fight heart disease is through the fat they contain, but it’s the good kind of fat--monounsaturated. Monounsaturated fats help lower your LDL cholesterol, which is your bad cholesterol.  

In recent years, almonds have become more and more popular. We find them in salads, covered in chocolate, and as an ingredient in the crusts on chicken, fish, and meats. Adding almonds to your food is smart. About 23 almonds have 6 grams of protein which, along with magnesium, can help make your body stronger.  

Almond milk is an excellent substitute for people with dairy allergies. Not only is it delicious and nutritious, but it can help reduce the stomach aches that some people get from dairy products. If you are allergic to any type of nut, be careful and consult with your doctor before switching to almond milk, but if not, go nuts. Pour almond milk in your cereal, use it in your smoothies, or make ice cream with it.  

For years people jokingly asked health professionals if there was anything high in fat, delicious, and easy to find that they could eat to stay healthy. There is no need to kid around anymore – we have almonds. They are found at every grocery store, and if eaten raw, which is the healthiest way, they are always kosher. We don’t need Aaron to make them quickly; stores have them right at our fingertips.  

Aaron’s staff sprouted almonds and everyone was amazed. People instantly knew that Aaron had some sort of connection with G-d when they saw a cluster of almonds. We should feel the same way. Every time we see an almond we should thank G-d for making something so little and perfect for us to nosh on.                   

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