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The Missing Spice

Devorah Omer
AGE: 5-8

Rabbi Judah the Prince lived in the Land of Israel in the Second Century C.E., and was famous for his great wisdom. At that time the Land was ruled by the Roman Empire and one day the Emperor Antoninus, hearing about the wisdom of Rabbi Judah, decided to visit the Jewish leader in his home. The honorable guest arrived at noon on the Sabbath, accompanied by his ministers, his counselors and his slaves, and Rabbi Judah the Prince invited them all to have lunch with him. The table was festively laid and the food was delicious, but cold, because the dishes had been cooked before the Sabbath. To Rabbi Judah’s great surprise, the emperor and his entourage enjoyed the meal so much that they asked for second helpings, and left nothing over. So Rabbi Judah invited Antoninus for another meal, and promised to prepare double the quantities of the food that the emperor had found so palatable. The feast took place on Tuesday, and when Antoninus and his entourage arrived, a table laden with fine dishes, fresh and hot, awaited them. But nevertheless, the guests ate only a little, and didn’t ask for more. When Rabbi Judah asked why, the emperor explained that although the food was tasty this time too, it was not as delicious as the first time. “Of course the food is less tasty today,” said Rabbi Judah. “At this meal, one spice is missing.” What spice was that? The taste of the Sabbath of course, which there was at the first meal, the Sabbath meal.  

The Missing Spice is a well-known Talmudic fable about the importance of the Sabbath, retold especially for children by Devorah Omer.

Illustrations: Yael Albert

Title The Missing Spice
Author’s Last Name Devorah
Author's First Name Omer
Language(s) Hebrew
Genre children-picture bk
Year of Publication (Hebrew) 1978
Publisher 2 (Hebrew) Modan
Year of Publication 2 (Hebrew) 2012
No. Pages 28 pp.
Book title - Hebrew (phonetic) Ha-Tavlin He-Chaser: Al Pi Agadat Chazal
Representation Represented by ITHL

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