12 November 2016

Rosinka רוזינקא

Once in a while, you make a discovery and it's so good that you almost don't want to tell anyone about it and you wish to keep it to yourself.  This was the case with Rosinka רוזינקא .  It is written in English with an "s" but the name in Hebrew reads "Rozinka".   Despite that spelling mistake, it ticked all the boxes for me.  I thought I will write a blog post about it and share the knowledge as it deserves recognition.  It is a popular lunch time spot with office workers who work in the vicinity.  The daily fare is nourishing and the variety of dishes on offer range from vegan and vegetarian to meat, chicken and fish dishes, salads, rice and lots of different types of vegetables.  A meal at Rosinka feeds not only the body but the soul.  Essentially it is home-made style food which consist of wholesome, healthy and delicious meals.  The restaurant is meticulously clean.  It is open only at lunch times from 11:45am until 2:45pm Sunday to Thursday and is closed on Friday and Saturday.  

For me, having lunch there was so evocative of my years at boarding school in England.  It was a real trip down memory lane.  This was due to the fact that the restaurant is based on refectory style eating.  People come into the restaurant, read the menu which is written on a black board, queue up and get a wooden tray and are served whatever they would like to eat, pay for the food and drinks and then sit down on wooden tables and chairs.  There is no distracting music playing in the background as one finds in so many other restaurants today.  There is only the contented hum of diners conversing with each other and the gentle sound of knives and forks touching plates.  A real gem of a place. 

The historical plaque outside the restaurant states that, "The word Rosinka stems from the Talmud Bavli (Ta'anit 23) where it indicates a minimal daily fee for a worker, enough to purchase one day's worth of food.  In modern terms, rosinka is the meal element of the minumum wage.  The origin of the word is unclear, but scholars tend to equate it with a measure of bulk or weight equal to a worker's daily meal.

Writings tell of some of the sages, among which were Honi ha M'agel and Rabbi Yona, who were blessed with great powers.  The latter of the two lived in fourth century Galilee and earned his keep as a hired worker.  One day he was called out by court of law to leave his work and pray for rain.  He then asked his employer for the rosinka, and left to pray.

This story teaches three things: First, an employer must discharge a worker when called out for public duty; second, in such a case, the employer must provide the rosinka in full so that the worker can purchase his daily meal; and third, that a worker leaving his place of employment not for reasons of public service or order of the court is not entitled to payment for the missed day."

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