Observance of Tisha B’av seems to require a proverbial Seuda Hamafseket or “Last Supper” before the fasting commences. But why make hay out of final morsels; after all isn’t it about abstention? A quick glance at the Mishna serves to solidify the query. Yet, a careful analysis of early Talmudic sources along with classic medieval commentary reveals tantalizing meaning and deeper purpose. A fresh new understanding of what this final meal represents, with a special emphasis on its hidden flavors can only be fully appreciated in its unusual Shabbat incarnation.

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