In addition to the description of the dedication ceremony of the Mishkan or Tabernacle, the Torah portion this week presents us with the laws of kosher and non-kosher animals. For animals we have 3 signs that make an animal kosher for our consumption – split hooves, chewing its cud and cleft hooves. For birds, there are no particular sign, just the specific names of the birds which are prohibited. For fish, there are 2 signs- scales and fins.

I read a lovely idea from the Lubavitcher Rebbe about the meaning of scales and fins. The kabbalah (books of Jewish mysticism) suggests that idea that the scales represent the armor of the fish. The Lubavitcher Rebbe explains that the armor serves as protection. For humans, that armor is our integrity.

“Integrity means that one has absolute standards of right and wrong, and is committed to a morality that transcends one’s moods and desires. Integrity preserves our souls from temptation.”

Fins on the other hand, represent the idea of ambition- something that we have that pulls us forward in a positive direction.

“A healthy sense of ambition, knowing one’s strengths and wanting to utilize them in full, gives a person the impetus to traverse the turbulent sea of life and to maximize his or her G‑d-given potential. It propels us to fulfill our dreams and leave our unique imprint on the world.”

With these 2 ideas in mind, I would like to share a recipe for making “fish” cupcakes, showing the fins and scales, and hopefully prompting a discussion about the values of integrity and ambition.

Fishy Cupcakes:  Ingredients
You can use any pareve cupcake recipe along with homemade or store-bought pareve frosting
Pareve candy-coated chocolates and One sprinkle (for the eye)
A strawberry

Once completely cooled, frost each cupcake with frosting.
Use pareve candy-coated chocolates as scales, leaving space for the fish’s face.
Cut the strawberry in half vertically and cut two wedges for the fins and half the tip for the mouth.
Position that one sprinkle for the eye, and you’re done!

Have a good and sweet Shabbat!
(Adapted from Tamar Runyan