The laws of Tzara’at – a ritual impurity manifesting in a person’s skin turning white and hair falling out, or the appearances of his clothes or house changing – are discussed in this week’s Torah portion. Moses Maimonides, known as the Rambam, described how Tzara’at is caused by Lashon Hara, gossip. He explained that Lashon Hara begins with speaking nonsense.

According to Likutei Sichot, a collection of talks written by the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory, there are two main aspects of Lashon Hara: the abuse of another person and the abuse of speech itself.

Since G‑d gave us the power of speech, when we use it for anything but good, we are abusing it.

This teaches us that we must always think first before we speak. Not only must we be careful what we put in our mouths as we learned in last week’s Torah portion, but we must make sure that whatever words come out of our mouths have a positive and constructive purpose.

When deep-fried to perfection, sopapillas are hollow inside, much like nonsensical speech. And though they taste delicious even without honey drizzled on top, there is nothing sweet in the dough, like talk that is not positive. And just like speech, a little bit of honey on top makes it seem sweeter than it truly is. Though they can be made in any shape, I made mine to look like mouths.


  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. margarine
  • ¾ cup warm water
  • For frying: 4 cups vegetable oil
  • For topping: honey


  1. Pour the oil into a pot (or a deep fryer if you have one… I don’t) and then turn on stove to medium-high. If you have a candy thermometer (I do), leave it in the pot. Every so often, check on it—you don’t want it higher than 375˚.
  2. Meanwhile, mix all the ingredients until your dough is smooth. Cover for 20 minutes.
  3. Then roll out your dough to ¼ inch thick and use a cup to make about a dozen circles. Then shape them manually to look like mouths.
  4. By now, your oil should be very hot. When the oil temperature reaches 375˚ (or you think it must have by now…), use a slotted spatula to carefully place two or three ‘mouths’ into the pot at a time. Fry until golden brown on each side and drain on paper towels.
  5. When ready to serve, drizzle honey on top of each sopapilla.

Have a good and sweet Shabbat!

Recipe adapted from the Real Sopapillas recipe on the Allrecipes website.