Friday, April 01, 2016

No foolin'?

The goal of this blog is to bring some food consciousness to the Shabbat table.

Kosher for the CluelessI can still recall the day my grandfather ("Pop") explained kashrut to me.

We were sitting in his office.

He had the corner office at the Firm. He was senior partner.

Pop puffed his pipe. He leaned slightly forward in his roomy black leather chair. It was the biggest chair I had ever seen and once in a while he let me sit in it, briefly.

At such moments, he always smiled and his eye twinkled. It pleased him to share his wisdom with me.

"Years ago," he began (nowadays people say, "in the olden days," but for Pop, it was always, "years ago..."), "Jewish people didn't eat pork because it was susceptible to trichinosis. It was for health reasons. Nowadays, we don't have that concern, which is why we don't need to worry about the dietary laws anymore."

I wonder if Pop ever considered the fact that Romans and Chinese and many other nations "years ago" ate a lot of pork. Were they suffering epidemic raters of trichinosis? If so, kashrut must have given the Jews a remarkable advantage. How were the Jews able to keep the secret for so long?

And what about all the other non-kosher animals? What about the slaughtering rules? What about the blood issue? What about the milk and meat business? What about orlah and shevi'it? What about the fins and scales business? What about the Forbidden Fruit?

Years later when I started to keep kosher, I visited my grandparents and made all kinds of trouble with my diet.

With that same smile, and that twinkle, Pop said to me, "Haven't you ever heard of the expression, 'When in Rome'?"

"Sure," I said, "But look what happened to them - they're gone and we're still around!"

He chuckled.

And all the kidding stopped when a great-grandson named Seinfeld was born.

Question for your table: What do you think is the purpose or meaning of kashrut?

Shabbat Shalom

PS - Here's a link to the above book.

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