Friday, May 31, 2013

Sometimes Keeping Kosher Does Much More Than Divide A Kitchen

Over the years my wife and I have observed the laws of Kashrut to varying degrees. It began about three years ago when we began eliminating pork and non kosher fish from our diet. I had eliminated shellfish long before that time due to my wife’s severe allergy but we took it a step further by removing eel, calamari, and others from our options.

Next was the big step of not mixing meat and dairy. This was particularly hard as we both grew up and thoroughly enjoyed cheeseburgers and cheese steaks. While it was a struggle, we managed to do it. However, I think we are still on some Philadelphia citizens watch list.

After our short time in Israel, our observance increased to the point at which we created a kosher kitchen in our new apartment and stocked it with strictly kosher food. As many of you know, this is not an easy endeavor as this required us to segregate our pantry, fridge, stove, cabinets, and sink and maintain a process of keeping everything kosher and having a set of steps to follow for the times when we messed up (grabbing the wrong utensil for example).

This is where we have been for the past year or so.

Lately we have been asking ourselves if this extra step has really added anything to our observance. Is it bringing us closer to G-d or is it hindering us from truly appreciating what G-d has given us? Of course, this is really part of a much broader question regarding our observance but it applies to all aspects including the laws of Kashrut.

In the end, we have decided to go back to basics as we have found ourselves getting too caught up in the details of what we are doing rather than the appreciating of what we have and what G-d has given us. While a minor aspect of the decision it is still an important one is the fact that, given our financial position, it has been detrimental to our life and well being to spend the extra money on strictly kosher products (ones that are labeled with a hechsher).

We had gotten away from appreciating life and all that we have been given. We had overcomplicated our lives and muddled the meaning of what it is to live and what it means to have G-d in our lives. It is time to keep it simple.

If I have pissed you off or offended you in some way with this post please know that you are not the first and you won’t be the last… you are the newest member of a club that has experienced tremendous growth over the past few years. However, keep in mind that all members joined the club of their own volition as they refused to be open to an opinion that differed from their own. I always welcome a respectful discussion no matter how wrong you may be.

With that said… if you agree, leave a comment; if you disagree, leave a comment; if you’re struggling with the same issue, welcome to the club, now leave a comment.