Magic Jewball

all signs point to no


Jew & A, unannounced edition

Filed under : Jew & A,Judaism
On November 2, 2006
At 12:15 pm
Comments : 10

The lesson of this post is that you can send in a Jew&A question at any time and when I run out of all other ideas, I’ll actually get to your question, probably long after you stopped even caring about it or reading this blog. So, onward.

EmeraldMPH asks:

I have a question about staying kosher.

A Jewish acquaintance of mine who stays kosher once made a chicken for me and my roommate that she brought over in a disposable aluminum roasting pan to warm in our oven because our roasting pan would not be kosher (as she explained it).

However, she then ate with our silverware off our dishes. She also goes to restaurants and eats with their silverware off their dishes.

I guess I don’t understand where the line needs to be drawn. You have to keep your own dishes and flatware kosher, but you can eat off anyone else’s? I mean, how do you know that someone didn’t just have a bacon cheeseburger with a side of lobster on that dish? Or does it matter?

Well, here’s the deal, according to me, because let me tell you, you could get a lot of different answers to this question, including, “wow, she’s not really kosher at all.” But, in my opinion, Judaism is about interpretation and what you feel comfortable with and believe in. Especially with the laws of kashrut (that’s the noun form of kosher), there is an interpretation for every grain of sand on the beach. Most people I know who are kosher would not eat on those dishes at all. Some might eat cold food only (doesn’t pick up any of those miniscule pork bits left over). Many wouldn’t have eaten chicken that was cooked in an oven that’s also used for non-kosher chicken.

Some people eat dairy and fish in non-kosher restaurants. Some people don’t trust the food on El Al (Israel’s airline) to be kosher enough for them and need the meal that was endorsed by a certain Rabbi instead. Once when I was on Iberia airlines to Israel I saw that the regular meals had a little note on them that said there was no pig products in the meal. For many secular Israelis, that’s enough. Most people who consider themselves Orthodox wouldn’t have touched it. Bottom line to me is that each person needs to worry about what he/she does and let the rest of the universe choose what’s best for them. Just don’t expect Joe Glatt Kosher to eat off the rest of the universe’s plates.

DuJane asks:

Can you ride in an ambulance on the Sabbath?

Yes, if it’s a medical emergency. Well, I guess by definition it would be since they don’t usually take you by ambulance to have your nose done. But saving a life takes precedence over any other Halachic (Jewish legal) reason. There are exceptions for sanctifying God’s name, but sabbath observance doesn’t fall into that category.

Am I allowed to ask about sex on the Sabbath?

Yes, you’re allowed to ask. Next!

Oh, I kid. Sex is actually encouraged on the sabbath, since you’re supposed to enjoy the sabbath and well, for most people it’s a pretty enjoyable thing. I guess, “is bad sex allowed on the sabbath” would have a more complex answer.

I’m all out of religious referenced songs so we’ll use this one with that “crawl into my ambulance” line.

Manfred Mann– For You


10 Comments for this post

  1. Emeraldmph says:

    Ah-ha, indeed. I am so enlightened and only slightly embarrassed about my silly question.

    So I guess it doesn’t matter what you eat with when you’re having something that’s not meat, fish, or dairy?

  2. Becca says:

    People ask me that all the time, actually, in the form of: “How come you do X and this other Jew I know does Y?”

    No, it does to some people but not to others. As I said, it’s practiced and interpreted differently by people at different levels of observance.

  3. Emeraldmph says:

    Right, got it. Don’t mind me. You’re talking to a girl who yesterday at a work conference ate her salad with the dessert fork.

  4. Celia says:

    I have no problem with “How come you do X and this other Jew does Y?” What makes me nuts is, “No, you’re wrong, Jews DON’T [X] or Jews DO [Y]; I know this because my friend Melissa is Jewish and she [Y; ~X].” My college roommate did this to me for all of freshman year. She was from California, and knew one Jew, who was pretty darned unobservant even for California standards.

  5. Lisa Tagio says:

    “Bottom line to me is that each person needs to worry about what he/she does and let the rest of the universe choose what’s best for them.”

    I think this should be the first through sixth commandments, stated six times so no one misses it.

  6. Becca says:

    Sadly, I know plenty of people like that too, Celia.

    And thanks, Tag. I try to live that as best I can.

  7. RN says:

    Yes, but can you drive the ambulance on Sabbath?

  8. KP says:

    “…there is an interpretation for every grain of sand on the beach”

    This phrase just made me happy for the rest of the day. Thank you.

    I also wholeheartedly agree with Tag. The world that thinks like that is the world I would like to live in.

  9. penguindeb says:

    I was told in college by other people who were Jewish that i was not allowed to call my self Jewish because i am non-observant. AND that i had no right to be offended by a raging anti-semite who came to speak at our school even though every person that i knew Jewish or not were offended.

    “Bottom line to me is that each person needs to worry about what he/she does and let the rest of the universe choose what’s best for them.”

    that is why I love Becca. 🙂

  10. kay says:

    I thought of you this morning, Becca, when the hotel restaurant brought out my green chili, onion, and cheddar omelet and it contained ham. The waitress took it back to the kitchen and came back with the same one, proclaiming, “The cook says there was only ham in that first part.” I think you can guess my reaction/response.

Comments are closed.