One of the last barriers keeping me in the fold was eating kosher. For some reason I could not get myself to eat something not endorsed as kosher by a Rabbi. Eating OU or some other shady Hechsher (kosher certificate) was no problem, so wasn’t a stifling hot latte from Starbucks or even eating milk and meat without waiting the required six hours between them. Still, I stayed away from anything worse then Cholov Akum (non-kosher milk products). That was until last night.
Last night I went to visit one of the many friends who I have met through this blog. Let’s call her Miri. Miri was once Chassidish, married and lived in one of the most reclusive, repulsive, repugnant areas that Chassidim could live in. (I’m not going to name it to hide her identity but there aren’t a lot of those around.) Miri eventually left her land and her birthplace and her fathers house* and went to a place where she could live the way she wants to. The place she chose is in a very Yiddishe community although that specific block is not so Yiddish.
My stomach was already growling when I walked up the steps to her apartment. It was so bad that I was afraid that I’m waking up her little daughters that were sleeping so peacefully in the other room. I was hungry and I had to admit it to her when she asked me if I am. She knows me from the blog so naturally she asked me if I want some Chinese from down the block. I racked my brains on where there is a kosher Chinese on that block for I consider myself an expert on the kosher fine food establishments around here. Turns out that there is a Chinese restaurant there, only it is not kosher. I politely declined the offer saying that I have never yet eaten non-kosher food in my life.
She sounded shocked and I do not blame her. Here is this bona fide Shaigetz who's claim to fame is his none believing, yet he cannot eat a chicken sandwich from Burger King. I always knew that it is a physiological restraint and not an actual fear. Still, I never tried it. At times that I was really hungry and would not be in or near a Jewish community I would feast on coffee, potato chips and fruit. Even after eating on Yom Kipur for three years now, I still did not eat a cooked vegetable that was in the same pot as un-kosher beef.
We decided to go to a kosher eatery where I will order something while she would hide out in the car, after all we could not be seen together. At the corner, right next to the Chinese, Something came into me** and I decided to end this Meshiga’as (craziness) then and there and get myself once for all something Trief (un-kosher).
Miri was ever so nice as usual and volunteered to get me something good while I hid in the car waiting for her return. I could not care less what she would order for me, but I hoped that it tastes good so it would not deter me from eating non-kosher again. I sat in the car for a good 15 minutes. Miri even came out to sit with me to make sure that I am all right while the food was being prepared. For the first time in years, I felt scared by something non-existent and that feeling by itself intensified the fear. Here is me, big grownup Bock, having to be persuaded that eating a piece of chicken is Nisht Azoi Geferlach (not so terrible).
She came out of the store with a “chicken teriyaki” I had never heard of it but the smell itself was enough to incite me.
We walked into her apartment; the lights were dimmed so her little daughter should not wake up. I sat down at the kitchen table, feeling my heart pumping blood at a frantic pace. She lit three candles and claimed that they are scented. I guess that I was too out of it to scent anything. She took out nice crystal glasses that are used only on special occasions, poured the caffeine-free-lemon flavored-diet-coke into it, and put it down next to me. Next, she took out a few fancy napkins and set it to my right. Then she took out a plastic plate and plastic fork and served me supper. I looked at the dish; it did smell good I clearly remember. It looked good too.
I always imagined in my mind that un-kosher food has some sort of yuck factor to it. It did not. I picked up with the back of my fork a piece of broccoli and instinctually made a Brocho (blessing) before remembering that one is actually not allowed to bless god when doing a sin***.
It took me the better part of five minutes to chew it. Miri sat by, patiently waiting for me to get over the excitement and start enjoying the food. After swallowing it I still had to eat the real thing. A piece of chicken, probably smaller then a than a Kol Shehee was first to enter my mouth followed by a bigger piece and then an even bigger piece. Pretty soon I was enjoying the dish itself without thinking of the ingredients it contains.
Somewhere in middle of eating, I remembered what RedSong had told me earlier about how chicken are fed with growth hormones that actually cause cancer in the black community, which generally eats more chicken then the average American. The un-kosher chicken is juicer then the ones I’m used to eating. Even the Chinese bits are fuller then the ones served at Mr. Wok or at China Glatt on the rare occasion. Thus, the thought of the foul being injected with hormones that I was so peacefully enjoying made me stop eating when I felt not hungry anymore.
Telling Miri that I’m going to vomit I asked her to bring me a Negel Vasser Shisel (bucket) so I wouldn’t mess up her kitchen. She though I was serious and looked at me with begging eyes. No, it screamed. When I made the motion of vomiting she closed her eyes and jolted away in disgust. She only opened them when she heard me laugh. Oh how cruel can one piece of Treifehne chicken make a person.
Now that I have overcome this obstacle too all that is still left for me to do is sleeping with a guy and worshiping an idol. Both of them are things that I will never do (sorry guys). I can now rest in peace.
So, if this is what hell is about then I might actually consider it.
*לך לך מארצך וממולדתך ומבית אביך
**אין אדם חוטא אלא אם כן נכנסה בו רוח שטות
***בוצע ברך ניאץ ה
2 days ago