Going Cold Turkey (Glatt of course)

Mmm.., milkshakes, cheeseburgers..ham sandwiches…BLTs.. Cigarettes. Remember those days? Remember when smoking was cool and everybody- I mean everybody did it? Then suddenly the news broke that it caused cancer, lung disease and you tried to stop but just couldn’t? Doctors told you that you would die if you didn’t stop smoking, but in the back of your mind, all you could think was that George Burns was still alive.. Remember the cold sweats, the weight gain, and the frayed nerves of that month last year when you tried to stop smoking? Remember that silly patch that you put on your arm? Nothing worked. Finally, one day you snapped. Another close friend or relative died. Finally, you quit. Now, you can run that extra mile, colds come less frequently, you did not get fat. You were still cool. Best of all the whole country supports your quitting.

Imagine if the entire country supported eating kosher. What if there were a kosher place to eat every two and a half miles? What if every time you turned on your television there were commercials for kosher fast food instead of McDonalds? Man, you’d really want to eat it then wouldn’t you? It would be so easy. My bet would be that it still would be very tempting to eat at McDonald’s as opposed to my fictional kosher fast food place. Why? Because eating kosher isn’t about your physical health. It’s about your soul – man. The soul is this wonderfully non-scientific phenomenon that is popular to talk about these days. The New Age movement has made religion okay to talk about and not the conversation killer it used to be. Face it-it’s hip to be spiritual. But it is never hip to believe that one food over another helps one become more spiritual.

But the only reason to keep kosher is that it is food for the soul. It is not healthier, it is not easier and it is definitely not convenient outside of Israel and certain areas of the northeast. To make matters worse my fictional kosher fast food restaurant does not exist. There are no kosher fast food restaurants every two and half miles. There are never any commercials selling kosher food. It is not hip to tell your friends that you can’t eat at their homes. As a matter of fact it can downright ruin your life. Okay, it can’t really ruin your life. It just seems as if it should-I mean those cheeseburgers with that strawberry shake with large fries…

…. and Cigarettes? What is the connection to cigarettes? To me it’s obvious. The evidence clearly weighs in favor of giving up smoking but it is so darn difficult! Life-you know, but can’t explain is so much better without them, but one puff can’t hurt? I think giving up non-kosher food is like giving up cigarettes. Some people will never be convinced that they should even think about it. Others will struggle their entire lives with it. Still some will give it up cold turkey and stick with it. Me? I preferred to go in tiny minute steps. Day by day I gradually gave up non-kosher foods. Now, after several years of struggling, I am fully committed to eating only kosher foods.

As for cigarettes I really count my blessings that I never started the habit. But for those out there, including myself it was nice to know that one can take it as slow or fast as they wanted. In the end, we that made it to keeping kosher didn’t switch to kosher because it was easier or convenient, but because our soul was hungry.

6 comments on “Going Cold Turkey (Glatt of course)

  1. For some people, a total committment to kashrus is a long and winding road. If you grew up in a milieu where eating seafood, etc was a treat and a major family event, that makes it even more difficult in some ways than keeping Shabbos.

  2. I lived in Israel for sometime. Koshrut in Israel can get complicated with all the different opinions about Rabbinut, and which town has the best hechsers etc. And I never ate at any American style food places in Israel kosher or otherwise. My example was just that, an example. Further in my article, I stated that I thought that even if Kosher was convenient and there were fast food restaraunts, that wouldn’t increase kosher eating, because keeping kosher in my opinion is done for the soul and not for convenience.

  3. why don’t you move to israel?

    not only do they have kosher mcdonalds, they even have ads on the radio telling you it’s a ‘mitzva’ to buy chocolate milk.

  4. that is why I thought of the title, “going cold turkey (glatt of course) I sensed the humor when I was writing it. Expressions like “cold turkey” are ripe for puns and spins on the expression. I wrote once about being a monkey’s uncle and evolution! maybe I should submit it for this space?


  5. On one of his mp3s, Rabbi Yom Tov Geller relates an idea that the Baalei Teshuva movement grew so strong in the 60s and 70s, because you had some many more people eating vegetarian food. They were eating much less treif so there was less blockage of the heart and more receptiveness to Teshuva.

    Rabbi Yitzchok Kirzner zt”l said that his father taught Bar Mitzvah lessons to non-frum boys. He could immediately tell if their family kept kosher in the home by how well the children learned their lessons.

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