Monday, October 3, 2011

Kashrut Revisited

Donny's paternal grandfather (A"H) had a saying that he passed on to his grandchildren.

When you're dating a girl that you want to marry, you have to ask three important questions:

"One: Will she keep a kosher home?
Two: Will she send her children to a Jewish day school?
Three: And I forgot the last one."

Luckily, I passed the test and so was allowed in to the family. I used to think this was just a cute grandfatherly thing, until I had my own son.

And now I realize the importance of making sure your son marries someone who will keep a kosher home: It's because sons (a sweeping generalization based on my own child) have no inkling as to "kashrut."

One of my small accomplishments as a parent is that my children put their bowls and plates (but not the good Shabbat china - no! Stop carrying it with one hand! I'll do it for you!) in the sink. Yes, they may fight like rabid ferrets and when they occasionally say "That was good, Mom!" there's a smidge too much surprise in their voices, but I have managed this one tiny victory.

Yaakov has divided the sinks up thusly: Cereal Sink and Not Cereal Sink. And it constantly amazes me how he hasn't yet managed to figure out dairy/chalavi vs meat/besari.

"Where should I put this yogurt spoon?"

"Cereal sink, Yaakov." (Have you noticed that the yogurt spoon looks suspiciously like the cereal one???)

"Which sink should I put this bowl of chicken soup in?" (You know, the bowl that has actual bits of chicken still in it?)

"Which one do you think, Yaakov?"

"Um, cereal?" (Must be the bowl-bowl gezerat shava).

He never has a clue. I've tried to explain it to him, but while he can understand complex intricacies of "Ratatouille" and "Kung Fu Panda" on a level most of didn't even know existed, comprehending that "yogurt" "cheese" and "milk" are all from the same family, and this family is diametrically opposed to the "chicken" and "hot dog" family, seems to be beyond his capabilities.

So, future Mrs. Yaakov Rose, you will surely fall in love with his charming good looks and sensitive soul. And trust me, you will experience Movie Night like no one else. But for your own sanity, you may want to label your kitchen "cereal" and "not cereal."


Commenter Abbi said...

You're lucky he gets the yogurt spoon into an actual sink. My son just throws them in the garbage with the cup (and they're not plastic. :/)

Anonymous said...

See, it's the men's solemn oath - they learn it in the womb but, unlike all of Torah, they don't forget this one. "Act like you have NO IDEA how the kitchen works and they'll never ask you to help."

Risa said...

As usual, great post. Explaining pareve to a young child is even more challenging. Toddler: "What are cucumbers?" Mother: They're pareve, meaning not meat or not dairy." Don't even ask about things that are available as pareve or dairy (such as crackers or pretzles). Total confusion. This brings to mind a story that I was told about a rabbi who wanted to help his wife get the kitchen ready for Pesach and told her that halacha didn't require her to be so stringent. She told her husband: "You and your shulchan aruch are going to traif up my kitchen!"

Kathleen said...

I usually am lucky to get my almost 5 yo to bring his plate/bowl to the counter much less near the sink. He is still very confused about what is meat and dairy.

OneTiredEma said...


We are actually ok with the meat/dairy stuff around here. But I haven't really gotten into pareve...and we have a lot of pots/utensils of same. So. Erm.