Broken-down Poetry: Kashrut pt. I


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Friday, February 19, 2010

Kashrut pt. I

It's Lenten season, and this is the first time I've given something up.

Usually I only have one or two acquaintances who sacrifice something for the 40+ days of Lent, but this year I think just about all my friends are jumping on the sacramental bandwagon. Lindsey's giving up peanut butter. Abby's giving up Facebook. I know a kid who's giving up celibacy. (I think he's joking, but I can't be so sure.)

So what am I giving up? Gentile eating habits.

This summer I read "Mudhouse Sabbath" by Lauren Winner, a woman who grew up an Orthodox Jew and converted to Christianity in college. The book is about the Jewish customs she misses the most after becoming a Christian, and why they're relevant to her new faith.

The chapters on kashrut (dietary law) and guf (body) intrigued me. Jewish law forces us to consider what we put into our bodies and how we take care of them. We must to pay attention to what we eat - no pork, no shrimp or lobster, no mixing meat and dairy - and it in turn becomes an act of worship.

I'm on day two of observing kashrut and I've already done a lot more thinking. For instance, I had a burrito for dinner yesterday. This is what I typically get:

Gentile burrito:
1. Tortilla
2. Rice
3. Black beans
4. Ground beef
5. Lettuce
6. Cheese
7. Sour cream

But I can't mix my meat and my dairy. (The Torah says, "Do not cook a young goat in its mother's milk"; it's a way of respecting life.) Now I am forced to choose either dairy (cheese, sour cream) or meat (ground beef) - or neither. So I chose dairy.

Jewish burrito:
1. Tortilla
2. Rice
3. Black beans
4. Refried beans
5. Lettuce
6. Cheese
7. Red onion (for kicks!)
8. Sour cream

This may turn into vegetarianism if I'm not too careful. If I have to choose between meat and dairy, I will always choose dairy.

Nevertheless, keeping kosher is going to be a challenge. But most importantly, it will remind me ...

1.) of Jesus' suffering, not that my cravings can even compare
2.) that my body is a temple of the Spirit
3.) that I should be thankful that Christ's death and resurrection is why I can eat whatever food I like, "clean or unclean" (Acts 10).

I'm going to blog about kashrut, as long as it's interesting. Don't expect every blog post these next 40 days to be about food, but you might see one or two more. Especially when I start craving B-Dubs. (Ugh, which is already. I'm going to miss dipping chicken in Ranch dressing!)


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