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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Which is why

I'm sad that it comes down to a dishwasher.  Something as small as using a dishwasher for both milk and meat can mean I don't get to eat in somebody's home. 
 
A dishwasher, and not the quality of their soul.
 
A dishwasher, and not the seriousness of their intentions.
 
This is the exact sort of thing that people accuse Orthodox Jews of.  Of caring more about the dishwasher than the conviviality, the breaking of bread, the sharing of life and experiences and, dammit, spirituality, that arises in an atmosphere of friendly openness.
 
I once read a line - when a woman, hurt, found out someone wouldn't eat by her because she didn't cover her hair - "I wonder, does she mix her cakes with her sheitel???"
 
(I may be misquoting, but cannot remember which book, so you'll have to trust me that I'm close to the mark, at least)
 
My liberal past rears up and smacks me on the head.
These are people I know and like and want to spend time with.
 
But the dishwasher.  Milk.  Meat.  And it's hot.  Oy.
 
But then... after a few days, a week, I think, maybe it's a good thing.
 
Fair enough for Hashem to judge people by the quality of their soul, the seriousness of their intentions.  I'm pretty sure He's up to the job.
 
But God forbid people start trying to do that.  Okay, enough people already try to do that.  I don't want to be one of them.
Hard enough for me to judge people based on their pots and pans, their kitchen cupboards, the colour of their dishtowels.
 
Kind of a relief - if you think about it - that we don't have to peek into their souls as well.
Halacha isn't in shomayim, isn't hidden away inside a person's soul.  Halacha is about here and now and what you see and what there is to do about it.
 
"Sorry, we can't eat by you; your business practices are corrupt and I happen to know you glanced at another woman besides your wife last week."
 
"I'd love some honeycake, but I believe you were thinking back nostalgically to a Buddhist retreat from your youth as you baked it; sorry."
 
More than kind of a relief.
I'm so happy it's just about the dishwasher, because that means we can still be friends.

2 comments:

decemberbaby said...

Does that mean that if I tell you about my thing for Colin Firth, our sukkah lunch is off?

Don't worry, we can get around the dishwasher. Where there's a will, there's a way. Or at least a kugel.

decemberbaby said...

I had more and more thoughts about this post, and rather than hijack your blog I decided to post them on mine. Happy reading.