Monday, April 14, 2014

The Value of Cottage Cheese

Last year, it was TempTee whipped cream cheese. This year it's Breakstone's cottage cheese. 


So I will make cottage cheese. I've done it before. it's not a seriously big deal. But can someone explain to me why Jews gouge other Jews for keeping kosher....more especially kosher for Pesach? I mean really? Do we not have lawyers who would love to start a class action suit in a beit din for predatory Pesach pricing? Folks, where is the outrage? Where is the bruning* Anger, Wrath, Indignation, Trouble, and the Messengers of Evil to avenge we who practically have to toivel our entire kitchen annually only to be ripped off at the grocery store? 

And just as I was getting up a good head of steam on the topic, some nutball reportedly yelling "Heil Hitler" shot people at The Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City and at Shalom Village Senior Living Center. Murdered in the parking lot of the J were Dr. William Lewis Corporon and his grandson Reat Griffin Underwood. Neither was Jewish; they went to the Methodist church nearby. The woman gunned down at Village Shalom has not been identified at this writing. 

How do I complain about cottage cheese when there are people out there still hunting Jews for sport? Or so it would seem since he was targeting Jewish communal centers. It's not like we're walking about with yellow stars pinned to our coats any more. Coming on the heels of the Nazi dinner party at Gasthof zur Gemutlichkeit here in Minneapolis, how can we even be surprised that stuff like this happens?

One of the really interesting aspects of Pesach are the commandments to remember. Remember, we were slaves in Egypt. Remember what the Eternal did for us. Remember the taste of tears. Remember the plagues in Egypt. Remember it all in this order (seder) so that no part is omitted.

As Jews, we spend a whole lotta time remembering stuff....not much of it very pleasant. There's an anti-hubris theme throughout the seder and the liturgy in general. The reminders are matter how comfortable you get in any place, remember you were strangers in the land of Egypt, and you are strangers here. 

A single nutball shouting "Heil, Hitler" as they're carting him off to jail is a pretty strong reminder. Ross "Doubt-That" Douthat writing week after week about how this nation should be running on Christian values only is a pretty strong reminder. The Jewish Agency recently reporting that 40% of all racist violence in France is targeted at Jews is a  pretty strong reminder. 

We never forget. We circle the wagons a little closer, and we watch each other's backs. We remain constantly vigilant lest we be caught being vulnerable. It's what we do. We are supposed to watch out for each other. As it is written:

כל ישראל ערבים זה לזה
All Israel is responsible one for another.

This does not stop at the edge of parking lots. It extends into the halls of the JCC, into the lobby of Village Shalom, over by the day school playground. The responsibility is pervasive and demanding. If we don't care for ourselves, who will? We make sure we are all safe. We make sure all our kids are safe. We do not abuse each other. We do not kill each other. We look out for those who may be in need. As it is written: "Let all who are hungry come and eat." 

Somewhere in there is the idea we should all eat kosher. But there is no comparing the value of cottage cheese and human life. Human life, so fragile yet so extraordinary, trumps everything. Health takes precedence over every observance. Watching out for each other is a package's all about all of it. You don't get to choose which parts. 

Watching out for each other is not voluntary; it is neither midrash nor minhag. It is halacha

Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week
There are 7 weeks between Passover and Shavuot, 7 weeks of counting the omer.
While you're counting the omer, count something else of importance along with it. 

* Bonus Note *
*For the real old timers who remember the original Gutstein & Goldberg...there were wonderful typos in the text. Some of them have gone on to become treasured family memories. One of those gems is BRUNING ANGER. 

1 comment:

  1. A winner article, as always.
    Thank you for taking the time to write,