Monday, October 24, 2005

The LForD Chumrah of the Month - A new feature

Yes, in response to the many requests from our readers, LForD is now presenting a new. upgraded content.

That is, the "Chumrah of the Month!"

It will appear periodically whenver our correspondents encounter one.

A chumrah, for those of you blessed not to know, is a practice all too common(alas!) in the Jewish people, where those who wish to show their superior piety engage in ritual stringencies not strictly required by Jewish Law. These things soon become normative, and if your don't follow them, then you're a God-cursed heretical Apikorus, like me.

The first recorded Chumrah occured in the Garden of Eden, where Eve told the snake that not only was she forbidden to eat the fruit, she was forbidden to even touch it! (That wasn't true, God only told her not to eat it.) We all know what eventually happened in that little incident.

Today's Chuma:

I encountered today's chumrah on my shopping trip to the neighborhood "Kosher-ama"supermarket. As the checkout clerk (a pleasant young African-American woman) rang up a hermetically-sealed package of the extruded orange plastic called "M___ Cheddar Cheese" she called out to the bagger, "Don't put this in that bag, use another."

"That bag" turned out to be the bag in which my meat order was packed.

I told the young lady, "That's not necessary, my rabbi told me that I could even spill milk on meat when it's cold, and a simple washing is all that's need to to keep it kosher."

[I should note that "my rabbi" was not my Conservative "Mara d'atra," but was the teacher of a kashrus class I took from an Orthodox outreach organization. The rabbi in question was the head mashgiach for a nationally recognized Orthodox hasgacha operation.]

She replied, ""Well thats' not what the customers here insist on."

Oy vey! Does this mean that groceries will now have to be packed in seperate bags? Will we have pink bags for flieshik, blue bags for milchick, and green(?) bags for parve? Will our people now refuse to eat from people who carry their groceries in plain brown bags? What do the gentile store clerks think about this mishugass?

There are some advantagges to being Conservative, after all. (At least, I think so, come to think of it, I've never asked my "mara d'atra" whether I should use sperate shopping bags, and, given what happened, I'm not sure I want to ask the "shaila."


Anonymous Anonymous said...

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1:57 PM  
Blogger blueenclave said...

I was surprised that the local kosher market puts the meat and dairy in the same bag. If you get used to having everything separated, you assume that it should be even when it shouldn't be. This is part of the shidduch problem in the last post.

6:15 PM  
Blogger PinkDevora said...

A local resident in my well known Jewish community once wrote a letter to the editor in a popular neighborhood publication, asking that the stores please coordinate their bag colors, so that she could store her milchig leftovers in blue bags, flaishig in red, pareve in green...


In the 80s, there was a wonderful publication that I believe was called "Jewish Women's Observer". There was a letter to the editor one month that actually rebuked them for having ad for milk and an ad for meat on opposing pages, which would then TOUCH WHEN THE MAGAZINE WAS CLOSED (I guess that the magazine then became treif?!).

8:55 PM  
Blogger Mr. Reflux said...

I think you and I have something in common, but we then part very different ways...(

I believe chumras, can be a good way to demonstrate a certain dedication to, and guarding of Jewish Torah law, but it should not become CONFUSED AS BEING THE LAW. This is where the chumra goes horrobly wrong. In principle, a chumrah can be a nice thing. Its tragedy when the chumras get mistaken for Torah law itself, and then people who do not keep the chumras are deemed heretics.

I simply wanted to clarify the difference.

9:27 PM  
Blogger GoldaLeah said...

A little off-topic, but God didn't tell Eve not to eat from the tree or touch it. Adam told her. Adam added the Chumra. A midrash I read this weekend said that the serpent exploited this by pushing Eve against the tree. Once she saw that she could indeed touch it, she (of course) thought she could eat it, too.

10:45 PM  
Blogger David Kelsey said...

Don't forget that the bags themselves must have hashgacha to ensure that the plastic and paper is kohser and no unfiltered water was used to create them.

1:45 AM  
Blogger Zman Biur said...

"Well thats' not what the customers here insist on."

The fact that too many Jews are ignorant about the genuine requirements of kashrut should not be confused with actual "chumras".

Clearly there's no reason to separate packaged meat and milk. But people who do so are misinformed, not holier than thou. I've never heard of a rabbi suggesting that such a thing is required or advised. That would be a chumra.

4:29 AM  
Blogger Ben Sorer Moreh said...

Clearly there's no reason to separate packaged meat and milk. But people who do so are misinformed, not holier than thou.
...but people seem to consider the misinformed people to be "holy". Here's my humrah: I like to sprinkle flaxseed on my food. Mixing wool and linen is prohibited, right? Wool comes from sheep, right? Linen comes from flax, right? So: You are prohibited from having flaxseed on your lambchops.

8:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did it not occur to anyone here that by packaging dairy and meat items in separate bags, it makes unloading and storage faster and easier in those houses that happen to have different storage locations for dairy and for milk items. For example, even in our home, we keep milk products on one shelf in the refridgerator and the meat products on another. Similarly for non-fridge items, they go into different cabinets and even if we just store the non-fridge items in the garage, it makes it much easier for identification and selection if all the dairy products are in a particular bag while all the non-dairy items are in another.

There is no reason to jump to the conclusion that this is simply a Chumrah of the month.

10:18 AM  
Blogger GoldaLeah said...

OK, try 2 at this comment.

One off-point correction. God didn't tell Eve anything. God told Adam, and Adam passed the info on to Eve, adding the chumra about touching. God said don't eat. Adam said don't eat or touch. According to one midrash, the serpent exploited this by pushing Eve against the tree. She touched it, saw she was still OK, and doubted any prohibitions existed.

Ah, the dangers of chumras (chumrot?)

11:07 AM  
Blogger GoldaLeah said...

Ok, me big dope. I was using DB's link, which didn't show new comments. Sorry for the repeat comment!

11:52 AM  
Blogger Shragie said...

I believe you may be overlooking the potential problem of milk running into the cracks of the meat. Rinsing it off with cold water may not do the trick. I think this is globally accepted but am not certian. I don't think non liquid cheese has the same problem. Again, I am not 100% on this.

1:31 PM  
Blogger The back of the hill said...

I'm surprised they even sell milk and meat in the same store!

Did they come in the same delivery truck?

Was the delivery truck kashered? With a blowtorch?

And I'm horrified, utterly horrified, to find meat and milk in the same sentence!

I shall now flagellate. And so should you.

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Anonymous Gershomite said...

The use colored plastic bags to identify and separate flieshik, milchick, and parve items illustrates the lengths to which some will go in order to circumvent proper practice. Can one really suppose that having a color-coded milchick bag will somehow prevent their flieshik vehicle from becoming trief? If a person wants to purchase milchick, then that person should use their milchick vehicle to go shopping!

It is bad enough that some have declared their clothing to be parve and suitable for wear when shopping for milchick AND/OR flieshik, (we remain unimpressed by the washing between trips to the market), but now they seem to have concluded that their vehicle is parve as well by declaring the trunk to be a separate domain! (Don't even get me started on selling one's trunk during Pesach)

This cannot be allowed to continue, there must be a line drawn somewhere. If this be allowed, what next? Already there are scoff-laws who insist that having two separate kitchens in their homes is sufficient rather than maintaining separate milchick, flieshik, parve, and Pesach long before the requirement to have 6 dishwashers in each kitchen comes under fire?

Enough is enough!

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