The LForD Chumrah of the Month - A new feature
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.
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."