Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Do You Crave Reese's Peanut Butter Cups?I have lots of friends that are baalei teshuvah. This means they did not grow up Orthodox, but accepted a mitzvah-observant lifestyle in their teen or adult years.
I find it interesting to hear what they miss. There are plenty of things they don't miss - although this varies greatly from one person to the next. Some don't even want to think about their previous lives, while others look back with nostalgia.
One of my friends has a thing for cheeseburgers. She seriously misses McDonald's, Burger King - you name it. While in Israel, the thrill of the chase for a kosher "cheese"burger is a treasured time. Others miss the social opportunities, the clothing they no longer wear (and are possibly still hanging in the closet), or the ability to eat anywhere.
I'm not a baalas teshuvah. I grew up observant. But there are some things I did take on voluntarily in my adult life. One of them is cholov yisrael. Literally, it means "Jewish milk." Here's the background: truly, all milk that comes from a kosher animal (cow, goat) is by definition kosher. But back in the day, there was a temptation by some dairy farms to dilute their kosher milk with non-kosher milk (pig's, for example) to save a buck. Therefore, a rabbinic ordinance was instituted to only drink milk that was milked under Jewish supervision, to make sure no hanky-panky took place. This milk was called "cholov yisrael."
When Jews began arriving en masse to the USA, the facts changed. The USDA regulated milking, and it was a crime to dilute the milk with other forms. Therefore, it was as though the government was supervising the milking, and all USDA milk was considered kosher and usable. However, some chose the extra stringency of cholov yisrael anyway, to maintain the custom. The larger the Jewish commnity, the easier it is to obtain cholov yisrael dairy products.
My husband and I both grew up using plain old dairy products. When we got engaged and planned to move to Israel, we decided to accept upon ourselves the extra restriction of cholov yisrael. (In Israel, all the dairy is cholov yisrael... but then we moved to Buffalo Grove, Illinois.) Practically speaking, what this meant for me was NO MORE REESE'S PEANUT BUTTER CUPS. Now, this is a big deal.
When I go to the store and see them, I miss them. In the airport, they talk to me. At the BP store on a road trip, my mouth waters for them. But I have never, ever craved a cheeseburger.
What's your experience?
By Ruchi Koval 1:00 AM why Orthodox Jews do what they do