Please note: one aveira leads to another. As soon as your eye looks to doing something in the gray areas of Torah, the Satan will lead you to open sins.
I know that sounds kinda ‘Southern Baptisty’ but I am staying with them and they are influencing me, especially my words. However, it is still a Torah Truth (location Pirkei Avot, Wisdom of the Fathers) that one sin leads to another and one act of obedience leads to another. So don’t sin. Duh.
Having said that, I have been travelling in places where kosher food was not available; and also, I have needed to eat whatever was provided at the homeless shelters. I would like to share what I have learned.
1. Continue to separate Dairy and Meat. As I go thru the following solutions, notice that I still choose one or the other. Separation is the foundation of Kashrut obedience.
2. Continue to avoid forbidden foods, especially pork. No breakfast sausages, chili, spaghetti with meat sauce, BBQ sandwiches, Vietnamese food, Caribbean food, and especially no Philippine food. And no desserts made with lard.
First, let’s talk about ‘safe’ meats. If you are in a town without properly butchered kosher meat, you are supposed to become a vegetarian and eat only raw veggies and fruit. There is also a beautiful halachic loophole that allows hard-boiled eggs – even if boiled in a pork pot! Reason: double covering, membrane and shell. Look it up. Here comes the first step into sin… Chicken. I found that certain fried chicken restaurants did not serve any pork or shrimp. I could look over the menu and see if the frying oil ever had shellfish in it. I found that if the restaurant only served chicken, it would not make me sick. I could also eat all the sides as long as I avoided butter. Beans & rice, corn, cole slaw, mashed potatoes, fries, onion rings – they are all parve (meat-equipment). Baruch Hashem. So Meat Lesson Number One: only eat meat from a chicken-only restaurant.
#2. Supermarkets are a gold mine. Millions of products are labelled with a hechksher. Learn to spot them quickly. Visit www.star-k.org
#3. Supermarkets are good for fresh fruit and veggies, crackers and cream cheese, peanut butter, Nutella, protein bars. (most items are OUD, as Chalav Israel is non-existent.)
#4. Protein bars deserve their own star. A Clif bar will keep you feeling normal for half a day. Always carry kosher snacks in your backpack or you will end up eating crap and feeling sick.
Now I want to address a serious mistake that I made. In the 8 months since I left Israel, I feel that this is the worst experience I had out of everything that happened to me, including my suicide and subsequent incarceration in the mental hospital. I need to preface this confession by stating that I have no history of depression, schizophrenia or mental illness. All of my family has anxiety and panic attacks and my mother, sister, brother, and I have all been on Xanax at various times; but nothing more severe. I thought that cheese pizza would be a relatively safe traife food to eat, and for a while, it was. I did find that traife food does not satisfy me. I observed that I will eat three times as much food as normal and get hungry again in a few hours. Let me tell you explicitly that eating traife will make you gain weight very quickly. Lots of weight. But, under the circumstances, I ate cheese pizza or veggie pizza. One day, I went to the pizza parlor and ordered my extra cheese pizza. I heard the man in line behind me order a pepperoni pizza to go. The two pizzas sat side by side in the oven and were cooked together. This is an exact violation of the written Torah, “cooking a kid in its’ mother’s milk”. You cannot violate the law any more than that; it is the highest disobedience. This did not register with me until after I had eaten the pizza. I took the plain cheese pizza home and ate it, and it made me feel weird. I felt really angry and wanted to fight with someone. Since I was alone, I started yelling out-loud about stuff that made me angry and then I had an intense obsession with burning myself with a cigarette. What the fuck!? I lit a cigarette and burned my forearm. I knew it was crazy as I was doing it. I knew it was so unlike me. I knew I had never hurt myself before. I knew I had never been a cutter. Yet, I could not resist the temptation to touch that hot cigarette to my forearm. It was so weird. If you want to read even more into it, the date was 31Oct2013. Do not underestimate the effect that eating traife will have on your mind and body.
Here is another mistake I made with cheese. I bought a lovely piece of brie at the supermarket. I took a bite and immediately knew that something was wrong. I read the label and it contained ‘animal rennet’. Again I had eaten meat mixed with dairy. Very sneaky. I finished eating the cheese because that’s all I had, but it gave me stomach cramps. It is so fucked up when I am apologizing to Hashem, sometimes crying, while I continue eating the traife. “I’m sorry, Hashem. Please forgive me. chomp, chomp. I am so weak. chomp. I don’t know what else to do, Abba. Please send me home to Israel.” It is beyond my comprehension what a bad prayer this is and yet I still do it. Traife food will mess you up.
In conclusion, never underestimate your enemy. Kosher food makes you a vessel for Holiness and eating traife makes you vulnerable to spiritual attack and leaves you defenseless. This is serious stuff. It’s not just about feeling full or feeling hungry. It’s for your neshama.
Eat hard-boiled eggs.
Eat in fried chicken restaurants.
Eat vegetarian foods.
Buy kosher snacks in a supermarket.
Eat protein bars, eg. Clif bars.
And cut yourself some slack if you get it horribly wrong.
May we all live in Israel some day.
You must log in to post a comment.