I tend to play a little fast and loose when it comes to rules. I don’t exactly break them (at least, not usually), but I do tend to see how far they’ll bend.
How that translates to kashrut is that I’m don’t break a sweat when I cut a (cold) cold cut with the wrong knife. Cold is cold, after all. And I’m not always so careful about whether I use the dairy sponge or the pareve sponge to wash a (dairy or pareve) dish.
When it comes to kashrut, part of the reason I’m comfortable doing this is because of how far I am from the original Torah commandment. (And yes, I know that the Rabbinic commandments are (almost) just as important.) But we’re still a few kilometers from that truck stop.
How far is my dishwashing “faux pas” from the original injunction of not boiling a kid in its mother’s milk?
- First, it’s not goat meat.
- Second, it’s not meat at all.
- Third, it’s not directly touching – it’s something (milk) touching something else (a pot or fork) touching something else (a sponge) touching something else (the pareve item).
- Fourth, it’s not being done to “flavor” the other object.
- Fifth, IT’S COVERED IN DISGUSTING DISHWASHING LIQUID!!
I might have casually mentioned this to my Rabbi recently. I was expecting a knowing wink and a smile, an indication that yes, young grasshopper, I have learned The Way of The Kashrus.
Instead, his eyes bugged out a bit, and in tones that showed he was attempting to remain calm despite an overwhelming desire to hit me with a kosher clue by four.
“You can’t do that,” he explained. “Even though you are right – all of that is essentially ‘protecting’ you, you can’t work with that in mind as your initial plan.”
Then he started talking about some girl named “Betty”. Her last name is Eved, I think. The upshot is that (according to this girl, I guess) if you do some of the stuff I mentioned above by accident it’s OK. But you can’t expect or plan to do it that way because all that happens is people (ie: me) push the limits just a bit further until you actually do mess up a commandment.
It’s clear that Betty dated guys like me in High School. Or maybe she had brothers.
Anyway, I got the point: no planning to make a mistake. My wife will be so pleased to hear that yet another loophole in my “live fast, kosher as you go” philosophy has been closed. In the meanwhile, I am sure I’m going to make legitimate mistakes, and that Betty and I will have a chance to become better acquainted.