Friday, October 29, 2010

Reason #97 You Know You're Crazy: Orthodoxy Has Tripled Your Meat Consumption

Reason #97 You Know You're Crazy:

I don't know why this is, but most of the converts I know eat very little meat, if at all. Yet, by becoming orthodox, orthodoxy at least triples your meat consumption. That's how it was with me. I only ate meat in restaurants before I became kosher-observant. (My conservative beit din said I was totally backwards and should only be eating dairy out! But as a practical matter for you newbies, it's much easier to start kosher at home while still allowing yourself to satisfy cravings for a little while longer in restaurants.)

I don't know what it is with Jews and meat. I was told I was un-Jewish by preparing only dairy meals for Shabbat, even though my kitchen was dairy-only for several months. Meat's fine, it tastes great, but I much prefer dairy any day of the week. By default, I'm primarily ovo-lacto-fish vegetarian. Having fish with potatoes au gratin is much tastier to me than having roasted chicken, and that's how I prefer to honor Shabbat. Mmm mmm good.

But things being the way they are, I'm lucky enough to have meal invitations, and those meals will almost always be meat. And if I had observant guests coming over, I'd probably cook meat too. Some people actually claim that eating meat on Shabbat is such a long-standing minhag that it's considered a mandatory mitzvah. I'm not so sure about that, but I am more than willing to accept that it IS minhag for an overwhelming number of Jews. Hence, I better start saving my money to afford all that kosher meat!


  1. Well it says "basar v'dagim v'chol matamim", meat and FISH, and all of the delicacies. A decadent dairy meal is, IMO, including the delicacies! And fish is even mentioned by name in dagim. :) So I think you are not breaking a minhag with the status of a mitzvah, as you are specifically following the quote they are referring to!

  2. Actually... it's "Ein simcha ela bebasar v'yayin" - Pesachim 109a. I was discussing this with a vegetarian Rabbi, and he explained the whole deal. But instead of trying to paraphrase his words, here's a rough translation of that gemara:

    as it says, "Vesamachta bechageicha", with what do we rejoice? Wine. Rebbi Yehuda says, men with what is fitting for them, women with what is fitting for them. Men with what is fitting for them, i.e. wine, and women with what? Rav Yosef repeats [a braisa]: In Bavel - with colored clothes, in EY - with linen clothes. A Braisa [Tanya]: Rebbi Yehuda ben Beteira says: When the Holy Temple is standing, one rejoices only with meat, as it says "you shall slaughter shelamim and eat there and rejoice before Hashem your God," and now that the Temple is not standing, one rejoices only with wine, as it says "Wine causes the heart of man to rejoice".

    Point being, the mitzvah is wine, not meat.
    Hurray for dairy shabbats!