Thursday, June 30, 2011

Jewish Resources Are Getting Weirder and Weirder

While researching yesterday's post for conversion gift ideas, I came across one of the strangest bits of Judaica I've ever seen: The Mitzvah Measure. It is "[a] tape measure that contains measurements in accordance with Jewish Law such as tefachim, amot, minimum sizes for lulavim, etc."

I thought these measurements were hotly contested by the rabbonim; am I remembering incorrectly? And if so, how do you find out in advance which rabbi this tape holds by?? What problems we have! :P

This reminded me of the matzah size charts that were floating around my prior community this Pesach. I couldn't find the same one online, but I found a different one. I understand rabbis hold differently on these sizes, but how can you resist adopting a rabbi's halachic position when it's laid out in such a visually-pleasing and easy-to-understand way?? 

The lesson to you conversion candidates: just because you read something doesn't make it gospel. I'm not saying these are incorrect. In fact, I'm sure they're correct according to some very illustrious rabbi, but that doesn't mean there aren't different interpretations of the same halacha. 

As another example, I got the Parve-O-Meter app for my new iPhone. (The Crackberry may rest in pieces.) It tells me that the "prevailing custom" is to wait 6 hours between eating meat and dairy. Yes, I'd agree that's "prevailing." It also says that the "prevailing custom" is to wait 1 full hour between eating dairy and meat. That, I would NOT say is prevailing custom, or even common. Some simply wash out their mouths after the dairy. (Remember that hard cheeses are a different story.) The app recognizes this to a degree because you can adjust the preferences for the dairy-to-meat waiting period at 0 minutes (but says you must eat crackers in addition to washing out your mouth), 30 minutes, and 1 hour. However, it doesn't allow the same variation in custom for meat-to-dairy: "6 Hours For Everyone" is what it says.


  1. wow, never seen all this before...seems has not yet reached germany :-D

  2. Just looked it up and ParveOMeter is a free app :-P

  3. We have that too and I have been frustrated with the same thing! This is why I never use it ;) I figure people have been figuring it out since forever with out an app, I'm sure I can too.

    It is really weird though... I know MANY people who's minchag is 3 hrs!

  4. for jewish measurements there are 2 opinions one on the cm side, ne on the inch side