Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Righteousness and pickles...

Yesterday at the grocery store, I was buying a jar of kosher dill pickles, among other things. The teenager bagging the groceries asked the check-out guy, "Hey, what does kosher mean anyway?" The check out guy said he had no idea, and since I had SOME idea, I answered that it had to do with Jewish regulations. I couldn't figure what would be kosher or not about pickles, except maybe if kosher salt was used. The bagger asked, "So what does it mean when someone says something is NOT kosher?" I answered that it meant it didn't follow the rules, or meet the standard.

Today I was working out alone, when another gal I know arrived to work out. I know from previous conversations that she is Jewish, so I put my "kosher" question to her. She explained that kosher referred to treating animals righteously: killing them humanely and without suffering. She went on to explain that some Jews were pushing for kosher standards to be changed, since the original ones were "righteous" in the context of a pastoral society. Now many think that to act "righteously" in producing meat, you must raise the animals humanely as well as killing them humanely, and treat the workers in the packing house humanely, and that those things should now constitute what is "kosher" or "righteous" and what is not.

This was a new idea to me. I never thought of "kosher" as "righteous" before. What a heavy weight it must be to have to be "righteous" all the time. I was left feeling heavy-hearted for this dear woman, and wishing that I might find some way to tell her about the One who is Righteous, who can lift the burden from those of us who are not.

Would you pray for this friend, Gentle Reader? And would you pray for me to show her how differently it looks when you are not trying to stir up righteousness on your own?

Oh, and when it comes to pickles, my friend thinks it does not mean the pickles are kosher, but that the style of pickles is of some sort of Jewish origin. What a fascinating conversation...

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