You'll be happy to know that I've worked up a list of some other things I'd like to abolish, a list I plan to share with you, little-by-little, in the weeks ahead.
Today's entry: Salt on the table
If you're not Orthodox, you may not realize that most of us have a sloppy habbit. When the time comes to break bread, we eat it with salt, as a rememberence of the alter, where all offerings were salted. But for reasons I've never understood, many OJs refuse to sprinkle the salt directly on to their bread. Instead they sprinkle their salt on to the table, and dip the bread. Not on a plate. Not on a napkin. On the table.
Why? Were huge lumps of animal dunked into vats of salt, back in the Temple days? Or did someone sprinkle? Think about it. Which aproach seems more likely?
I've been told that we (by which I don't mean me) dunk our bread because the Mishna Brurah, in describing the ritual, uses the word "dip." Think, please. Is the MB describing the ritual as it was done in his time and his place where salt shakers may not have been prevelant? Or is he proscribing dipping and ruling against sprinkling? And anyway, does he say anything at all about being a slob, and putting the salt on to the table, when plates or napkins are at hand??
It's gotten so stupid that I, a devout sprinkler, occasionaly receive from dunkers that great, but hateful look that says "Are you sure you are Jewish?" Sad, but no kidding.
And yes, Lit majors, this all recalls the Lilliputians and their battles over the correct way to crack an egg. Welcome to Judaism c. 2005.