Thursday, May 27, 2010

The ick factor

Another email
So, the other day I took my 9 year old to Citi Field. During the seventh inning rendition of that Italian song, we went for some snacks. The kid took a hot dog. I had one of those sausages with the vegetables. (Tell your readers Citi has several kosher stands, and the food is good, too) I let the kid take the food to the mustard station, while I got on line for beer. Two minutes later, the kid is back with wet eyes, a mournful expression and no food. He dropped them. Of course I wasn't too mad. After all its just five bucks, and in our stomach or on the floor, what's the difference? Its not rent money, and we won't starve for lack of a hotdog. But I'd sort of had my heart set on the idea of a ball game with a beer and a dog, and I hadn't quite figured out what to do yet. Do we get back on line for more of the food, and miss more of the game? Do we go back to the game with no food? Or do we just pick it up off the floor and eat it? I admit to half considering the latter option in the split second I had to think about it. I mean what's the damage? Sure the idea of it is disgusting, but based on what? How dirty could they have gotten already? They weren't soaking in urine. They were just resting on a filthy, but solid surface.

Anyway, I only had a second, as I said, to mull this over, because one of the floor supervisors came over, and offered to replace the food at no charge. He had seen what happened - even knew we wanted kosher - and took care of everything (A brilliant policy when you think about it: Why should me and my kid come away from the ball park unhappy because of a 30 cent food item?)

So why am I writing? On the car ride home, I thought it over and realized the only thing that would have prevented me from eating that dog off the floor was the ick factor. Putting a dog that has been resting on the stadium floor into my mouth seems yucky, but in reality eating it would have been perfectly harmless. It would have tasted the same, and I wouldn't have caught any diseases.

I think contemporary kashrus is similar. We Orthodox Jews stay away from so many perfectly kosher foods, just because of the ick factor. Non-glat meat is the best example, but there are so many other examples of food that is perfectly ok according to our own rules, and therefore guaranteed to cause us no harm of any kind, yet we leave it on the floor due to the ick factor.

The result of this snobby behavior is a scarcity of acceptable foods and that creates higher prices, plus this whole I won't eat that unless it has ten certifications on it, does nothing for us but give us additional reasons to look down our noses at other Jews. We're such fools, allowing such a petty, superficial subjective thing like the ick factor to hit us so hard in the pocketbooks, and such horrible people for permitting this sort of silliness to drive wedges between Jewish people.

Thanks for listening

And thanks for writing.

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