Friday, August 21, 2009

I'm sure there's something in Yiddish . . . :(

I was so proud of myself.

Last night, I went to Supersol on the Upper West Side of Manhattan (the one at 661 Amsterdam Ave., between 92nd St & 93rd St.), and bought exactly what we needed and (almost) nothing else:
  • Challot
  • One package of corn thins
  • A main course for last night, when I worked overtime on a project, and tonight, since, er, as soon as I get home, I'll have to do the laundry instead of cooking, to spare poor Mr. Post-Op.
  • Color-coder sponges for our kosher kitchen: 2 blue scrubber-sponges, because we eat dairy so often that we wear them out, and 2 green scrubber-sponges, because we so often mess up and accidentally use them for dairy . . . (We can only hope that we're "covered" by either the "batel b'shishim" rule [rough explanation: a seventieth (er, sixtieth, per Larry's correction in the comments] of something not permissible but accidentally added doesn't make a food not kosher?) and/or by G-d's mercy on a pair of poor folks who weren't raised kosher.)
  • Okay, a few all-fruit fruit leathers.

But no junk food! I kept the load on my wallet, my waistline, and my back as light as possible.

Lighter than intended, unfortunately.

Somewhere on a Manhattan subway platform yesterday evening sat the forgotten bag of bread that I hadn't put in my backpack for fear that the challot would get "matzahed."

After all that schlepping, I still had to pick up some challot this morning.


Is "nebuch" the right word?


Blogger Larry Lennhoff said...

1 60th, not 1 70th. And with scrubbies you are very likely to be safe as soap spoils the 'tste' of the food so you don't have to worry about taste transfer between meat and milk.

Sun Aug 23, 07:48:00 AM 2009  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Oh, right, shishim means 60. I guess I confused shishim with shviim.

'Soap spoils the "taste" . . ." So we don't have to worry about making our plastic parve cutting board dairy by accident when we use the wrong sponge?

Sun Aug 23, 04:01:00 PM 2009  
Blogger Larry Lennhoff said...

You should really check with a rabbi. But if there is no food on the sponge, and there is soap on the sponge, then even if you're using hot water there should be no problem. As a general rule for avoiding kashrut problems cold water and/or soap are your friends.

Sun Aug 23, 04:20:00 PM 2009  
Anonymous Miami Al said...

Shira, find a Rabbi you trust on this, because you make Kashrut about 10 times more difficult than it is. The rules are fences, around fences, around fences, if you are making a good faith effort towards Kashrut, it's really hard to accidentally screw up something real.

Using the wrong sponge doesn't making something the other, any more than a dishwasher makes something the item. Dishwashers use hot water, but the hot water has soap in it, so it is technically permitted for both (Moshe Feinstein ruled that it was preferable not to use it for meat and dairy at the same time). Same with sponges.

We use separate sponges and dishwashers not to avoid transferring, but to avoid screw ups. If your water was hot enough to "transfer" flavor to the item, you couldn't hold it in your hards.

If you use the same sponge, you could wash at the same time, which meant that you might put a mean pot in the dairy drawer or vice-versa, and therefore cook with the wrong pot. That's an ACTUAL problem, so the stringencies of separate sinks/sponges/dishwashers, etc. is all about avoiding mixing the pots and pans up.

But all dairy homes, constantly eating meat to avoid being able to ever eat dairy snack foods, worrying about sponges and traveling all over greater NYC... I'm impressed with your dedication, but I think you're crazy! :) You've left the realm of machmir (stringent), and entered the realm of OCD. Find a Rav or a shrink! :) :) :)

Sun Aug 23, 11:29:00 PM 2009  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Don't worry, we're not eating meat to avoid dairy snacks--in my "NHC Institute: some stories" post of Aug. 10, I was retelling a story someone had told me about some other people she'd known--nor are we a dairy-only home. But you're right about us needing a reliable rabbi to consult about kashrut, as we tend to err on the side of caution, probably excessively, just because we don't know the kashrut laws well enough. As for traveling all over the city, that's my fault for picking the wrong neighborhood--there are no kosher stores whatsoever within walking distance of our apartment. I buy what I can in our own neighborhood, but even challah isn't always available locally, much less kosher take-out.

Mon Aug 24, 09:20:00 AM 2009  
Anonymous jdub said...

Larry and Miami Al are both right. When I started learning basar b'chalav (laws of meat and milk) because my chavrusa was studying for smikha, my wife insisted that I not bring any of it into the kitchen for fear of being more machmir than we already were. To my surprise, the actual halakha is considerably more makil than our practice. There is a lot of room in which our "mistakes" were actually normative practice at one time.

LL is 100% correct, although the halakha talks of ashes, which used to be used in lieu of soap. In order to treif something like a pot due to a sponge, you would really need for the sponge to have been used within the past 24 hours, not have soap on it, and pretty much boil it in the pot. Otherwise, it won't treif up your stuff.

The dishwasher issue is also correct, but it is not generally accepted as normative halakha. The closest I've heard of is for folks to use different racks and wait 24 hours between. Even that is considered pretty radical, although it would seem to be permissible on several grounds (i.e., not bar yoma + soap). With all that, find a rabbi who is an expert to posken for you. The experts are more easily capable of finding the actual halakha not merely what has become a bit of OCD practice.

Mon Aug 24, 10:28:00 AM 2009  
Anonymous Miami Al said...

jdub, not true, normative Ashkenazi practice is to not use a dishwasher for both, and not use a dishwasher with any plastic components for Pesach and during the year, although it's not uncommon to have separate Pesach racks and ignore that issue.

I know a Sephardic couple explaining that Sephardim have different rules permitting the same dishwasher...

My wife was also terrified when I started a semi-regular learning activity and really didn't want her life to get more complicated than it already was.

She was stunned that a LOT of her practices were overly cautious that she learned in her non-Orthodox home, because if you lack education, you err on the side of caution.

I roped in all the "strange" behaviors you were revealing, not implying that you were doing them all. I've noticed that the non-Orthodox observant world has a lot of crazy practices because not knowing any better, some oddball stringent behavior appeared.

Reason the Halacha on the dishwasher matter... I would NEVER advise an Orthodox Jew in an Orthodox neighborhood to use a single dishwasher for both. But I have zero issues eating with my single dishwasher non-Orthodox but Kosher friends or relatives. The Conservative Teshuva is built on Orthodox rulings, even if normative practice is not to reuse the dishwasher.

I'd still eat in Shira's house. :)

Mon Aug 24, 01:33:00 PM 2009  
Blogger Unknown said...

Not sure how well this will have formatted - Larry's wife here - but this is a document I did for my students and a yahoo group I co-run for orthodox converts:

Made a mistake in the kitchen?
Here are steps to take as about 90% of the time your mistake may not mean that you have to throw out the item.
What to do as soon as you realize you have made a mistake
1. If item has food on it set it down on a paper towel (do NOT wash until you’ve done step 2 & then follow instructions starting with 3 for how to clean the item)
2. Sit down and write a note of exactly what happened:
A. When the pot/utensils were last used and what each utensil is normally used for (meat, diary, pareve)
B. What the posts/utensils are made of & their value (relevant if you are talking about an expensive item)
C. What were the temperatures of the item(s)
D. What foods were involved
E. Was there raw onions/garlic/ginger/hot peppers involved
F. Was there vinegar involved
G. Exactly what happened - the more details you include the better
H. If the item has a lot of sentimental value or would be hard to replace
I. Your financial situation (as in how easy is it for you to afford to replace the item(s))
3. Take the object into the bathroom (so you don't mess up your kitchen sink if there is a problem)
4. Pour soap on the object (prevents transference of taam/taste)
5. Rinse with cold water (prevents transference of taam/taste)
6. Call your rabbi (or your mentor)
7. If you are unable to reach one or the other then attach the note to the object(s) so that when you do get in touch with the rabbi you have all the details he needs to know so he can make an informed decision

Steps you can take to prevent issues in the kitchen
1. Keep your meat and dairy stuff separate enough so that you are unlikely to reach out and grab the wrong pot/utensil/knife
2. Always soap an object before using hot water
3. If you put stuff in a dishpan make sure the dishpan has cold soapy water in it before adding pots/pans/dishes/utensils and wash everything each morning and evening so that nothing sits for 24 hours.

Mon Aug 24, 01:59:00 PM 2009  
Anonymous jdub said...

Al, I think you misread my comment. I meant to say using the same dishwasher for both is NOT normative, but that I've heard of one rabbi (ashkenazi) who permits it. I only know one couple who ever held by it (and it was the rabbi's son!).

Mon Aug 24, 02:20:00 PM 2009  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Malka, thanks for the advice. (Re the raw onions/garlic/ginger/hot peppers . . . vinegar," I think I've heard that citrus juice or fruit creates a similar [taste-transfer?] problem. Best advice, which I will certainly share with my husband: "Always soap an object before using hot water." And yes, our bathroom sink gets a lot of use in questionable-kashrut situations. :)

Now, we have to find that rabbi or mentor. I'm not sure our current rabbi would necessarily appreciate being contacted at home re a kashrut question, as, since he's a part-time rabbi, he tends not to want to do rabbinical business on days for which the shul isn't paying him.

Mon Aug 24, 02:47:00 PM 2009  
Blogger Larry Lennhoff said...

The spicy foods are more likely to transfer taste are called a dvar charif (literally a sharp thing). We were just studying this over the weekend. The exact list of substances is a matter of differing traditions. The most extreme list we saw included salt.

Note that for most cases a cooked dvar charif is no longer considered charif. So when you fry onions they are a dvar charif, but when you add the fried onions to your pasta sauce they are not.

Mon Aug 24, 05:28:00 PM 2009  
Anonymous jdub said...

While we're reaching a level of detail not reached by most (sane) people, know that there is a huge debate over whether a cooked d'var charif remains charif forever, so I can't quite agree with Larry. All I can say is that going with what Malka Esther said, find a rabbi, fill him in on the details, and go with what he says. One should rarely posken for oneself, since one will almost certainly be either too machmir (it's easier) or too makil (who wants to deal with the bother) when the answer may be neither.

Tue Aug 25, 09:41:00 AM 2009  
Blogger Unknown said...

JDUB can you point me to a source for where onions are still considered sharp after they are cooked? I've not come across that in my studies.

Tue Aug 25, 10:28:00 AM 2009  
Anonymous jdub said...

M.E. see, for example, here:

(I've seen it inside as well, but I don't have my seforim at work, only Google!)

Tue Aug 25, 12:50:00 PM 2009  

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