Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Not ready for prime time

There are kosher restaurants and there are "kosher" restaurants
Kosher restaurants are closed on the Jewish sabbath and holidays, and their teudot hechsher (certificates of kashrut) call them kosher.  "Kosher" restaurants are open on Shabbat and Yom Tov, and their teudot hechsher say that all the food served in them is kosher, but not that the restaurant is kosher.

On one hand, I think that a restaurant claiming to be kosher should be closed on Shabbat and Yom Tov.  On the other hand, since I, myself, still eat in non-kosher restaurants (avoiding meat, poultry, and shell fish, which I haven't eaten, even accidentally, in over 15 years), who am I to refuse to eat in a restaurant that serves only kosher food just because it's open on Shabbos?  Bottom line:  I'm trying to stick with Shomer Shabbat (Sabbath-observant) kosher restaurants, but if I'm with other people who want to eat in non-Shomer Shabbat kosher restaurants, I'll join them.

There are tzitzit and there are tzitzit
In my opinion, there's a big different between a tallit gadol and a tallit katan, and not just in terms of size.

The tallit gadol, or large tallit (garment with tzitzit/ritual fringes) is worn over one's clothing, and only at Shacharit (Morning Service).

The tallit katan, or small tallit (as known as "arba kanot/four corners), is usually worn under one's clothing, and is worn all day.

I've now been wearing a tallit gadol for 41 years.

But I can't picture myself wearing a tallit katan anytime in the foreseeable future.

For openers, I'm a coward.  I never take off my jacket in the office before noon, lest anyone see my tefillin-strap marks.  I'm simply not prepared to stand up--or, rather, to stand out--and be counted.

For closers, I think that the wearing of a tallit katan says something about the wearer's observance level that the wearing of a tallit gadol doesn't say.  And I'm not ready to make that commitment.


Anonymous Miami Al said...

There is wearing simply weating Tallit Kattan under ones clothing, which is an action that allows a Jewish (man by Orthodox interpretation, all by Conservative) to fulfill the mitzvah of Tzitzit. In that scenario, tzitzit should be outside of under garments but instead of outer garments, and is a relatively private act.

Separately, there is this trend of wearing a black suit all week long with tzitzit sticking out of the pants. This is a 20th century custom, and is a VERY strong statement both of observance and ideology.

Finally, there is a trend of wearing tzitzit under an untucked t-shirt with shorts or jeans. Such a look should be reserved for boys under the age of 11, where it's cute, and just looks sloppy on everyone else.

Wed Apr 30, 12:12:00 PM 2014  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

It's a relatively private act . . . until your tzitzit accidentally pop out and your co-worker wants to know why you have a rope hanging out of your trousers. This happened to my Israeli brother while he was still Orthodox and hadn't yet made aliyah. I'm too chicken to take a chance.

Wed Apr 30, 04:45:00 PM 2014  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Not to mention that having my tzitzit accidentally pop out of my *skirt* would "inspire" even *more* questions.

Wed Apr 30, 04:47:00 PM 2014  
Blogger The Reform Baal Teshuvah said...

Do consider the possibility that some of the restaurants that serve Kosher food may not be owned by Jews. If so, then they went to the trouble and expense to retain a Mashgiach so you could eat there, so why wouldn't you?

Thu May 01, 11:46:00 AM 2014  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Reform BT, thanks for reminding me of that important detail.

Thu May 01, 12:38:00 PM 2014  
Anonymous Woodrow/Conservadox said...

Personally, I think of it as kind of a "ladder of observance" thing. If I ever go completely kosher on eating out (i.e no nonkosher restaurants) then I'll start worrying about shomer shabbos vs. non shomer shabbos. I'm not there yet, but that doesn't mean I'll never be.

Sat May 03, 10:44:00 PM 2014  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

That's a good way of looking at it, Woodrow.

Mon May 05, 04:54:00 PM 2014  
Blogger Unknown said...

Being shomer shabbos displays a level of commitment/observance. Wearing tzitzit does not - you just put it on and say the bracha and the mitzvah is done.

Fri Jul 18, 01:24:00 PM 2014  

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