The Rabbi is having a Purim open house and he invited everyone to bring a pot luck.
"Only home-made food, no purchased food please!"
In Jewish circles, this is the opposite of what you'd expect, where checking the kosher labels and symbols is critical to ensuring the food has followed the strict kosher dietary laws and can be eaten.
Yet as pointed out, kashrut has been made into a whole commercial business these days...does it still reflect the intent?
The Rabbi explained in services today, in a very well received way, that we need to get back to respecting and trusting each other.
That these values are essential to being truly religious people.
It was a wonderful speech in that it evoked unconditional acceptance and respect for everyone.
As we know, no one is so perfect, even though the goal of course is to be as perfect as we can be.
So two things:
1) I really like the notion of treating people well and putting that high on the priorities as we are all G-d's creatures.
2) I myself am kosher, but not fanatically so, therefore, I personally appreciated the acceptance and love in the community.
Yet, after I got home, and thinking about this some more, and despite my own failings religiously and otherwise, I asked myself, "Am I really comfortable eating from a parve and meat community pot luck?"
And even as I ask this question, I am sort of squirming at the idea of just eating anyone's food--and not knowing anything about it.
How am I doing due diligence in even trying to keep kosher like that?
While maybe I'm not the most kosher of everyone, it certainly is important to me to at least try (to some extent), but I ask myself can this be considered really even trying--when some people aren't religious, may not have a strong religious education, and perhaps some may not even be (fully) Jewish?
Sure, someone can even have the best intentions and try to bring kosher food, yet it's certainly possible that the food may not be kosher.
Perhaps, in prior times, it was an issue of more or less kosher, but these days, it can be an issue of kosher or not kosher at all.
This is a very difficult issue--because we can't put people up against the law--we must by necessity respect both.
So yes, I love the idea of respecting everyone and that's a given assuming they are good, decent people, but trust is not something you just have, it's something you earn, by...being trustful!
I'm not one to preach religion to anyone...I struggle myself with the laws and in trying to do what's right in the commandments between man and G-d.
And while I am ready to accept all good and loving people, I am perhaps not ready to just trust them without knowing that the trust is dutiful.
Love thy neighbor as thyself is paramount, but also we have a duty to G-d to try to fulfill his commandments the best we can. ;-)
(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)