Sunday, March 18, 2007

Pesach is coming.

Rafi G, if you're reading this - how much does it cost to buy a cow and shecht it? For those who missed the action, you can watch Rafi G (in still pictures) shecht a big red cow.

We had lunch on shabbos with some friends and they were telling us about other friends who went to the neighboring village, bought a sheep for 900 shekel, got it shechted for 100 shekel and had someone cut it up for them for another 100 shekel. They had to kasher it and cut it into meal size portions themselves, but then they got an entire sheep for 1100 shekels. They will hopefully make a shofar out of the horn, a jacket out of the skin and use the wool for clothing.

I think that the best meal comes from an animal that you feel close with. It should have a name, and preferably you should ride it or take it for a walk before you kill it and eat it. The more connected you feel to the animal really adds flavor.

We are currently trying to make plans for Pesach vacation. We have 2 days of chol hamoed for tiyuling and I have taken off work. Some friends (the sheep eaters) are going down to mizpe ramon and staying in a field school (like a youth hostel). Last year we ended up staying in a youth hostel with them after our camp ground flooded and they found us the last rooms in the place.

2 years ago I had an argument with someone as to whether charcoal needed to be kosher for Pesach. I heard from a third party that the posek in Detroit said it did. The star K's website says it does not. It is certainly not fit for a dog to eat, but you are cooking on top of it, so maybe that makes a difference. In any case, the posek I asked said it was fine (I didn't need to negotiate at all). He did tell me I needed a new grill for Pesach, which I completely disagreed with. However, he wouldn't budge from his original position, so I sold my grill and bought a new one (which I put away so it is available this year). The reason I disagreed was because I burnt any chametz that was on my grill (during use). After you burn chametz it ceases to be chametz and therefore you should be able to use it. Unfortunately, I lost that argument though I don't see how you could see it any other way. The mitzva itself is to burn the chametz. ARGH!!

Remember 30 days before the holiday it is appropriate to learn the laws.

A thought from this weeks parsha.
The midrash brings down an incident when Moshe asked the people for donations for the mishkan. The women wanted to donate their copper mirrors.Moshe refused to accept them because he said that the mirrors are objects that women use to make themselves look pretty. They are therefore to be treated as unholy. God spoke to Moshe and said "you are not correct, Moshe. These mirrors are dearer to me then any other donations because the women used them in Egypt so that their husbands would desire them and keep the family bond strong." Moshe accepted the donation of the women and made them into a kiyor, the sink from which the Kohanim washed their hands and feet before doing the avodah.

We can learn a lot from this story. One thing we can learn is that sexuality in Judaism is not only appropriate, but that effort put into keeping you marriage and sex life healthy is very important to God.

A second thing that we can learn from this, that commentaries generally don't bring down (at least I haven't seen it) is that rabbis can be wrong. Moshe could have jumped up and down screaming, "Torah Lo BaShamayim hee" (Torah is not in the heaven, but should be adjudicated by the humans it was given to), he could have said, "That is very nice God, but we are more machmir." But instead he accepted that he was wrong and accepted the gift of the women.

The midrash is teaching us that just because someone is a great person, a big talmid chacham or someone who speaks directly with God doesn't mean that everything he says or thinks is correct. While we have to weigh what great people say very heavily, we still must realize that they are people and not Gods.

The way my dad will look at this is that it took God himself to tell Moshe that he was wrong. The answer to that is look at who told Amram (the leader of that generation) that he was wrong about leaving his wife in wake of the Egyptian slaughter of all newborn males. A little girl.

1 comment:

Rafi G. said...

we don't buy the whole cow. we only buy the top half. If we bought the whole cow it would be cheaper. However, because we do not take the back half of the cow due to the gid ha'nashe, so we buyt meat off the cow and pay per kilo. We pay between 35-45 NIS per kilo depending on how much meat we take. The cut of meat does not matter. from the cheapest neck meat to the most expensive steak meat it is all the same price. We pay so much because these guys give us a gaurantee that the meat will be "chalak". If the animal is treife or not chalak, we take none of the meat and they sell it to Arabs. If we went elsewhere with no such gaurantee, it would be much cheaper. But we would be at risk of having meat we could not eat and we would have to find someone to purchase it from us.