Declaring Allegiance to the Torah’s Laws

I was once present at a Friday night meal where I witnessed a lesson in chinuch. The main course had just been served and the children were enjoying their roast chicken. Suddenly the father called out, “Stop eating!” He had noticed that a bone seemed deformed, as if it had broken before the bird had been slaughtered. “We have to go and ask the Rav if this is kosher.” “But Tatty,” pleaded one of the children, “these she’eilos usually end up being okay. Can’t we carry on eating meanwhile? The chicken will get cold by the time you come back.”

The father pulled his chair back and said as follows: “Baruch Hashem, we keep a kosher home. Everything we eat is of the highest standards of kashrus. It doesn’t take us much of an effort. All we have to do is order the right hechsher. Can we really say we deserve great credit for eating kosher? Tonight, Hashem has given us an opportunity to demonstrate that we really are concerned to keep His will – by refraining from eating treif meat, even if it is inconvenient for us. This is an opportunity of a lifetime. How often do we have a chance to actually put aside our own interests for the sake of kashrus? Even if the Rav hopefully will tell us that the chicken is kosher, we will have gained a demonstration that every time we eat a Bedatz chicken, it’s because Hashem has told us to.” The Rav lived near by and within a quarter of an hour, we resumed eating our lukewarm chicken, warmed by the knowledge that we had declared our allegiance.

  • Excerpted from “When the Torah Moves (Behaaloscha)” by Rav Avraham Chaim Carmell

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