It never ceases to amaze me as to the level of craziness that some religions aspire to. On the Jewish festival of Passover it’s customary to abstain from food and drink products that are considered ‘chametz‘. Growing up, in the family house, I was made to observe this practice. It caused me great distress one year when as a little boy, maybe 8 or 9 years old, I went to a birthday party for a school friend, during Passover. The friend was not Jewish and Passover meant nothing to him or his family. And so the parents of the birthday boy took us all out to lunch at McDonalds, very generously no doubt.
Realising there was about to be a huge logistical issue for me, I worked up the courage to tell the parents I wasn’t allowed to eat bread, but I didn’t tell them this was because it was Passover. I didn’t know how to explain that to them. This caused a great deal of consternation for the parents and the restaurant, and humiliation for me, as I was not happy with the dilemma I had been placed in. Somehow the restaurant were able to concoct a “hamburger” without the buns for me. It was mostly meat and the salads, and probably had cheese in it as well.
The craziness of this was that my parents didn’t mind too much that the food I was eating at someone else’s party wasn’t kosher, yet they did mind that I ate bread during Passover. I’m glad my parents didn’t find out I was eating meat and cheese together. It would have been the end of the world. There is no logic to this at all. If keeping kosher matters, it should matter 100%, not partially. Not that keeping kosher is about logic either. It defies logic completely and epitomises irrationality.
Yesterday, some 35 years later, it came to my attention that the carbon dioxide gas used in making soft drinks needs to be approved by a kosher authority before it can be considered suitable for consumption during Passover. We’re talking about a substance that is a gas, that contains no solids or liquids. Yet apparently it’s possible that it can contain contaminants that are a by-product of its manufacture that would render it ‘chametz’. WTF.
No doubt many faithful will disagree but to me this is a scam of the highest degree, being perpetrated by a bunch of shonky con artists who are sucking money mercilessly out of people who could better spend it on more important things like health or education. My suggestion to those who are paying the exorbitant prices for kosher foods, especially at Passover, is to think about how gullible you are being and how you are being ripped off by the nonsense that keeping kosher is. Just go and buy an 88c bottle of soda water off the shelf at the regular supermarket and pretend it’s kosher. Your god won’t have the slightest clue. Trust me.
Kosher Australia Update
5 April 2012
We have just completed our investigation of the Schweppes unflavoured mineral water and soda water and found that they are chometz and kitniyos free and may be used on Pesach if purchased before Pesach (before 11am on 6/4/2012 if in Melbourne). Unfortunately the generic brands could not confirm that the carbonation sources were chometz and kitniyos free. (In fact they noted that starch based carbonation was used.)
We are still chasing down information regarding a number of medications and diet specific products and when & if information comes to hand, we will advise the community.
We remind all consumers who have yet to do so, to sell their chometz. Follow this link to download the Kosher Australia mechiras chometz form which must be completed and faxed/email back urgently.
Wishing you a Kosher & Joyous Pesach.