Saturday, April 10, 2010

It's Better to Have Loved and Lost...

By Susan Esther Barnes

It was sudden and unexpected. There were no lingering goodbyes, no time to savor our last moments together. It just happened. One day, much like every other day of my life, I was eating treyf (non-kosher food), and the next day, with no advance planning or noticeable forethought, I was not.

Though I admit I had dalliances with sausages and peppers, with ham and with shrimp, and a certain relationship with pepperoni pizza, my true love, it turns out in hindsight, was bacon. Bacon and lettuce sandwiches (no tomato, thank you), bacon on salad, and just plain bacon. This is the only thing I truly miss, the thing I wistfully think about; imagining its aroma, the texture of it on my tongue, the feel of it giving inexorably between my teeth as the flavor fills my senses.

It made me wonder, would it have been better to grow up in a kosher home, to have smelled bacon, perhaps at a friend’s house or in a restaurant, but never to have tasted it? Would it have been preferable to feel repulsed at even the thought of lifting a pork product toward my mouth?

Although I will never truly know what it would have been like, I don’t think it would be better. I like it this way. I like how this morning, when Rabbi Lezak mentioned kashrut (the set of Jewish dietary laws), I thought about my lost love, my bacon. I like that I thought about how I miss it, and what, if I abandoned kashrut, that first bite would taste like.

I like that, knowing fully what I am giving up, I know that by following this law I am in a covenant with God. I like that my next thought was, “I loved my bacon, but I love my relationship with God more.”

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