Yep, this is going exactly where you think it is going–I, the habitual double bacon cheeseburger eater, am going to give this whole “keeping kosher” thing a whirl. Part of this is that I want to see whether I can do it; another part of it is that I want to give it an honest try, like I have been trying other things. (Verdicts so far: I will definitely wear a tallit once I’m official, I’ll continue observing Shabbat, I’m only wearing a head covering during the High Holy Days or when I know I’ll be on the bima.)
Of course, in order for any experiment to happen, guidelines must be set down. After careful consideration, this is how it’s gonna go: starting tomorrow, for the next 30 days (so all of March), I will not eat any bacon, nor meat and dairy together.* Two caveats to the second part: I will not mix meat and dairy in the same dish for the first 15 days, and then move to not mixing them in the same meal through the second half of the month–and I’m not counting non-mammals as meat, so I’ll have cheese with my chicken, thank you. This last is in line with my whole keeping-the-spirit-not-the-letter-of-the-law thing that I do for Shabbat, where I don’t do anything that feels like work (but plenty of things that are part of the creative activities that are rabbinically prohibited).
The not-considering-chicken-meat when keeping kosher is apparently a thing, according to the Internet–most sources call it “Biblical kosher”–but since many of those sources are “Messianic” synagogues, I’m not putting a lot of stock on it being a thing. Rather, I am doing it based on my conscience as I extrapolate from the Tanakh verse where the restriction is. For reference, Exodus 23:19 reads: “The first of the first fruits of your Land you must bring into the House of Adonai your God. You must not boil a kid in his mother’s milk”–and a chicken cannot be boiled in its mother’s milk because its mother would not have milk. That said, I’m now weirded out by chicken and eggs together due to the same passage, so that’s where my first chumra (personal prohibition that’s stricter than halakha, Jewish Law) comes in, I suppose.
ANYWAY, at the end of the month I will reassess, asking one simple question: does keeping kosher (in my own way) make me feel closer to God? That is the rule by which I have adopted all other mitzvot I fulfill, so time will tell whether I will add this to the list. Wish me luck!
I’m gonna go eat what might be my last bacon cheeseburger ever. 😉
*I’m allergic to shellfish and I’ve never eaten any exotic animals, so that’s never been an issue–nothing to give up there!