Sunday, January 09, 2011


Eat a Cheeseburger Instead

by Reb Gutman Locks @ mystical paths

image003 (7)This one is really nuts! A guy in his mid-thirties came up to me Shabbos afternoon at the Kotel. He had read my book, Coming Back To Earth, and wanted to thank me. “It was truly inspiring,” he said. He lives most of the year in Tel Aviv, and his main “thing” is placing Jews in homes for Shabbos meals. He is doing a tremendous job. He places hundreds of Jews in homes every Shabbos, where they find a warm Shabbos meal with a warm Jewish family.

    He told me how he became religious.

    “About 12 years ago, I was standing there in the plaza,” he pointed behind us. “And a rebbetzin (rabbi’s wife) came up and started talking to me. I was not at all religious. She said, ‘The next time you’re going to eat pig (a pork product), eat a cheeseburger instead.’”

     Eating a cheeseburger is no less forbidden than eating pig, but it just doesn’t seem to be as bad, since the prohibition against mixing milk and meat is not so well known--nor does it seem so disgusting.

     He went on, “I forgot all about what she told me, but a few months later, I was in a restaurant and I ordered a bacon sandwich. Then, for some reason, I remembered what she said. I called out to the waitress, ‘Make it a cheeseburger instead.’ That cheeseburger tasted delicious! It was the best I had ever eaten. I thought, ‘Wow being religious is great!’ From then on, I did little by little until I’ve come to observe all of the Torah’s commandments.”

    I would never recommend telling a Jew to eat a cheeseburger, but here is a case where it actually brought someone home!

(We learn from the Torah, a religious law from G-d himself, that it is forbidden for the Jewish people to cook or eat or derive benefit from dairy products and meat products together.  For religious Jews this means an absolute separation between these two, to the extent that a religious Jew will have one set of pots and dishes for cooking and eating their hamburger and steak, and another set for eating their macaroni and cheese.  No lasagna with meat, no hamburger with cheese.  In religious Jewish life, foods have one of three designations…dairy, meat, or parve – meaning no dairy and no meat ingredients and may be used with either.)


  1. That's a great story! Who'd have thunk? Awesome post!

    It just goes to show us that the baby-steps approach, even one as unorthodox as this - forgive the pun - can lead one to teshuvah and Derech HaShem.

    Yes, the same holds true for us non-Jews. That's why I view Noachidism as a means to an end and not merely an end. One mitzvah (done with joy, of course!) will lead to another and thereby take the individual from one madraigah (step/terrace) to the next.

    I apologize for having gone overboard with my early Noachide rant. I truly meant no disrespect. At times, I just feel like we non-Jews are being patted on the head and told to go play with Amalek and leave the Jews alone. Who likes to feel patronized?

    True, I'm not worthy (eini k'dai), and I dare say that most of us Gentiles aren't cut out to be good Noachides, let alone converts, but a few of us do have this deep and abiding desire to become a Ger Toshav, if not a Ger Tzedek.

    I was listening to Rabbi Yaakov Shapiro's shiur on Derech HaShem the other day and he says that Reb Moshe says like this, "(Siz shver tzu sein a yid? It's hard to be a Jew?) No! It's not HARD to be a Jew! It's hard NOT to be a Jew! It's hard to be a Goy! It's not HARD to be frum! It's hard NOT to be frum! It's hard to live a meaningless, purposeless, structureless, directionless life. It's hard to live a life knowing that you have nothing to look forward to except the grave!"

    Personally, my own journey toward Judaism has brought me a great deal of fulfillment, but also no end of conflict, which is why I empathize so much with baalei teshuva, especially those who've lost so much and been cut off by their family and/or so-called friends.

    So, to see (or at least get the impression) that a righteous Jew is holding up his/her hand to stop you and tell you, "Hold your horses, Mr. Noachide! Just where do you think you're going? You don't have to go down this road toward Judaism. You just pull over and park yourself right there"....

    If you hear this too often ... it can break your heart and maybe even your spirit. I get enough rejection from my own. I don't need it from the Y'hudim too. Remain a simple Noachide? Continue living with and working for Amalek? Heaven forbid!

  2. crazy spade im sure mashiach ben yossef the TRUE ONE is more with you then you ever imagined your lifting inumeral sparks from the depths of amalak by your avodah , GOD BLESS !

  3. Anon, I don't know about that. My avodah is minor at best and rarely am I able to invest much joy in the few mitzvot that I can do. I struggle everyday with trying to internalize and actualize this joy and emunah message of the Breslov (and other Hasidim). The more I try the more I'm attacked or worse ... ignored. I can't help but think this would be easier were I surrounded by the proper infrastructure and had a like-minded support group to associate with.

    Intellectually, I think I'm grasping this message, but ... living it is something else. :(

    Anyway, thanks for the kind words of encouragement! :) I'll keep at it.


Welcome to Mystical Paths comments. Have your say here, but please keep the tone reasonably civil and avoid lashon hara. Due to past commenting problems, all comments are moderated (this may take a few hours.)

Your comments are governed by our Terms of Use, Privacy, and Comments policies. We reserve the right to delete or edit your comments for any reason, or use them in a future article. That said, YOU are responsible for YOUR comments - not us.

Related Posts with Thumbnails