Adventures of a Chief Rabbi: Ingredients of Trust

Tuesday May 14, 2013

Ingredients of Trust

Picture this. The Chief Rabbi of a country, one of whose main responsibilities is the Kosher certification and supervision of products in the country. I finally went to a local supermarket for the first time. Now those who know me may remember that I am particularly poorly domesticated, and that supermarket shopping is fairly low on my list of transferable skills. Thankfully, a member of the community graciously offered to accompany me on my inaugural visit to this prosaic though life-sustaining establishment.

This woman keeps a Kosher home and knows by heart most of the products that are Kosher. As opposed to Israel or the US, there are no signs, logos or any other distinguishable feature to designate that an item is Kosher. However, for the odd items that are not part of their usual purchases, she was able to look up via her smartphone the online list that I’m responsible for.

So here I am, the guy responsible for Kosher products, with no idea as to what I can buy, relying on a woman, who is relying on a list of products that someone that I rely on in my office (Moshe Silberberg – highly reliable) says is okay.

Perhaps by coincidence, this woman’s family was commemorating the Yartzeit of her husband’s mother that day. As part of the commemoration, the family sponsored this year, as they have in previous years, the printing of a new booklet with an updated list of the Kosher products available (under the auspices of yes, my office). By another coincidence I was asked to speak in the synagogue instead of the regularly scheduled Rabbi. I choose to speak about some of the theological aspects of keeping Kosher (before the impromptu supermarket outing) and how keeping Kosher is a foundation of Jewish life, that on one hand separates us from the other nations, but on the other hand unites us as a people. But last night I realized something else that keeping Kosher does – it builds trust.

Chag Shavuoth Sameach and may everyone enjoy their Kosher cheesecakes!

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