I had a check-in meeting with Rabbi B yesterday. She’s the one that’s overseeing my conversion process so I meet with her every few months or so to see how things are going. She thinks I’m on track to convert by the end of the year but I think it’ll be sooner than that (I mean, on my end). I’m almost done with all the requirements. At this point, it’s just finishing the classes & taking a dip in the mikvah. 😉
She asked me if there were any mitzvot I was struggling with. I was honest & told her the concept of kashrut. I told her how I grew up eating a lot of pork & I love bacon cheeseburgers & BLTs. 🙂 I also mentioned how I wasn’t going to be able to go cold turkey but would have to wean myself in stages. I’ve given up shellfish & most pork-based products but not bacon. I haven’t even touched the whole “meat & dairy” part yet (see infograph below).
Then she said something really wise. She told me that one of the joys of reform Judaism is being okay if a mitzvah doesn’t make us feel connected to God. There are a lot of mitzvot (613, to be exact) & everyone’s spiritual journey is different. My practice of Judaism isn’t the same as hers or yours or anyone else’s. One of the many issues I have with Christianity is this blind acceptance to everything & anything without questioning its role in your life. I like having permission & encouragement to wrestle with different practices.
She told me to give it 60 days to try it out. Maybe it’ll be something, like my abstinence from shellfish, that makes me feel more connected to my beliefs & my community. Or maybe it won’t resonate with me as much as another mitzvah might. And that’s okay.
I’m sure I came across like a blabbering idiot. I get so nervous around people I admire & who inspire me to be a better person. I start rambling & I feel like I’m not making a lot of sense. Ugh. So yeah. I’m in my head a little bit about it but I’m trying to be realistic & tell myself that she more than likely didn’t give it a second thought.
So, of course, on the day she encourages me to try to be kosher, I eat bacon. It wasn’t even on purpose.
That sounds weird. Let me explain.
Job #1 bought everyone lunch which is awesome & generous. I went to a sandwich shop, picked out the one I thought would be the best (“chicken Caesar”), & took my boxed lunch home. I was about halfway through my sandwich when I ran into a wall of bacon. I’ve never heard of bacon in a Caesar wrap but there you go. My first thought was, “What if someone was Orthodox or Muslim? There’s nothing on this that says, ‘Contents: pork’.” That thought was immediately chased by this one, “Well, fuck.” 😉
I ate the sandwich & told myself it “didn’t count” against my 60 days. Not that I’m in denial but more like, “Hey, I didn’t know this had bacon so it’s not like I purposely ignored Rabbi B’s challenge.”
So yeah. That’s what I’m gonna do. For the next 59 days, I’m gonna do my best to avoid pork. If it helps connect me to my people, awesome. If it doesn’t change anything, well that’s okay, too. 🙂