Saturday, September 22, 2018 -
Print Edition

The four – no, three – elements

Thanks to all those who’ve participated in our first poll: ‘Do you keep kosher?’ The poll is still open, but so far the ‘yes’ column is a bit ahead of the ‘no’s, with those who ‘try to’ coming in third. Check back here in the coming weeks for RM Jew’s take on the results.

For me, however, it’s topical, because just yesterday I kashered a kitchen for the first time. In the past I’ve always lived in shared accommodation, but I recently made a small step on the property ladder and moved into my own place. Still rented – so that step is actually minuscule, although these days might be more secure – but at least no flatmates as of yet.

Back to the kashering: I was instructed to heat the electric stovetop to an incendiary level – this is libun – until placing a sheet of paper atop a plate turns it to ash. Well, the paper did indeed turn to ash, though perhaps it wasn’t as instantaneous as some suggested…a small fire broke out first.

Then came hagala, the pouring of boiling hot water over the kitchen surfaces and sink. Are they kidding me? I got a second degree burn doing something similar last year! Maybe it was the ritual, but this time around, there were no injuries, only lots and lots of mopping.

Finally, the part I’d been waiting for: unpacking all the dishes I’d been collecting over the months. Kashering a kitchen provides a perfect excuse to purchase all sorts of useless kitchen gadgets!

I’ve heard vague murmurings of burying utensils in soil and placing stones within stainless steel pots, so I’m guessing these might be the ways in which the earth element comes into the process. I’m still waiting to hear about air. Or perhaps the spirit of the ritual is wind – ruach – element?

For now, I’m off to cook in my brand-new (sort of), definitely pristine, kitchen.

Shabbat Shalom…and Happy Independence Day!


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Shana Goldberg

IJN Assistant Publisher | shana@ijn.com


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