As the cold winter months settle in, nothing can beat good old-fashioned chicken soup. It warms the soul and even heals the body. Then people came around and said that oil and fat are not so good for you…so they cut out most of the oil. Some animal-rights groups said that we should not eat chicken…so they cut out the chicken. Then others said that salt is not healthy…so out went the salt. Next thing you know, the soup was completely watered down and hardly resembled the original, hearty, good old Jewish penicillin.
The Gemara, in Maseches Shabbos, discusses at great length the proper oil for use in the menorah. Back then, the discussions mainly consisted of the different characteristics of the oils, how clean they burned or how they smelled when they burned. However, today, oils, like traditional Jewish chicken soup, are getting diluted and more complicated than ever before. Even extra virgin olive oil might not always be what it seems, as you will see in Rabbi Bentzion Chanowitz’s article about olive oil.
Some people say this watering down is what is unfortunately happening to Yiddishkeit today, like your grandmother’s authentic chicken soup of yesteryear. There are those who want to water down our “taste” and appetite for authentic Yiddishkeit, for Torah and mitzvos. Once it’s watered down, Yiddishkeit doesn’t have the same punch and enthusiasm as in previous generations.
At the OK, we work hard to keep the “fire burning”. We continue to strive to ensure that we don’t cut any corners and we deliver kosher without compromise. It’s our part in preserving Hashem’s Torah and the continuity of Yiddishkeit for future generations.
Wishing you a warm and happy Chanukah,
Rabbi Chaim Fogelman