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Revelations about the “fake meat” trend sweeping our kitchens, just in time for Purim

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After the failed impeachment of former President Donald Trump, media coverage turned to how Democrat governors Andrew Cuomo (NY) and Gavin Newsom (CA) are facing political storms for their Covid-19 lies and blunders. (Photo: Facebook)

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The world is going crazy for plant-based meat alternatives. You can make burgers, chilis, tacos, and spaghetti Bolognese without consuming meat products. But how does this popular trend affect those who keep kosher?  

We can look at that question from a number of perspectives. One is that those who keep kosher, and do not mix dairy and meat products, can finally enjoy the pleasures of a cheeseburger or a taco with sour cream and shredded cheese toppings. Perhaps they want to try a heaping helping of spaghetti Bolognese with some freshly grated parmesan cheese, a delight that was heretofore beyond reach in the kosher world – unless you count vegan cheese which, no offense to vegans, I do not.  

Not so fast, says the Chief Rabbinate when dealing with the “fake meat” trend. This product may not be made of actual meat, but we are treating it just like meat, and it has the appearance of meat, therefore it must follow the rule of meat. “If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck,then it must be a duck,” says Rabbi Yankeleh of the Chief Rabbinate. He continues, “Anyone who walks by and sees me eating a fake meat cheeseburger will say that I am eating a cheeseburger. It doesn’t matter if it’s fake meat because it looks like a cheeseburger and tastes like a cheeseburger, then it must be a cheeseburger.” 

So, the decision of the Chief Rabbinate is that one must treat all fake meat products as if they are actual meat. This means that one cannot mix dairy and fake meat products and one must wait the requisite amount of time after eating fake meat before consuming dairy products. 

One last thing about fake meat, in the spirit of the holiday of Purim, I made this all up. 

What, why would you do that?!? You may ask. Purim is a holiday when we revel in hilarity and silliness. A common practice for Purim is to produce humorous news pieces in the spirit of the holiday. It is a celebration of a victory of the Jewish people in a situation which had the potential for disastrous consequences. It is a tale of courage and fortitude which celebrates the hero, Esther. 

For those of you who are not familiar with the story of Purim, here is the “elevator pitch” version of the story: 

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…. Oops! Wrong story. Let’s try that again. In the year 3405 on the Jewish calendar, there lived a very evil guy named Haman.  Haman’s goal was to annihilate all of the Jews, young and old, women and children, in a single day. 

Haman was the Prime Minister of King Achashverosh (Ahasuerus.) Achashverosh was the emperor of the Persian empire and his ruled over lands stretching from India to Ethiopia. 

Now it came to pass in the days of Achashverosh – he was the Achashverosh who reigned from Hodu to Cush, one hundred twenty-seven provinces.  (Megilat Esther 1:1)

Haman, through manipulation and deceit, convinced Achashverosh to allow him to order the death of every Jew in the world on one particular date.  

Meanwhile, Mordechai, a wise man of the Jewish people, arranged for the Jews to gather together and to pray and fast as an act of repentance. On the inside of the palace, Queen Esther, Mordechai’s cousin and a fellow Jew, who was also married to king Achashverosh, planned a little soirée to which she invited the king and Haman. 

Up until this point, the king did not know that his queen was Jewish. During the party, Queen Esther revealed to the king that she was a Jew and Haman had ordered her death. The king ordered that Haman be hanged and issued a second decree that allowed for the Jews to defend themselves against attackers. The Jews very successfully defended themselves against their enemies and celebrated in grand fashion the next day. 

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How do we celebrate this holiday these many years later? What follows is not a comprehensive list, but a general description of the ways in which most celebrate Purim. 

The first way that we celebrate Purim is to hear the reading of the Purim story from Megillat Esther (the scroll of Esther). 

This is read aloud and the tradition of most is that when the name of the evil Haman is said, the crowd drowns out his name with boos or sounds from noisemakers called graggers. We listen to the reading of Megillat Esther twice over the holiday. Once in the evening, and again the next day. Children and adults also dress in costume in reference to the fact that G_d performed miracles which were hidden in plain sight. 

Food and drink are also a part of this holiday. We celebrate as we are able, but we also remember that there are some in the world who are less fortunate who may not have the wherewithal to indulge in a celebration. In order to remedy this, we give gifts of food and drink, called Matanot La’Evyonim, to those in need. We also give gifts of food and drink to friends.These are called Mishloach Manot

And who could forget Hamentashen, the triangular shaped treats that are filled with poppy, prune or fruit filling? 

But how do we celebrate with food and drink? Through a festive meal. We gather together with friends and family before the end of the day of Purim and fête with food, songs, wine and joy. In fact, many follow the tradition that we should imbibe in spirits until we cannot differentiate between Mordechai and Haman. 

However you celebrate this year, please do so in a safe, healthy way full of love, happiness, and gratitude for the amazing gift of life that we are enjoying. Chag Purim Sameyach! 

 

(Editor’s note: One of the world’s oldest known Megillahs has recently been gifted to the National Library of Israel in Jerusalem, home to the world’s largest collection of textual Judaica. Scholars have determined that the newly scroll was written by a scribe on the Iberian Peninsula around 1465, prior to the Spanish and Portuguese Expulsions at the end of the fifteenth century. These conclusions are based on both stylistic and scientific evidence, including Carbon-14 dating. There are very few from the medieval period in general, and from the fifteenth century, in particular. Torah scrolls and Esther scrolls from pre-Expulsion Spain and Portugal are even rarer, with only a small handful known to exist.  It has  been made available online for the first time.)

Rav Corey Margolese is the founder of JTeach.ca, a not-for-profit organization that offers training and resources in the dangers of antisemitism, Holocaust education, and in Judaic traditions, culture and religion. He is a public school teacher.

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Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

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