The milchigs on shabbos conundrum

Background story:

I hate to admit it, but the frum Jews on the West Coast don’t really know how to practice real frumkeit. They have created this hybrid based on their little exposure to Chabad, local community kollel rabbis and the rare FFB who visits their shul for some tech conference. In some ways it’s refreshing to go to a shul where the rabbi gives mussar to a bunch of people who talk about it all through their shabbos meals.  Then again, those same people violate clear Orthodox policy and make plans for their movie nights without even adding the whole “not to speak of this on shabbos” phrase. Even more horrific is the fact that many of these obvious apikorsim are making such plans over a dairy lunch without busser or dugim!

Let us not waste an entire post to bash BT’s who have no idea how to be frum; if they never leave the Bay Area they won’t need to know such things. Around here, no one puts you in cherem for having milchigs on shabbos, but I’m fairly certain that you are more likely to make it to the list of non-approved homes at your local shul. You see, many local shuls have a secret list of approved homes where you can dine, and you can only make the list if certain criteria are met. Of course, we can only speculate as to what those criteria are, but I’m pretty sure it has something to do with how you practice regular frumkeit. By regular frumkeit I mean things like your family policy on television, internet filters, placement of your seforim, a large glass case of silver Jewish paraphernalia and what periodicals your family reads. It’s a real sign of pikuach nefesh to get frum magazines around here because they’re double the price.

What really happened:

My wife and I were invited to a meal recently that took place on the same shabbos as a big fleishig kiddush. Our hopes of fressing and later farting due to our intake of copious amounts of meat-filled cholent were dashed as one of the other meal’s guests warned us that we were going to be having milchigs for lunch. If this was in my pre-California days I would have immediately informed the rabbi that we had imposters in the shul who must have worked with Jews for Jesus but not have studied the uniform foods which frum Jews serve for shabbos lunch. Alas, I have been here for 3 years and with my mind so far opened that my brains were falling on my liberal shoulders, I consulted my wife.

She pounded her feet dug her toes into the ground and said “what the F?” as I consulted my off the derech thoughts and rolodex of skepticisms as to how we could circumvent regular practice and go according to the days of yore, before that 6 hour, into the 6th hour, 1 hour, 3 hour or whatever you chose between milk and meat thing came around. It’s not a goat or a kid, and we can eat around the meat, right?

In my opinion, the best strategy to use when it comes to tackling such a conundrum is to do a cost basis analysis. Simply put, is the fleishig kiddush better than the milchigs lunch? Now if you aren’t a smart ass like myself you wouldn’t just walk up to your host and ask them exactly what kind of milchigs they were having. I once decided to forgo a fleishig kiddush for a milchig lunch only to show up at my hosts who were having a parve lunch, save for a small log of goat cheese to spread on challah during the humus course. I was beyond pissed, in my younger years I would have let them have it, but I stayed quiet and schemed in my head about all the evil things I would do to them when I got to host them.

“You’re having Lasagna!”

Now what the hell was I supposed to do? I was in a tough spot, this heaping meaty cholent staring at me with my yetzer harah trying to entice me to forgo the mitzvah of meat on shabbos and eat lasagna. The cholent looked good and I had no idea if the lasagna was going to be good. This was indeed a big conundrum.

Like any skeptical smart ass FFB, a lot of thoughts entered my head: we could eat cholent, cancel lunch and get started on some good long shabbos shluff. We could eat cholent and miraculously forget about it as the cheesy lasagna came out, but in the end we stuck to our morals. I didn’t eat the cholent, and ate lasagna. My wife accidentally ate this latke thing that turned out to be chicken, and had to abstain.

The reality of having milchigs on shabbos:

As you can see from the illustration above, there is a good reason as to why most normal frum folks don’t have milchigs on shabbos. I have been in communities where people have warned me in advance as to who is likely to have milchigs on shabbos. When warning me, people would always throw in some loshon horah about those “types” of folks who ate milchigs or parve on shabbos chas v’shalom. Unfortunately for the modern day frum community, we are lacking in people who have strong enough morals to avoid a cholent kiddush in order to appease their milchig hosts. In many cases, people fail at the nisayon and transgress the minhag yisrael of waiting between meat and milk.

Having milchigs on shabbos can also have long lasting negative effects on your community. People may not want to move to the type of community that tolerates milchigs on shabbos, they may view it as more “modern” and put it down to others. The community may not attract as many regular flieshigers as they want. Shidduchim is another factor that those milchigs on shabbos types seldom look at, most of the time they are basking in their glory as those unique people that can eat ice cream at shaloshudos on winter shabbosim and ignoring the fact that their bais yaakov daughter is the last in her class to marry because her parents are perceived as “too open minded”.

Find out more about milchigs on shabbos at