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Should I Publicize My Newly Kosher Kitchen?

Should I Publicize My Newly Kosher Kitchen?

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Question

I recently kashered my kitchen. My rabbi is encouraging me to publicize this new development in my social circles. Would it not be better for me to keep this mitzvah between me and G‑d?

-Discreet Jew

Response

Mazel tov on your new kosher kitchen! It is a beautiful mitzvah to be involved with.

Indeed, Judaism considers discretion to be a positive virtue. There are plenty of sources that suggest that it is not proper to parade mitzvahs for all to see. Maimonides writes that one of the highest forms of charity is giving to the poor without knowing who will be the receiver, and the poor person not knowing who the benefactor was. Quiet, anonymous giving is best.

However, there is also an advantage to publicity. When others see the good deeds of another, it encourages and motivates them to do the same. Your isolated deed can cause a ripple effect and be the catalyst for many more mitzvahs.

So, what to do?

Over 800 years ago, a community was faced with the following predicament: A certain member of the community who lived adjacent to the synagogue had graciously donated his property to allow for the expansion of the synagogue, and had also paid for the construction. After the project’s completion, the benefactor wished to have his name inscribed upon the building as its patron. The community members felt this to be ostentatious and sent a lengthy letter with their objections to Rabbi Shlomo Ben Aderet, one of the great 13th century authorities of Jewish law, commonly known as the Rashba.

In his landmark response to the community,1 the Rashba rejected their concerns and unequivocally wrote: “It is the Torah way to record and publicize those who perform mitzvahs.” He then brought several sources from the Torah and Jewish tradition to support this.

Is there the concern that one’s ego will be inflated as a result? Possibly. However, the upside to modest, tasteful publicity is far greater. Creating a trend in the right direction is of primary importance, and its effects, immeasurable.

Footnotes
1.
Shut HaRashba 1:581, cited by Rama to Yoreh De’ah 249:13.
Rabbi Levi Greenberg is the director of programming at Chabad Lubavitch of El Paso, Texas.
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.. August 21, 2017

We try to keep a kosher kitchen for our Jewish guests, who are usually secular, but I still try to keep a kosher kitchen for them, but it is necessary to tell them and others so they don't make it traif. For example we had a friend come with Thai food and my husband gave him one of our forks without thinking, and he started eating on the kitchen counter so I had to get him to move to avoid spillage. Several Jews cooked non kosher chicken in the kitchen, once will I was asleep, another time while I was away overnight, so to save all the work of re-koshering in the case of accidents, it is much easier to just mention it. I'm even thinking of getting a sign! 😜 Reply

Anonymous January 29, 2015

If you koshered your kitchen, and you publicize about it, you will look like a hypocrite if you eat non kosher outside the house. Furthermore, if you change your mind and eat traif at home, you will look like a fool. Furthermore, who cares if you go kosher or not? Lead by example. Talk is cheap. Reply

Natalie Kehr January 29, 2015

Your friends need to know. If you have koshered your kitchen, logic dictates that you will now only eat kosher food when out. Your non-kosher friends need to know that they will have to be very careful about inviting you to a meal, Your kosher-keeping friends need to know that they can now trust your food. Reply

Anonymous Edgware January 29, 2015

I think that keeping such things quiet and only telling close friends/family is sensible to begin with. You don't wan't to start saying "hey everyone, this is the new me". That can make you feel constrained, and stuck with being this "new you" for all the wrong reasons. If you keep kosher, people notice very quickly anyway. Enjoy it, and ask the rabbi every time you mess up meat/milk separation etc. - usually there's a reliable halachic way of dealing with it :) Reply

Anonymous Florida January 28, 2015

Telling guests to your home is a good way to start, and helps you reinforce your commitment; e.g."This drawer is where the dairy spoons are if you need one." "The sink is treyf, just leave your dish on the counter." Sharing anecdotes about the process ("The Rav said I could use my mother's wooden salad bowl for potpourri." "My Rabbi accidentally sloshed hot water on the cat.") can help another decide, hey, I can do that! It's not so hard! And as you now know, it isn't! Reply

Amos 8:11 January 27, 2015

Kitchen thoughts: The space of a human handbreath Thank you, chabad. For all this meaningful and timely co-partnership.

When i turned to the daily tehillim reading for today, it was all the 'toonie tuesday' my pocketbook needed!! Reply

Joy January 27, 2015

Could you photo more your newly kitchen more? Such as cooking tools, equipments and their arrangements. I am interested in that. Thank you! Reply

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