When the doctor suggested my daughter do blood work, I smiled and agreed, knowing I was not going to rush to make an appointment. And I didn’t. It actually took me about half a year to finally getting around to doing it. You see, I had no reason to worry.

The doctor’s concern was that my daughter, “naturally” very thin, was not growing properly. While her height was more average, her weight did not even make the charts. But she had always been this way. From birth. And my other children are also skinny binnies. They scored with some good genes, and that was all there was too it!

It wasn’t until another child of mine needed to go in for some blood tests that I took them in together. You can imagine my shock when a few days later I received not one, but three calls from the pediatrician. Being that I had never received a call before, I knew the results could not have been good. I immediately called back, to be told that my daughter tested positive for celiac disease. She was allergic to gluten, and even though she was always a good eater, her food was simply not being absorbed properly by her body.

I smiled and agreed, knowing I was not going to rush to make an appointmentNow I know people with celiac. They suffered terrible stomachaches and a variety of other symptoms until they were properly diagnosed. My daughter, however, was practically addicted to gluten, and had never, not once, had a typical symptom or any pain whatsoever. (Ironically, another child of mine has had repeated stomach issues, but she is not the one who was diagnosed.)

This got me thinking how often we can do something wrong or unhealthy, and as long as there is no consequence, it is easy to justify the actions. Growing up, I never ate healthy, because like my daughter, I was able to eat whatever I wanted and not gain weight. Because there was no negative result to my downing a gallon of ice cream at my whim, I did as I pleased. Since having children, however, all that has changed. Drastically. Now whatever I eat likes to hang around . . . seemingly forever. So now I eat well, because if I don’t, I will see the consequences on the scale.

In Judaism we have different types of laws. Some make perfect sense to us, and we would keep them whether or not we were told to. “Do not murder.” Yeah, I get that. Don’t think I would be tempted to take someone’s life if suddenly it was allowed. “Do not steal” makes sense. Being faithful to one’s spouse is pretty much an understood necessity to a healthy relationship.

But then we have certain laws that are harder to understand. Sure, we may have some beautiful reasons or explanations, but ultimately, we keep these laws because we were told to. Plain and simple. And we won’t see the consequences of not doing them in a direct way necessarily, but that doesn’t change that we are commanded not to.

We all know if one cheats and gets caught, that marriage will suffer. If one steals, one can be arrested and jailed. But what if a Jew has a bacon cheeseburger? Will he or she end up with a violent stomachache and throw up? Probably not. What if one goes for a drive on Shabbat . . . will the car break down? Nope. Often, when I explain to someone that I can’t eat something or do something seemingly small, like flip a light switch on Shabbat, the response is, “Oh, do you think you would be struck by lightning if you do?” Uh no. I don’t.

Whether or not I can see the dangers, I know they are thereBut just because I may not have an anaphylactic reaction doesn’t mean that I am not allergic to certain things. My daughter’s celiac finally helped me recognize that something can be extremely dangerous (even deadly) to us, and there may not be any obvious symptoms to show for it. And just like she will need to keep a gluten-free diet, I keep kosher because I am spiritually allergic to non-kosher food.

It has yet to hit home what this new diet of hers will require. And it definitely won’t be easy, adding to the already long list of restrictions she has for keeping kosher, that now gluten is also not allowed. But hey, that is what we do. If it is not healthy for her, she can’t have it . . . period. Because whether or not I can see the dangers, I know they are there. And that is really all I need to know to keep her safe. Well, I guess after doing my best to ensure that each year for Passover we go away to avoid the cooking and cleaning, she (and possibly we) will be eating a Passover menu . . . all year long!