I’m beginning to consider keeping a kosher home, but the leap seems too daunting to do all at once. My problem is that when I do it, I want to do it right, and anything short of a 100% kosher kitchen seems like a compromise. Can you give me some ideas how I can make the transition into a kosher home just a little bit easier?


You’re on the right path. Dividing a mitzvah into small steps makes the goal much more attainable. Taking things slowly also adds the important element of stability to your journey towards living a Torah lifestyle.

But don’t look at it as a compromise. Here’s why:

Suppose an adult wishes to learn a new language. Would he be compromising his mission by beginning with basic simple words? What about a child beginning the study of math. Is he compromising by starting with simple arithmetic?

Of course not. It is quite clear that neither “c‑a‑t spells cat” nor 2 + 2 = 4 is the ultimate goal. But they are necessary steps in the right direction.

Mitzvahs are no different.

You would indeed be compromising if you believed that as long as you don’t eat bacon or cheeseburgers you’re eating kosher. And it would be a compromise to think that tefillin really need to be put one only once a week. But to say the journey begins with the first step? That is the way we grow.

Regarding mitzvahs, there’s an additional component: Torah is not all or nothing. Each mitzvah is a full-blown relationship with the One Above. Each time we eat kosher, each time we put on tefillin, each time we observe Shabbat, something extraordinary occurs.

On a practical note, here’s a three-stage plan I like to suggest (though you may wish to divide it up even further).

Stage One:

• Buy only kosher meat.

• Avoid eating meat together with milk.

Stage Two:

• Buy only products that bear reliable kosher certification. You’ll be surprised how many items on the grocery store shelves are kosher.

• Divide your pots, pans, and cutlery into “meat” and “milk” groupings, even though you previously may have used the newly designated “milk” spoon for “meat.” (You may want to mark your utensils with their new designations, so that you do not mix them up.) This is good practice for what’s yet to come—practice that will help minimize messups once your kitchen is kosher.

Stage Three:

• Invite a rabbi to your home to survey the kitchen. He’ll advise you on how best to divide the “milk” and “meat” sections. He will also help you determine which utensils can be made kosher, and which will have to be replaced.

· The big day: The sinks, oven and utensils are koshered. You will now be eating in a kosher kitchen.

Like they say, mile by mile is a trial, yard by yard is hard, but inch by inch is a cinch. May the fulfillment of this important mitzvah bring you and your family only blessings!