No one will make schmaltz for me anymore.

When I was a kid, one of the highlights of the eighth day of Passover was smearing schmaltz and gribbenes on matzah. Crispy pieces of deep-fried chicken skin swimming in rendered fat and sprinkled with salt—it was instant gastronomic delight.She says it’s not healthy

I don’t like to kvetch, but even on Passover, when many people prefer fat rendered at home to factory-processed oil, my dear wife refuses to make schmaltz. She says it’s not healthy. You would think my mother might be more of a stickler for tradition, but she gave it up, too. As for my bubbe, oy, better you shouldn’t even ask.

I tried to explain to them that eating traditional foods strengthens and builds up the walls of your arteries, but they’re not interested in listening to reason. They’re prejudiced against animal fat. They trim their beef, skin their chickens and skim the soup. It’s still food, of course, but it’s not the same.

It wasn’t always this way. Until relatively recently, fat was considered a delicacy. People would scrape the drippings out of the pan, and fight over who would be served the helzel (neck) in the chicken soup. Cooking with schmaltz was a way of life.

However, there were some fats that Jews would never eat. In the book of Leviticus we read, “All cheilev belongs to the L‑rd.”1 In a kosher animal there are certain fatty deposits, referred to as cheilev, that we may not eat. During During Temple times, these fats were burned on the altarTemple times, these fats were burned on the altar in the Beit Hamikdash.

The cheilev was considered the most delicious part of the animal, and rather than indulge our own desires, we offered it to the Creator.

The Rebbe suggests that the mitzvah of surrendering the cheilev to G‑d is a lesson in how to live. Putting on weight is generally a sign that one has been indulging too much in the pleasures of this earth—eating fatty foods makes you fat. When we say, “All cheilev belongs to the L‑rd,” we’re declaring that true pleasure is spiritual pleasure. Studying Torah, praying, and performing mitzvahs—that’s where the real geshmak is. The more corporeal indulgences can take a back seat.

Maybe my wife is right after all. Maybe it’s time for me to stop pining for the schmaltz and gribbenes of my youth, and start pursuing a more refined form of gratification. Maybe it’s time for me to stop asking what the world can do for me, and start asking what I can do for the world. With a slimmed-down personality and a more svelte perspective on life, maybe I could bring some pleasure to my G‑d, my family and my community.