Kashering your house often involves saying “goodbye” to things. So Long to (pork) sausage. Cheerio to cheeseburgers. sayonara to shrimp. Toodeloo to… well, you get the idea.
But kashrut doesn’t stop at the food itself. It also includes the items you cook food with and serve that food on. The less porous the substance, the more “resistant” (from a kosher perspective) it is. Stainless steel is good. Glass is better. Plastic is only so-so. And at the bottom of the pile, so to speak, are items made from ceramics.
As we worked our way through our kitchen with Rabbi SpiceRock, making note of things that couldn’t be kashered (All the teflon had to go, as did a host of Tupperware), we came to a small collection of serving pieces – platters, trays and bowls that we had inherited from a beloved aunt. All of them were not kosher, nor could they BE kashered – at least according to the regular means (boiling, baking or blowtorching).
Our distress was visible, and the Rabbi picked up on it right away.
“You use these a lot?” he asked.
“Well, not every day.” replied Pandora. “But enough. And we can’t just get rid of them. I guess we could put them up on a shelf or something.”
“Could you get by without them for a year?” the Rabbi asked.
At the heart of his question was a process (described here) where you leave a ceramic item unused for 12 months. As long as the item is not falling apart (ie: as long as it’s not cracked, or that the glaze isn’t flaking off, etc) then after one year it is considered kosher.
We’ve moved before – many times actually – so the process of boxing up a part of our life is not new to us. But I have to admit this felt different, almost like loading up a time capsule before sealing it away. I’m tempted to have the kids write letters and pictures to themselves, to be read a year from now, describing our life and feelings at the start of this leg in our Jewish Journey; wondering how our eyes will read it when we’ve had 12 months of kosher living under our belts.
Meanwhile, a piece of our heart sits bubble-wrapped and boxed in a corner of the basement, waiting.