Monday, 23 July 2007

Theology and social order

The dietary laws of kashrut are designed to differentiate and distance the observant person from the rest of the world. When followed precisely, as I learned growing up, they accomplish exactly that. Every bite requires categorization into permitted and prohibited, milk or meat. To follow these laws, to analyze each ingredient in each food that comes into your purview, is to construct the world in terms of the rules borne by those who keep kosher. The category of the unkosher comes unconsciously to apply not only to foods that fall outside the rules but also to the people who eat that food — which is to say, almost everyone in the world, whether Jewish or not. You cannot easily break bread with them, but that is not all. You cannot, in a deeper sense, participate with them in the common human activity of restoring the body through food.
Noah Feldman, in this sometimes AYM GRAMD sometimes beautiful essay reminds me of an easier option. Just call the others non-brahmins.

1 comment:

Kokki_Jacobus said...

Who is Golu? Your bastard child with the other woman? Is Golu a he/she/it...?