Someone asked me to help him find gluten free Matzah for Pesach. I told him where I bought mine and thought that the matter was settled. I bumped into him on Thursday night and he told me that he did not believe that the Matzah I recommended were actually gluten free.
He is an exceptionally bright fellow, and rather than even consider his opinion, I chuckled, and forgot about it. I wish that I had paid better attention.
I opened a box of gluten free Matzah for Shabbat because I ran out of the Challah. I have been eating this Matzah for more than seven years and didn’t bother to read the small writing on the box. I made my Ha’motzi and ate a piece, and spent the next 48 hours violently and painfully ill.
I checked the box and read the small writing on the package and found, “Contains gluten.” I wish that I had paid better attention!
Had someone warned me about potential problems with Kashrut, I would have read every single word on the box with a magnifying glass. However, with gluten, which can be for me a life and death issue, I was willing to just glance at the box and not pay attention. A lifetime of training in caring for Kashrut is more powerful than horrible physical experiences warning me of the dangers of gluten. All that practice works. It makes a difference. I think I’ll stop laughing at the multiple Hashgachot printed on kosher foods. They serve a practical purpose.
Unfortunately, I did not apply the lessons of Kashrut to my eating in general. Mitzvot are meant to train us for every aspect of life. They are not meant only for their immediate context. I should have used my “Kosher” training for my gluten free diet. The fact that I did not is more painful than the 48 hours of suffering.
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