To Have and Have Not
Until 2003, when I learned that I have Celiac Disease, my favorite food was bread. Whether I was sitting in a restaurant, at a wedding, or a Shabbat table, my eyes were on the bread. I had no choice and in order to live I had to give up on bread. Let me tell you; there is no comparison between gluten free Matzah and a delicious Challah.
A few years later, one of my daughters found gluten free challah. Oh joy! Oh heaven! It was, unlike my gluten free foods, actually edible. You have to heat it and add some honey, but at least I had bread.
Once I had bread I immediately began to miss biscotti. My wife, a genius in too many ways to count, figured out how to make gluten free biscotti that are actually better than the biscotti you fortunate people can eat at will.
So, having biscotti, I began to miss my favorite breakfast food; pancakes. Debbie, once again come to the rescue, and now I can have pancakes. One food after another took its place on the top of the food I miss list, until I dared to fantasize about having a real steak sandwich. She did it again! I recall Rav Yisrael Salanter saying that it is possible to consume your entire portion in the World to Come in a piece of kugel, and, having enjoyed that meal so much, wonder if that steak sandwich was my kugel of the World to Come. I can now officially announce the newest food to top the list: A huge, heated, soft pretzel. (Can someone please mention this to Debbie?)
Why is it that I immediately focus on the next food I most miss rather than simply enjoying all the new and improved gluten free products? Am I really one of those people who focus more on what I do not have rather than what I do? I think not.
I love the sense of looking forward and overcoming a limitation. I thrill at my wife’s creativity (and cooking/baking skills) and her ability to constant challenge me with the very real fact that limitations, although acknowledged, are a meant to be overcome. My dream pretzel is not about the pretzel, but is my core belief that it is just another “have not,” to become a “Have.”
Each Shabbat I reflect on all the ideas I wanted to share on this blog but did not because of time limitations. I don’t review all the thoughts that were “Have nots,” in order to beat myself up, but to remember that they will only remain “Have nots,” if I accept them as such. I, become a “Have” when I recall that each “Have not,” is a challenge to be overcome.
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