I will never forget that day.
We were living in Lakewood back then (this is before it became ultra-Orthodox), and I was five years old and my uncle Chaim was visiting.
This is a time in my life I remember with great fondness. I loved living there. I loved feeding the birds with my father on the back stoop. I loved going to dance class in my blue leotard with glitter and feathers. I loved having a birthday party with all my friends there.
I loved learning to ride a bike with my Zayde. I remember turning around to look back at him, in his Eastern European outfit, brown hat, brown vest, white shirt with short sleeves and a collar, and suit pants.
"Let go, Dossy, let go!"
And I loved, loved, loved, the salty seaside air.
Anyway, that day someone was frantic.
"We have to get to McDonald's -- RIGHT AWAY!"
"We do? Okay," I said, not really knowing what the emergency was.
Quickly I ran outside to the car.
We sped off so fast the car tires were smoking.
And we pulled into McDonald's and got lots of fish sandwiches, complete with those little red packs of french fries, the ones that taste so incredibly, incredibly good.
For many years I did not know what the emergency had been.
I only knew that it was urgent.
Until finally, one day, I realized that someone simply wanted a McDonald's fish sandwich and french fries.
That, and that alone, was the emergency!
It's funny because the desire for McDonald's seems like a kind of litmus test of Orthodox observance.
You're not supposed to admit just how bad you would love to sink your teeth into the ultimate trafe-itude -- you know -- a big and gloppy cheeseburger.
As I recall, we had so many of those litmus tests way back when.
Would you eat Doritos?
Fast forward and the discussion became about lobster.
"It looks good to me," I said once.
"Oh, ewwww, disgusting!" was the reply. "I would NEVER ever eat that, even if it was kosher!"
You see how all this works?
It's not enough to just be honest and keep the halacha -- we don't eat it even though it seems good -- you actually have to pretend that you don't want to sin in the first place!
Listen, folks, that is a very high bar somebody set.
It has no basis in anything the Torah says.
And do you know what?
There is no human being who does not, at their core, have a McDonald's emergency every now and again.
Copyright 2017 by Dr. Dannielle (Dossy) Blumenthal. All opinions are Dr. Blumenthal's own. This post is hereby released into the public domain. Creative Commons image via Pixabay.