By COLlive reporter
Feh, es past nisht.
That’s the stance of Rabbi Yosef Chitrik when thinking of Chassidim spending time in the kitchen, opining about recipes and salivating over delicacies.
In a recent column in the Kfar Chabad Magazine, Rabbi Chitrik recalled a time when there was shame among chassidim to be caught eating “morozhene” (ice cream in Yiddish).
Today, writes the longtime Shliach and Dean of the Beit Chana Seminary in Tzfas, “we comfortably sit at simches and events and a waiter offers us a variety to choose from and we then publicly announce what our taavah is, what we want most.”
“We haven’t yet refined ourselves to a level of a tzadik,” he writes. “… but at least our conduct and talk should be on topics and in the manner that defines a chossid.”
Specifically, Rabbi Chitrik says that he recognizes that a husband should be a full partner in housework and assist in all that is needed and required.
He added, however, that there’s a fine line between “being involved” and “one who religiously” is involved in the kitchen and cooking “and in making decisions such as what’s going to be served for dinner.”
Responding to him was Rabbi Menachem Brod, an author and editor of the Chabad weekly pamphlet Sichat HaShavua, in an article titled “When the Mashpia cooks cholent.”
He agreed that a chossid shouldn’t be “immersed” in eating and drinking, and that ice cream “symbolizes a trivial lust, which has no benefit and no need.”
But he points out that there are homes where the kitchen is the domain of the woman, while there are homes where the husband is the one who cooks and bakes for the family.
In fact, Rabbi Brod says, “I can name known Mashpiim, who are Chassidim in heart and soul, and who are invested in learning Maamarim and lengthy davening,” and they prepare the Shabbos food.
Rabbi Brod concludes that involvement in the kitchen “has nothing to do with Chassidishkeit or levels of serving Hashem.”
He says there are men who won’t cook an egg or empty the garage, but will happily reach out for the pan of ice cream. And there are those who will ask around for a good recipe for the Yom Tov roast but their inner world is focused on Chassidus.