I was a strict vegetarian for years. You know, the crazy kind of vegetarian that only religious Jews can be.
"What, that chicken touched this potato? Of course, I cannot eat the potato!"
Well, all that changed when I was pregnant...
In the middle of my first pregnancy, Moshe and I were visiting friends for Shabbat. They served a very simple lunch, including a platter of Israeli cold cuts.
Now, I love deli meat (especially corned beef and pastrami). But, let's face it, the deli meat in Israel is lousy.
The quality of the meat did not deter me. I sat at the table and salivated. I felt as if the earth was about to open up and swallow me (note the Korach connection to last week's parsha) and the only thing that could save me was to eat the cold cuts.
But I was a vegetarian!!
Now, I was not really a fanatical vegetarian. I did not believe that meat eaters were morally inferior. I simply believed that refraining from killing animals was a preferable way to live. I always claimed that if I craved meat, it would be a sign that my body needed the meat.
For years, eating meat was a non-issue.
Then, there I was, craving deli meats.
For an hour, I asked Moshe what I should do. I just wanted him to tell me: "It is okay for you to eat the meat."
God bless my husband, he never tells me what to do.
Always sensitive, he tells me, instead: "It is your choice. Whatever you decide is okay."
NOT THE SAME!!
For an hour (an hour!), I suffered.
Then, I succumbed.
I swore my husband and my friends to secrecy; then I gobbled up the entire plate of cold cuts!
I thought my cravings for chicken would go away after I gave birth, but they did not. Apparently, nursing had the same physical/nutritional effect on my body as being pregnant. I needed meat.
Finally, I decided. If I could face my vegan friend and admit that I was no longer vegetarian, I could cross over to "the dark side."
My friend, who is an ideological vegan, was so supportive. I will forever be grateful to her for not judging me.
It took years for the cravings to end.
It took chemo to make chicken unappealing.
I am not likely to become vegetarian again. I still like good deli and a good all-beef hot dog! But I would rather drink a glass of milk than have a piece of chicken.
Meanwhile, it is part of our family lore, that it is my eldest daughter's fault that I am no longer vegetarian.
All the above is to explain why I was so touched when my eldest daughter called me over yesterday, to "come watch this (episode of Friends), it is all about us!"
The B-plot of the episode is about Phoebe, a strict vegetarian, who is pregnant and.... craves meat.
We watched together and just laughed!!
Please daven (or send happy, healing thoughts) for RivkA bat Teirtzel.
With love and optimism,