Monday, December 28, 2009

Black and White Cookies Singled Out by Orthodox Union as Forbidden to Fast-Exempt Persons

Yesterday's fast of the Tenth Day of Tevet (Assara b'Tevet) was especially difficult for Jews who were exempted from fasting because they were ill, but not seriously, and also for pregnant women, and children.  On its web site explaining the laws of the fast day, the Orthodox Union (OU) singled out black and white cookies as a purely pleasurable form of consumption, which even those who have an exemption should not eat on that day, either in public or in private.  As the article states,  

One who is in the category of being ill-even-without-danger, or who is a pregnant or nursing woman, for whom fasting might be difficult, and all children, are exempt from fasting.  All those who are exempt from fasting should not, in any case, eat publicly or indulge in purely pleasurable forms of consumption (such as eating black-'n-whites), but should eat only that which is necessary for good nutrition.

This ruling opens up a new chapter in food banning, and boldly goes where no one has gone before.  The question now is, how many grams of protein and dietary fiber would qualify a cookie as necessary for good nutrition?  Or is it the ratio of one of these nutrients to sugar or carbohydrates that makes it purely pleasurable?  What about chocolate chip cookies, considered a necessity to many?

The ban on black and white cookies is sure to be reason itself to declare the day a fast day for the 1,761 members of the Facebook Black and White Cookie Fan Club, whether or not they know that the reason for fasting on this day is the start of the siege of Jerusalem by the armies of Nebuchadnezzar in 588 B.C.E., leading to the destruction of the Beit Hamikdash (The Second Temple).

Before banning the black and white cookie, perhaps the rabbinic authorities should have considered its value over and above nutrition, as explained by Reb Jerry Seinfeld in this video:

(A tip of the kippah to Richard Latkin for calling the article to our attention.)

1 comment:

  1. Au contraire -- black-and-white food should in fact be the only food permissible to Torah-true Jews, just as with attire, so as to reflect their philosophy of life. -- Dan