I think I am a failure. No, don't worry, this isn't going to be one of those "poor me-pity me" posts. Well, I hope it isn't. I also hope it doesn't turn into one of those "be sure to tell me how much I am NOT a failure" posts. It is just a statement of fact.
I think I am a failure.
I start things and I don't finish them. Three weeks ago, I started a new article. I was so excited to write it. I felt it was going to be extremely poignant and thought provoking. But I will probably never know. I failed to finish it. I started a reading program with my oldest child. It was wonderful! We read great books and his vocabulary blossomed. Along came my daughter, and I failed to continue the reading program. I started a diet of healthy, nutritious eating. I was lured by a chocolate bar and failed to continue this dietary change. I went through a lot of sweat and determination to change my kitchen over to a kosher kitchen. As of this writing, it has not been an epic failure.
I have been doing an "okay" job of keeping the kitchen in a kosher manner, but I have made my share of mistakes. I have also run into quite a few obstacles. There are still aspects of keeping kosher that confuse me. I get the general concepts and understand the laws, but here is the thing. I have had a hard time explaining to the family how pasta, when served with a meatless sauce, is considered a "meat" dish. There has also been some confusion related to the cleaning of the dishes. It seems that the concept of keeping the meat and dairy dishes completely separate is lost on some members of the family. I have had to "re-kosher" many a dish, after pulling both meat and dairy dishes from the dishwasher. It seems I have failed to "train" the family well enough.
Are these insurmountable obstacles? No. But there is one obstacle that I have failed to convince my husband can be overcome. That is the obstacle of cost. I did an informal study over the past month and discovered that I am spending twice as much as I was by purchasing purely kosher foods. While that may not be too big of a deal when you are a family of two, I am trying to feed a family of six and include school lunches in that budget. It is becoming difficult. The other factor that must be included is one of gas. Because there are no kosher stores in my tiny little town, I have to travel to a nearby city and it costs me in both time and gas. I have failed at keeping to my grocery budget.
What is worse is the feeling that I will be failing a dear friend if my kitchen reverts back to its non-kosher ways. I don't like the idea of failing myself, but I am really disgusted by the fact that I have failed a friend. Of course, it has not been a failure...yet. I still have not made any big decisions. There is too much guilt to just "quit."
Part of me feels like I have given this kosher kitchen thing the "old college try." And part of me is convinced that I will be seen as a failure if I stop giving it the "old college try." I guess I failed to take my feelings into account.
Obviously, the Torah states that we are to keep kosher. The rules are clearly stated, but the reasons behind those rules are missing. Many, many Jews today are spiritual, and don't keep kosher. Are they less Jewish than those who do keep kosher? At the same time, there are Jews who are observant of the laws, but never attend Temple. Are they less Jewish than those who do attend Temple?
I am Jewish, and I have always been Jewish. I was raised to believe in one G-d and to follow the Torah to the best of my ability. Am I less Jewish if I choose not to keep a kosher kitchen? My mom did not keep her kitchen kosher. Does this make her less Jewish? I have always believed that I am Jewish. I try hard to be a good Jew. But, if I make this change back, am I a failure as a Jew?
Failure may not be the best option, but sometimes, it may be the only viable option. It is becoming clearer and clearer. I think I am a failure.