Bacon Temptations


Hi Rabbi, is it wrong for me to want to eat a bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich? Thanks



  1. The first time I read the Dr. Seuss book Green Eggs and Ham to one of my children, she asked me, “What is ham?” (For some reason, her child’s mind was not bothered by green eggs!) I answered that ham is the meat of a pig. Her response was, “Ugh, yuck!” At this point I told her that ham probably tastes really good and that billions of people eat it all over the world. I explained that the reason we as Jews do not eat it is not due to its “bad” taste but because God told us not to eat it.

    Earlier in my life, I will never forget playing as a young child with our Gentile next-door neighbors, Catholic refugees from Castro’s Cuba that my US government family helped escape from danger and resettle next door. One day I was sitting in their kitchen, while waiting for the children to come out to play waffle ball in our cul de sac. The mother was cooking and the smell of fried meat was delicious in the kitchen’s air. “Have a bit to eat before you play,” she told me. “But I’m Jewish and my mother told me we don’t eat bacon.” “I know that, but just have a little bite. It’s really good and I promise not to tell your mother.” I still am not sure how I politely repeatedly refused to give in to the requests/demands of my friendly and generous neighbor.

    The Torah explains that Jews refrain from eating pork or meat and milk mixtures not because they find such dishes offensive or unpalatable, but because God said not to partake in such foods. Our Sages teach that a Jew should think, “Pork probably tastes excellent and I want to eat it, but God has forbidden me to partake of it.”

    We could condition our children to be repelled by ham (yuck, gross!) but then we would merely be raising kosher robots or mitzvah machines. This is far from the Torah ideal, which is to be thinking humans who make decisions about what to do or not based on moral commitments, not gut feeling. The commandments are designed to develop people’s ability to serve God consciously, encouraging us not rely on instinct, but to exercise our power of free will.

    Best wishes from the Team