Rebbe Nachman teaches that true wisdom is when a person understands that really, they don’t know anything at all.

Baruch Hashem, I think more and more of us are finally starting to approach this lofty level.

I know I certainly am!

I have this feeling at the moment that the more I’m trying to clarify what is actually going on, the murkier it’s all getting.

When this happens, it’s usually a sign that at least for now, I need to stop, take a breather, and wait for Hashem to give me a nudge to start moving again – if that’s what He really wants.

I am still trying to track down the specific source for Breslovers not eating Turkey, it could well be an oral tradition, and not something that was ever written down.

If and when I get the information, I will be sure to share it here.


In the meantime, here’s the comment I wrote to Ruth on the franken-chickens  issue, which I think is useful to actually post up here, prominently:

Just to be clear, there ARE lenient opinions on what’s required to make a fowl kosher.

And the more I look into this, the more I’m seeing it’s a huge, ginormous mess, and there are no quick fixes here.

Maybe the lesson to learn at the end of all this will simply be to accept our level of kashrut is not ‘super-duper’, even if we’re exclusively eating badatz etc.

Maybe, the humility of knowing we simply can’t do this so ‘properly’ these days is part of what’s going on here… I really don’t know.

The last thing that needs to happen is for there to be another reason to look down our noses at other Jews just because ‘they still eat chicken’….

I’m just trying to feel out the information here. But in terms of what I myself do about it, let alone what anyone else does about it – I have no idea.

And when I get to that point in the process, I will probably have to ask a shaila of a Rav I trust to give me the answer God wants me to have. And that’s true of all us, probably.

So, there are no plans to ‘outlaw’ eggs, or even, chickens, on the blog. I’m just sharing info here, and then each person will have to take it back to their hitbodedut, and their own personal Rav, if they want more guidance on tachlis what to do.


On Shabbat, I was eyeing my chicken suspiciously, wondering if I’m doing some massive aveira now by eating it and serving it…

And then I remembered Rabbenu’s story of the tainted grain, and how the moral of that story is that there is no escaping the madness, but the trick is to at least just know that I’m mad…. and so is everyone else.

And then, I remembered that being super-duper-machmir usually comes from a very bad place, spiritually.

That place of gaavah, and of thinking that I’m better than everyone else, and so much more super-duper-frum than everyone else.

As always, there is such a narrow bridge to tread here, between being lazy and apathetic about things that really ARE vitally important, including keeping kosher, and going to the other extreme of making yiddishkeit into such an onerous burden that no-one can stand up in it.

Both approaches are wrong.

And at the end of the day, the rabbis make our reality.

And if the rabbis, at least for now, are saying ‘all the chicken you eat is kosher’ – that actually IS the reality.

That’s how Hashem created the world, that the Rabbis get to decide what is kosher, and what isn’t, tachlis.


Sure, I’m yearning for a cleaner, purer, more ‘straight’ world.

I think so many of us are.

But right now, the only chicken available is tainted chicken, and that’s also how Hashem wants it.

I can’t dodge the tainted chicken, I can only know that the world – and yours truly – is totally bonkers.

But there is something else I can do in the meantime, and that’s work on my humility and judgment of others.


What do I really know?


And once I really understand that, it takes my arrogance down a huge peg or two, and it also stops me from judging others so harshly, because they still eat Turkey….

Or whatever it is.



As is my way, I just cracked open ‘A bit more advice’, and this is what I got to:

(Page 249):

In the throes of the greatest success and fortune, material or spiritual – or in the maelstrom of the worst material misfortune or spiritual decline – a person has to stay focused on not becoming distant from God.

He must maintain his awareness that God is with him all the time.

We have seen many people lose interest and grow distant from God as a result of becoming prosperous.

And many become far from God as a result of becoming too smart in Torah or overly dedicated to serving God.

This is a result of their lacking balance or sincerity in the Torah study and mitzvah performance.


Whether a Jew is enjoying fame, fortune or good health, he must be very careful not to feel full of himself.

This is even more true if his success is spiritual. He must be vigilant, and not try to live on a spiritual plane for which he is unprepared.

The same is true if a person suffers hardship or tragedy, God forbid, or backslides by losing interest in serving God.

He becomes indifferent to his spiritual health, or lackadaisical in doing mitzvot. He falls and becomes flawed, God forbid.

In all these situations – whether he is going up or doing down – a Jew must remember that God is with him.


If life is going downhill in any way, God forbid, be very alert to not despair or become depressed.

Rally yourself to be in good spirits.

If your predicament is material, follow the Rebbe’s suggestion of finding the silver lining in every cloud (Likutey Moharan 1:95).

If the challenge is due to your shortcomings in living by the Torah, live the Rebbe’s advice of finding and collecting your good points, even your smallest successes (LM I:282).

These suggestions will provide you with enough encouragement to genuinely trust and hope in God.

In turn, you will maintain your faith and awareness of God in a way that befits a Jew, and avoid the road to apathy.


Not for the first time, Rabbenu’s advice is lighting the path through all this confusion.

At least for me.

I will continue to research the whole chicken thing, gently, but also with the humility that there are Rabbis – big rabbis! – that know far more than me about what is really going on here, who are still eating chicken and not telling people to stop.

And the main thing is to continue to work on my humility and emuna, to stay close to God, and to know:

I really know nothing.


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7 replies
  1. Miriam
    Miriam says:

    It gets very frustrating as I want to eat a kosher, clean and healthy diet but it is becoming increasingly hard to get back to the simple unadulterated food we once had. The vegetables and fruits, legumes and grains are not what they should be and if the animal proteins are questionable, what remains? I always do better on a high animal protein and low carb vegetable eating path but I know I’m getting altered food in some way. I daven the food should make me healthy and I shouldn’t suffer from its bad effects. We don’t know when GMO produce will enter the market without us being informed. I really want moshiach already. It’s enough! It’s hard to enjoy Shabbos properly when you’re wondering about the quality of the food you’re trying to nourish body and soul with!

  2. Simon
    Simon says:

    (With God’s help)
    Rivka, I’m again gonna ask for your advice, because you seem to have the best responses to these kinds of questions, what with your knowledge of ‘real human health’ and God and Rabbi Nachman’s teachings.
    For the past few months, especially when I’m in school, for considerable parts of the day, I have been very much struggling with feelings of despair depression (it feels humiliating using that word because now I just associate it with the same wicked interprize that manufactures “anti-depressants,” a drug to make you more happy… really?…).
    The thoughts that accompany it are also like, “The world is so repetitive and ‘there’s nothing new under the sun,’ so why be joyous or excited? All is bland!”
    What is your advice — based in what you know from Rabbi Nachman and your other wisdom — on this?
    May God assist me.
    This is just another test.

  3. Chaim
    Chaim says:

    I do think if things were as bad as they seem, Rav Berland would’ve issued a statement on eating chicken.

    I’ve seen him a few times eating chicken at other people’s places when he used to go there to talk to people, and it seems like he only eats (or used to eat) Badatz, but I think we could ask someone closer to verify.

  4. Daisy
    Daisy says:

    Rivka, thank you for your insights about humility: you are obviously right. And it’s true, I really know nothing, especially when it comes to Halachah, Gemara etc; and the rabbis know so much more than I ever will. Still, I have a concern: what about all the corrupt rabbis? We have witnessed a whole lot of them with the vax issue. So how do we know that when it comes to kashrut it is not the same? Who is being paid off, it at all? I hope I am not saying lashon hara here, just asking a question: how to differentiate betweent the real rabbis, and the rabbis with a troublesome backdoor influence?


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