Op-Ed Contributor - Yom Kippur at Sea - NYTimes.com
This Op-Ed about a Jewish lobsterman brings back a wonderful memory. It was decades ago, before I kept kosher and before I refrained from eating lobster. Although many years have passed since I made this change, I still love the taste of lobster and so I continue to follow the midrash's advice: "Do not say I hate the taste of pork (read here: lobster). Say instead, 'I love the taste of it, but God's Torah forbids me from eating it.'" I had just completed an Outward Bound survival course off the coast of Maine. I promised my family and especially my grandfather that I would return home with fresh Maine lobster. We would then share the lobsters and have a grand feast upon my return. Many had worries about this trip and the wisdom of spending good money to be hungry and cold for weeks and be alone on a island for days. I packed one blank check for this important purpose. "Papa will be so happy when I return home with gigantic lobsters." I thought. Before catching my flight home I went to the local lobster store in Rockland to purchase the lobster. The store owner and lobsterman weighed the lobsters and packed the nearly twenty pounds tight in a cardboard travel case. After reassuring me several times that it was ok to travel on an airplane with live lobsters, he said, "$60." "Who do I make the check out to?" I asked. "I don't take checks," he responded. "Only cash." "But I don't have that much cash. I am sorry. I guess I can't buy them then. I was going to bring them back for my family and especially my grandpa." I turned to leave. "Let me see your check." he shouted after me. I gave him the check and he looked at it and then back at me and said, "Moskowitz that is a good Jewish name. Ok. I will take your check."