Hilkhot Oreo

		Although many significant events have shaped 5758 so far (U.S.
	troops in Bosnia, an erratic stock market, septuplets in Iowa, in-
	creasing tension the Middle East) certainly none can compare to the
	really big story this year, a genuine blockbuster that will change
	the lives of American Jews dramatically and cataclysmically.  Unless
	we merit the coming of Mashiach, 5758 will go down in history as The
	Year That Oreos Became Kosher.  Now that Nabisco has made the commit-
	ment to providing Jews (and the world at large) with kosher Oreos,
	we Jews have a responsibility to consider the halachic implications
	of this remarkable coup.  I am not referring to the reliability of
	rabbinical hashgacha within Nabisco's factories, chas v'shalom.

	  	Rather, my concern is income-based (how it's ingested) and 
	outcome- based (digested).  Halacha covers even the most picayune 
	details of a Jew's everyday life. The reliance on seder, a certain 
	order as part of the process, is integral to implementation.  For 
	example, the way we put on our shoes and tie them:  we first put on 
	the right shoe, then the left shoe, then we tie the left shoe and 
	finally tie the right shoe.  The reasons behind these halachos are 
	beyond the ken of the average Jew.  It may be best left to kabbalists 
	to divine their significance.  Nevertheless, we take this shoe-fitting 
	decree seriously, a case of na'al v'nishma.

   		This concept of seder is no different for kabbalistic 
	Oreo-eating.  Which should come first?  A straightforward bite into 
	the whole cookie?  Should one first break apart the two sandwich halves 
	and concentrate on the creme?  One can postulate that if white 
	represents purity and goodness, and black evil and darkness, then 
	perhaps one should eat the white first, as an example of the yetzer 
	hatov triumphing over the yetzer hora?  Or should one save the best 
	for last, so to speak, by first destroying, via consumptive powers, 
	the Darkness (the cookie part) and be left only with Light (the creme)?  
	Or perhaps, this sort of binary weltanschauung is not healthy at all 
	it may be preferable to take the centrist position and bite into the 
	intact cookie, representing the real-world mix of good and bad, light 
	and dark, moderation versus extremism.

   		A fresh insight and hint may be garnered when analyzing the 
	Hebrew form of Oreos, Ori-oz (aleph-vav-resh-yud-ayin-zayin), translated 
	as "my light is the source of strength."  Assuming that the "s" in Oreos
	takes on the Ashkenazic pronounciation, it may also be interpreted
	Ori-os, or my light shall be a sign.  Thus the Hebrew appears to favor
	the creme-first eating process, although it's advisable to check with
	your local rabbi for a p'sak.  And then, of course, comes the question
	of which blessings to say.  'Borei minay mezonos' seems the obvious
	choice, unless one first chooses to excise and consume the white creme 
	center (in which case, a shehakol would be the way to go, followed by a 
	'mezonos' when the cookie part is tasted.)

   		Or, since the creme is subjectively the mehudar, perhaps a
	'shehakol' is sufficient for both creme and cookie, provided that the 
	creme is eaten first?   And if one has a glass of milk with one's Oreo, 
	does the 'shehakol' that one first said over the Oreo's creme center 
	suffice?  Clearly the introduction of Oreos and all the shaylos it 
	presents allows us the opportunity to triumph over lust, by exercising 
	control over the Oreo, versus the Oreo having control over us.  
	Cooperation between Nabisco and the Orthodox Union has given Jews the 
	opportunity to take the everyday act of noshing on kosher Oreos, and 
	raise it to a whole new level of holiness.

   		We see that Oreos enrich our bodies with a perfect blend of 
	ruchniyus and gashmiyus, the transitory (a taste of Heaven) and the 
	permanent (a waistline that holds no secrets).

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