I was distracted planning Passover catering (which we will blog about—watch this space!), I nearly forgot that Valentine’s Day falls on Shabbos this week.
Personally, I believe Valentine’s Day should be for kids, but it’s very possible that your significant other feels otherwise. I believe in telling one’s beloved how much he or she is treasured several times a week, in deeds if not in words. So if you’re so moved, take your kosher valentine out for dinner or dessert after sundown and shower with love.
Delicious Kosher Desserts Do Exist!
Of course you don’t need a special reason to indulge in a little sweet now and then. Life is sweet (or should be) and if it isn’t, I fully believe we owe it to ourselves to find ways to sweeten it. Of course I mean this literally and figuratively.
We were recently named one of Toronto’s best kosher caterers by blogTo! I’m sure this is partly because we don’t mess around when it’s time for dessert. We get rave reviews for the Trio of Homemade Gelato Ice Cream with Fresh Fruit that come with our Standard Menu. We’ve seen people get googly-eyed over the Crème Brûle and Apple Cranberry Tart, Molten Chocolate Cake, and other special treats on the Elite Menu—which also features a Late Night Sweet Table.
Love is Kosher, Even on Valentine’s Day
But is it acceptably Jewish to note, if not outright celebrate, Valentine’s Day? After all, it’s named for a saint isn’t it? But it seems the history of this Hallmark holiday is murky and perhaps not so clearly-cut nonsecular. I wrote about the issue of celebrating potentially Gentile customs a few months back when I discussed celebrating the Jewish and secular New Years and applied those criteria to Valentine’s Day:
1. Does it require idol worship?
This can be tricky for besotted teenagers but in general, this kind of “idolatry” is entirely voluntary and can end on a whim. So Valentine’s Day passes this test.
2. Does it require adopting Gentile customs?
I don’t think so, and neither does Rabbi Mike Uram, writing for MyJewishLearning.com. No one really knows how Valentine’s Day came to be associated with a saint who may not have existed. It’s possible that the saint is based on legends about several early Christians. Some scholars think Chaucer created him. I note that February 14 is a minor feast day for Anglicans and Lutherans; the Eastern Orthodox Church notes St. Valentine in July.
3. Does it add to mitzvoth?
This is where it’s tricky. I guess you could say Yes if you give a nice card or treat to someone who feels left out of all the lovey-dovey goings on—or spare them any commentary at all. There have been times I’ve felt it got out of hand. But, it is good for the restaurant business, which is very important in Toronto.
The main idea is to consider if the holiday in question requires you to do things you believe are wrong. There’s certainly nothing wrong with going out of your way to express your love for someone, unless it amounts to unwanted attention.
A Kosher Sweet for Your Sweetie!
Many rabbis, says Rabbi Uram, tell their congregations that’s it’s OK to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Here’s a ridiculously easy recipe from Feastie.com you can whip up for your very own kosher valentine treat.