Friday, January 9, 2009

rude things that people do at shabbos meals

this is another that comes from the FrumSatire suggestion box.

I like to think of myself as somewhat of a Jewish Martha Stewart. But maybe less monotone, a little friendlier, and definitely without a criminal record. (I'll take the TV show, books and multiple sprawling estates though)

When it comes to table settings and manners, I like to think that I know it all. For one of my childhood birthdays, I asked my mother for this 900-page reference book on Etiquette, which I've read more than a few times cover to cover.

My mother isn't really the type to care where the fork goes or how you hold your spoon (well, maybe a little), so I'm not exactly sure where this 'anal' side of me comes from.

Mind you, I'm really only Martha-esque in my home... For some reason I never really notice other people's manners - only my families'!

But, I will admit that I do have a few pet peeves that some guests do when they come over for shabbos meals. (But PLEEEASE, if you do come over - do NOT feel uncomfortable!) So here they are:

1) When someone does not use the serving utensils.
They are there for a reason! Do not stick your fork/spoon/knife into a salad bowl - thereby contaminating the salad!

2) When the aforesaid serving utensils touch someone's plate.
You know this happens because you hear the clink clink sound of silverware touching china. Again - germs are probably being transferred!

3) When someone uses a piece of bread, their fork, or even (gasp) their finger to remove food from a serving utensil.
I've seen all three with my very eyes - and this is probably one of THE worst offences someone can do at my table. You know the rest of that dish is going straight in the garbage right after.

4) When someone breaks the 'pass' around.
This is when you've kindly asked your guests to pass around a dish, but one guest decides to break the chain and plunk the dish right in front of himself (I'm saying HIMself, because women are almost never guilty of any of these offences).

I'm still considering whether I should add the 'kiddush wine-share' offence. This is when a kiddush-maker drinks from the kiddush cup before sharing the wine with everyone. My father doesn't do this (Baruch Hashem!), but I've been to many Shabbos tables where this occurs. Sometimes I drink anyhow (alcohol kills bacteria right?)... Sometimes I get grossed out and don't... Thoughts?


frumskeptic said...

I hate the wine thing!! I realllly hate it.

there are some people I'm close enough to drink after them, and I don't care, but other people...I'd just prefer they not consider me so close.

katrina said...

Funny post, MM! I am totally anal about this sort of thing, too. I don't drink wine from a cup from which someone else has drunk. But, at most of the Shabbat meals I go to (and the ones I host), everyone takes his or her own wine before kiddush, so it's not a problem.

I also hate the breaking down of the passing. I feel like the passing referee at practically every meal I go to.

A HUGE pet peeve of mine when I am over at someone else's house is when someone is setting the table, and she TOUCHES THE RIM OF MY GLASS. Why would anyone do that? I have to put my lips there. There is the whole rest of the glass to touch.

I should probably stop complaining and just cook more often so that I can set more of the rules. But would I still be Jewish if I stopped complaining?

Moshe said...

There's A LOT more germs on your cell than in anything you mentioned. I take stuff with my hands or my fork, I eat with my hands, I steal food from friends' plates and I growl and bark too ;-)

My pet peeve is when I have sushi and people start taking it with forks or even worse, start unrolling it. And I do tell them off.
Also irks me a little when people refuse to eat some of the food without even trying it. You 2 know who you are. :-P

Child Ish Behavior said...

The reason for the drinking before passing to people is, and I don't know if I'm right but, so as not to have a Hefsek between the Brocha and the drinking. I too would not drink if the person did that either.

Schvach said...

I'm 'retrosexual' and, therefore, guilty of the all the sins you've mentioned. I'm an absolutely abominable dinner guest, but oh so comfortable with it.

G6 said...

Great post.
When my husband makes kiddush, he pours from his kiddush cup into his GLASS to drink from and then puts the rest of the cup into a little silver pitcher for decanting into individual little cups... (see my blog photos for details).
I am full with you on all your gripes.
Glad to see that there are some people who still have these sensibilities intact.

Maidel said...

notice how the men here are the ones who admit to these offences?

the reason for table etiquette?
Consideration for others!

Mikeinmidwood said...

I hate it when people pick their nose at a shabbos table, or anytime at all. Youd be suprised how many do.

nameless, faceless said...

Brilliant! That alcohol-germ-killing-situation is exactly what I was taught on my first transatlantic flight. Of course I was six, but that's besides the point - the rule is anytime you need to eat a meal questionable in origin, you down at least two glasses of liquor.

Please believe me, this served me well at *every single* meal eaten with my ex-fiance's father, as he touched everything everything everything with his hands.


Moshe said...

Don't forget, it has to be at least 80 proof or it don't work.

Bricktop said...

You are really OCD!

Maidel said...

really? ocd?
ask yo momma how she feel about your table manners...

Bricktop said...

Actually I'm of the yekkish persuasion so pretty clear about table manners myself....much the annoyance of my husband (chasidish, so you can imagine) and children. But throwing out a plate or serving piece because someone touched it at the table with their hands? That's crazy. Love the blog, btw.

Moshe said...

So what's the proper way, according to you, to cut hallah?

Anonymous said...

oh your post makes me wonder who is scarier - germs or hamas terrorists.. actually our bodies are designed in such a way, that they can handle germs pretty well. a little bit of germs strengthen immune system.. it does not mean that serving utensils should not be used, but the throwing away part.. think again about hungry children in israel

Tommy said...

bricktop - for your personal knowledge and future reference - a 'dish' in this case refers not to the china, but to the food served on it...

Crawling Axe said...

The wine thing derives from a minhog and possibly Halacha.

Make your own kiddush (or have your husband/father/brother/son/nephew/grandson/adopted son/grandfather make it for himself and you).

Everything else makes sense. I hate when people suddenly decide that the whole dish of olive-dip (or at least seven chickens on a ten-chicken plate) is for them and their buddies. Not because I care about the dish, but because grubkeit disgusts me.

chanie said...

The kiddush wine doesn't bother me...