Harry Ben-Zvi, the founder and owner of something called The Glazed Donut Bistro, had a problem. He opened a new donut shop, and as a strongly-identified Jew, he wanted to post a mezuzah, the ritual amulet marking the entrance to a Jewish home or business, on his door.
The problem was … well, I should let him explain, in an email he sent me a couple of weeks ago.
And yes, that really is a glazed donut bacon sandwich:
Being a proud yet fairly secular Jewish man opening up an artisan donut shop, I found myself facing a religious dilemma.
I wanted to hang a big, beautiful Mezuzah on the front door so everyone would know who owned this great looking shop.
Earning some extra points with the man upstairs couldn't hurt the new venture either.
Problem being, the donut shop is not Kosher…not even close.
Could I still have my Mezuzah? Yes
Should I still have my Mezuzah? On the front door?
As the Maimonides has long since passed to answer this most monumental of questions, I asked my old Rabbi.
The big hearted orthodox Rabbi asked about the shop being open on the Sabbath.
I replied; “This location, these rents, not much choice”
The Rabbi understood.
Ever the faithful solider, the Rabbi moved on to the menu.
“Are the donuts kosher?” asked the Rabbi.
I said no.
“You know, making donuts kosher is easy” the Rabbi followed up .
I smiled and told him; “Not these donuts”.
“What do you mean” asked the Rabbi.
I pointed to a picture of our Maple Bacon Glazed Donut and explained
(I didn't have the heart to mention our Glazed Pulled Pork Donut Sliders).
“So Rabbi, what's the call? Can I put up my Mezuzah on the front door?”
The Rabbi contemplated and thoughtfully replied:
The mitzvah of hanging a Mezuzah on the front door would be nullified the moment a Jewish patron unwittingly eats treif.
The compromise; Forgo the Mezuzah on the front door and hang a Mezuzah on the office door.
So what is a Jew to do?
It's a free country and I could hang my Mezuzah on the front door…or I could split the baby (or in this case, the donut) in half and temper my Jewish pride with some Judaic humility.
The Mezuzah will go up on my office door, and I will sell maple bacon glazed donuts and pulled pork sliders on the Sabbath.
As I am a G-d fearing man, I hope the big guy upstairs understands.