by not-Jameel who normally blogs elsewhere.
Every erev Shabbat, I stop by and read Jameel's 'I'm grilling for Shabbat' post. And this week....nothing. No grilled chicken for Shabbat???
Chas v'halila! So, for your Shabbat pleasure, here's some grilled chicken. (Or, considering the time, your motzie Shabbat pleasure for those in Israel.)
A friend of mine used to live pretty close to Jameel. He lived in the 'ultra-orthodox' town of Immanuel, which is primarily populated by people from Bnei Brak. Erev Shabbat in the summer, he would often grill some chicken for Shabbat. However, the building arrangement was such that a bit of smoke, and certainly if not smoke a good bit of grilled flavor, traveled to the next house up and in their window.
Now, Israel is a funny place where many activities are associated with particular segments of society. Grilling, you see, is a secular & national religious activity, it just isn't done in Bnei Brak. So this smell was particularly annoying not only because it was mouth watering, but because it 'just isn't done.'
So the neighbor complained. My friend wanted to make a nice compromise, he offered to grill some of their chicken whenever he grilled. No go, they don't do grilled. He offered to share his own food with them. They would not be mollified. And my friend, well, he wasn't going to give up grilling just because he moved to Israel.
One day he was called to the beis din (a religious court). The offense...grilling. Now, in close quarters you could push on disturbing your neighbor or something like that, but they figured they definitely had him on grilling.
So the beis din considered the issue, and indeed, they had him. They told him, "bbq is not minhag yehudi", it's just not a Jewish custom to grill. He thought for a minute, and responded, "aval, ze minhag amerikai", it's the custom of American Jews to grill. This caused a conference between the beis din members, and finally they responded, "hmm, we'll have to research that and get back to you."
Case dismissed. And with that, I've got to turn the chicken before it burns.
Wherever I am, I grill in hope of future korbonos