December 1, 2004 | Issue 16

Derech Pesoyim Launches Campaign to End Fleishig Fear

TEL AVIV, ISRAEL — [] Inspired by Dor Yeshorim's highly-praised campaign to stamp out Tay Sachs, the organization Derech Pesoyim has announced the rollout of the first premarital test for the dreaded Fleishig Fear gene. Fleishig Fear is the unreasoning dread brought on by the desire to eat meat, which, should it be satisfied, eclipses the possibility of cheesecake or coffee for six hours.

The ground-breaking research that found the gene responsible for the phobia depended on the heralded discovery of the J chromosome. The recently detected Jew-specific chromosome has been a gold mine for researchers looking for alleles unique to the Jewish gene pool. Dr. Reuven Smilowitz, discoverer of the Fleishig Fear gene said, "We're hoping to get our hands on Drs. Schneier and Friedman's much-discussed "matching opinions" Jews to see if the J chromosome is implicated." The scientists have also traced the history of the Fleishig Fear gene, noting how the Yekke genome has evolved the "3-hour" defense.

Symptoms of Fleishig Fear include:

  • Having a conspicuously high, unobtainable glatt shechita standard
  • Turning down those delicious mini-franks at a smorgasbord
  • Mysteriously disappearing from shul right before a big kiddush
  • Sneaking swigs of non-dairy creamer when no one is looking
  • Ordering the fish (!) at a chasana
Sufferers of the ghastly ailment often live in shame, hiding their terrible secret. The literature on the debilitating condition is rife with horror stories of people crippled by extreme manifestations. "I was reduced to lying to my family that I was a vegetarian. I don't know if I'll ever be able to regain their respect," said one Jane Doe. A John Doe said, "Even at bedtime, I can't bear to eat fleishigs. What if I wake up in middle of the night with a craving for ice cream? It could happen!" Another described his coping mechanisms, "I took to hiding M&Ms around the house. In case of a fleishig emergency, I'd pop one in my mouth and say, 'Whoops, sorry, I'm milchig.' *sob*"

There is no known cure for Fleishig Fear, but there has been some limited success with counseling. Desperate victims have been known to try homeopathy, megadose vitamins and chiropractic tripe; i.e. the usual suspects of junk science that plague the frum health community. Oddly enough, many people recommend chicken soup due to its reputation as a panacea, totally missing the point.

Reactions to Derech Pesoyim's announcement have been mixed. One Jew I spoke to was concerned about where it would lead. He said, "Fleishig Fear is just the beginning of a slippery slope. Soon, they'll be testing for Bentching Fear (an aversion to washing). From there, who knows? Asher Yatzar Fear?" Another responded, "I don't know, but I'm going to draw the line at testing for the big nose gene."

Doubts about Derech Pesoyim's chances for success linger. Dor Yeshorim was successful because rabbis insisted on it, even refusing to be mesader kedushin without the couple being tested. As for Derech Pesoyim's chances at attaining such levels of support, they're looking dim. The rabbis contacted about the issue by scoffed at such trivial use of their authority. Said the always quotable Chumradika Rav, "We're far too busy with microscopic bugs in the water and other such picayune minutiae to bother with such banalities."

Another fly in the potential ointment is the secrecy behind Derech Pesoyim's origins. In a Knish first, the editors ponied up money for some first-class investigative reporting. Late at night, this intrepid reporter did some snooping at an undisclosed location. Due to my extraordinary sacrifice, I can now break the story: the group's shadowy sponsors are the local kosher steakhouses. The top-secret files obtained indicate that the growing Fleishig Fear epidemic is hurting their business worse than the Atkins fad hurt bakeries.

Of course, sleuthing for the truth is not without risks. As I was leaving, I was jumped by a rent-a-shomer brandishing a huge salami sausage. It wasn't clear if he meant to beat me with it or force-feed it to me, but I didn't wait around to find out. After all, I might like a hot chocolate after all that skulking about in the chilly night.


Pencil Mordy Ovits did standup once. They laughed at him. They all laughed at him. You can email your laughter to him at


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