Today's generation asks what in the world you do with chicken feet? That's Jewish soul food; in the old days, our people were so poor that they utilized every last ounce of a chicken, including its feet. That brings me to the subject of Pcha.
In case you don't know what pcha is, it's the Ukrainian-Yiddish word for jellied chicken feet, a traditional Ashkenazi-Jewish delicacy that evokes extreme reactions – it makes the eyes of Chassidim roll in delight, or it makes the faces of many others turn green in revulsion. My father, may he rest in peace, was a Ukrainian Jew. His idea of heaven on earth was a plateful of pcha, a chunk of Pumpernickel and a glass of Smirnoff. I'm sure that my Pop has since discovered better things in the upper realm, but that's a different story…
Anyway, be forewarned. Pcha is known in Israeli Yiddish as galler and in Hebrew as regel krusha. If you happen to frequent a Jewish soul-food restaurant in Israel, you'll know what (not) to order. And in case you're curious, I make a knock-your-socks-off pcha, loaded with garlic...
You must understand one vital technical fact in order to appreciate the story I'm about to tell you: pcha is a highly perishable gel that must be refrigerated. At warm temperatures, it reverts to a soupy and sticky liquid.
Now that you're an expert on gelled chicken feet, here's a true story you'll never forget about the previous Tollner Rebbe from Bayit V'gan in Jerusalem, Rabbi Yochanan Twersky of saintly and blessed memory, told to me by a close friend who witnessed it first-hand...
This week's Torah portion is Behar. Read about it in On Your Own Two Feet.
Today is Memorial Day for Israel's fallen soldiers of blessed memory. See my tribute to Israel's secret-service martyrs in Ode to the Anonymous Hero.
Also featured this week:
Rav Shalom Arush - Let Them Be Kids
Dr. Zev Ballen - The Year of the Yarmulka
Racheli Reckles - Is He the One?
Rivka Levy - Breslever of Faker?
Rabbi Dovid Charlop - Growing in Simcha
Menachem Zakkai - The Purest Emuna
Bright Beams blessings for a beautiful week!