I saw it. I bought it. I ate it after Pesach and I loved it. I’d dreamed of it for years and it didn’t disappoint. A chocolate Easter bunny with a hekhsher is exactly the sort of thing that led my family out of Europe: full participation in general society without any sacrifice of Jewish integrity.

A hekhsher (plural, hekhsheyrim) indicates that something is kosher; it’s a warrant that validates the consumption or use of a particular product by letting the consumer know that at least one rabbi has examined the raw materials and manufacturing processes and deemed them to be in accordance with the laws of Moses and Israel. Idiomatically, hekhsher can also mean “vindication, validation, approval” of almost any sort; if Good Housekeeping were to publish in Yiddish, its famous Seal would become “The Good Housekeeping Hekhsher,” with neither hekhsher nor seal being in any way diminished.

Never forget, though, that the vast number of hekhsheyrim currently in existence attests to the fact that kashrus is a little like beauty–it’s in the eye of the person who looks but won’t touch: the more hekhsheyrim you don’t accept, the more virtuous you know yourself to be.

If you want to bring food to orthodox friends, for God’s sake phone first and find out what they’ll eat. Ask what butcher or baker they shop at and be sure not to go anywhere else; failure to do so could earn your well-meant present a discreet trip to the garbage.

This article originally appeared in The Jewish Week. Below are some items for sale from eBay for those of you with an interest in Yiddish.

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