Friday, August 3, 2007

Simcha Valley

For the Hebrew-challenged, simcha means "happiness," and what could be a more fitting name for this place? This Happy Valley is a piece of paradise on Earth, green with peace. Even the "V" of the logo soars like a dove. Our "holy" cow—see her holy baseball cap?—lounges in her canvas deck chair amid a rolling meadow dotted with wildflowers, fanning herself with a big, um, bloody brisket. (The "happy" metaphor, now flecked with gore and gristle, sags a little here, it's true.)

And what about this simcha, this state of joy? According to the Wikipedia article on the concept, "When a [cow] is happy [she is] much more capable of serving God and going about [her] daily activities than when depressed or upset." (Bovine references added.)

So here, our happy cow is perfectly situated to contemplate and serve God, right up to the Blessed Moment. Of the 613 mitzvot—the commandments contained in the Torah—a great many deal with the proper disposition of sacrificed animals. Our cow is in the right line of work. After her ritual death, her internal organs will be rigorously inspected for any of 70 irregularities that would render her remains non-kosher. (Glatt is often thought of as "ultra kosher," a designation requiring extra scrutiny.) Is it any wonder she is filled with gladness?

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