The Proof is in the Pudding

Posted on by Rabbi Barbara Symons

Do you like pudding? And when you think of pudding, do you think more of bread pudding or of the gelatinous dessert that goes well with whipped cream or in a pie? I never ate much pudding. But when I think of pudding, I think of the small box of Jell-O pudding that, when you add milk, is magically – and artificially – transformed into pudding.

The reason I am thinking about pudding at all is because of the phrase “the proof is in the pudding.” I searched for the background and here is what I found (NPR 8/24/12): First of all, in Britain, dating back centuries, pudding meant more than a sweet dessert; pudding referred to a kind of sausage, filling the intestines of some animal with minced meat and other things. (As a vegetarian, I will swallow my comment.) Over the years, the original proverb has evolved. The original was the proof of the pudding is in the eating. It was shortened to the proof of the pudding, and then here in America, it morphed again to the proof is in the pudding.

More than the food, it is the intention that is important. Where is your proof? How do you discover truth? What is your proof of truth?

With questions of “what is truth?” inundating us, let us recognize the importance of first-hand knowledge. If that is not possible since we cannot personally witness everything, let us research the background of the sources – which must be plural! Not just one source! That way we gain some perspective, some flavoring of the truth, to continue our metaphor.

Yet truth alone without context falls short. Instead, the context should be just as it says in the Haftarah blessing about the prophets: emet v’tzedek – truth and justice/righteousness. If you make an effort to become known as someone whose words and deeds are based on the marriage of truth and justice, then you should even be allowed two desserts.

This entry was posted in Rabbi Symons. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.

Return to top »