Posted by: mosesfromsinai | March 21, 2011

Shmeenee – Eighth

This week’s Torah Portion contains the laws of the kosher animals, birds, fish etc.  According to some commentators it comes around Purim time to remind us that, perhaps, one of the transgressions the Jewish people committed was eating non-kosher food at the King’s party, mentioned at the very beginning of the Story of Purim.  Certainly the laws of kasherut play a fundamental role in the life of the Jewish nation.  The laws of kasherut being mentioned at this point, before Passover, may also be a prep for the foods we may or may not eat on Passover.

There is a fascinating Rashi (the major commentator on the Torah) on the beginning of the section of kosher animals that we may or may not eat.  He comments on the phrase “This is the —- you may eat” and later “This is the —-you may not eat.”  The phrase is used for animals, birds, fish, etc.  Rashi says that for each species Moshe actually showed the Jewish people what they could and could not eat.  This is truly an amazing miracle.  Remember they were in a desert.  The Al-mighty provided Moshe with a sample of each individual species including a Mr. Kangaroo (which we cannot eat), fresh from Australia.  (After the lesson, Mr. Kangaroo was flown back to Australia courtesy of El Al).  This classroom lesson on kasherut, that Moshe gave, was totally a major miracle, yet for us it goes unnoticed.  Picture ourselves sitting in front of a magician who is pulling out a rabbit, a pig, a camel, a cow, a lamb and so on out of a hat.  That’s what the scene must have been like..  No wonder the kosher dietary laws are a major cornerstone in Judaism.  The lessons Moshe taught were certainly etched in everyone’s eyes and mind.  So smile when you shop kosher and remember how exciting the first classroom lessons must have been as taught by Moshe.  (Yes it may have been scary when the lion and the tiger were presented but the kids certainly were awake.)

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