Torah Tidbits

It’s Not Just the Food…!      featured-rabbi
Shabbat Parashat Shemini
Shabbat Parah
March 22, 2014 – 20 Adar II 5774

It’s Not Just the Food…!

Food is such an essential part of Jewish culture!  Can we imagine a Jewish celebration without food?  Well, maybe, if you count Yom Kippur as a celebration…But, other than that?  Clearly, food is so central, not only to our lives, but to our Jewish lives as well.

As Jews we have a rich tradition regarding the food we eat.  Each holiday has its special foods.  Each community has its particular flavors and recipes.  But beyond that, we learn  in this week’s Torah portion about the laws of keeping kosher – the Jewish dietary laws.  The Torah tells us that this we are allowed to eat – and that we are forbidden to eat.

Often, I hear the question:  Aren’t the laws of keeping kosher outdated?

My answer is that the laws of keeping kosher are only outdated if we think that building character is outdated.

When the Torah tells us that there are certain foods that we may eat, and others that we may not eat, the Torah is encouraging us to use our minds to distinguish between types of foods every time we decide to eat.

This exercise helps us to develop the habit of thinking before we act.  It helps us to become more discerning in our lives – not only about food, but about the vast array of choices we are making day in and day out, hour by hour, throughout our lives.

As long as we believe in the power of human beings to surpass themselves – to continuously strive to better themselves – the laws of keeping kosher are not outdated.  In fact, the laws of keeping kosher help us to build character and to hone our powers of discernment.  I dare say, the laws of keeping kosher help us to live more meaningful lives.

If you are interested in exploring this subject in more depth, just let me know!

Shabbat Shalom!

Rabbi Gilah Dror