Parshat Shemini 5773–Shabbat Torah Study–You Are What You Eat

This week’s Parasha contains some of the laws of Kashrut (the creatures that we are permitted to eat). Vayikra 11:1-47. The Midrash has created very interesting explanations and reasons for why a particular creature is or is not kosher. One of my favorites is the explanation for why the stork is not considered a kosher bird. No, it is not because that is where babies come from, so out of gratitude we do not eat it (though I used to think that). The name for the stork in Hebrew is the Chasida which means “kindness,” because it acts with kindness toward its friends. Most of the birds that are not considered kosher are excluded because of their cruelty as birds of prey or augurs of death. So then why is the stork considered “detestable” or an “abomination”? The rabbi’s teach that it is because the stork is only kind to its friends. We are supposed to be kind to friends and strangers alike.

This Shabbat we are privileged to learn with Ruth Bergman who will be discussing with us, “Eat this, not that! Achieving holiness through the dietary laws.” I am really excited to learn with her on this subject. I am just concerned because if you are what you eat, that may mean that I am a sushi roll today. But yesterday I may have been a cannoli.

Maybe I will see you on Shabbat?

Have a great one.

Paul

P.S. If you know of anyone who might enjoy receiving these emails and/or participating in our Torah Study, please let me know.

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