14: Eating Kosher
You shall slaughter your cattle and sheep...as I have commanded you.
We are commanded to eat only kosher food, which includes the following:
• Chicken and meat must be prepared in a special way.
• Only animals that chew their cud and have split hooves may be eaten.
• Only fish that have both fins and scales may be eaten.
The Shelah HaKadosh teaches that the word maachol (food) can be rearranged
to read eim kol (the mother of all) because food is the fuel that
energizes the body. It can fill us with positive, holy energy or tumah,
Of the two signs of a kosher animal, chewing their cud and having split
hooves, one is internal and the other is external, to teach that a kosher
Jew has to develop himself both internally and externally. The Gra teaches
that an animal that chews its cud reminds us of the great principle to
rejoice with our portion, which is the secret to true happiness (Avos 4:1).
The Ramban (on Vayikra 11:13) explains that we don’t eat animals and birds
which have cruel tendencies because a person acquires the traits of the
animals he eats. The many halachos of kosher food provide us with
boundaries and separations from the outside world, which help us focus on
our spiritual lives and develop in positive ways.
Text Copyright © 2006 by Rabbi Moshe Goldberger and Torah.org.