Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Parshas Shemini

You Are What You Eat

By Rabbi Raymond Beyda

The laws of kosher food are introduced to the Jewish people in this week's Parasha. All the commandments must be performed simply because God has commanded us. However, the Torah concludes it's presentation of dietary laws with a strict warning of another reason not to partake of "taref." "Do not contaminate yourselves through them lest you become contaminated through them" [chapter 11,verse 43]

Messilat Yesharim explains: "Forbidden food brings impurity into the heart and soul of a person--literally--until God distances Himself from the one who ate them... Forbidden foods are are worse than other sins because they actually enter a person's body and become a part of his flesh."

In more contemporary terms "you are what you eat!" When Moshe was rescued from the Nile by Par-oh's daughter, he would not nurse from the Egyptian women. Rashi explains that the mother's milk has in it the elements of the food's she has consumed, therefore Moshe, who was to converse with God, could not partake of such impurity. Mother's milk, which is merely a byproduct of what she has eaten, has in it the potential "dull the heart and instill a bad nature in the infant."[Rama/Yoreh Deah 81:7]

There was once a great sage named Elisha ben Avuyah. He was the teacher of Rebbe Meir! He became a heretic denying the truth of our Holy Torah. In attempting to explain the cause of this dramatic turnaround, Rebbe Nattan said, "When Acher's mother was pregnant with him, she passed before a place of idol worship and smelled the aroma of the forbidden offerings. She then ate of that food and it seeped into her like snake's venom." Astonishing! The food eaten by an expectant mother resulted in her child, a Torah giant, to years later completely abandon the ways of our fathers.

Today eating kosher is not as difficult as it was just a few years ago. The availability of foods and restaurants that can satisfy even the most diverse and discriminating palates has flourished and now encompasses a broad range of choices. We should all take advantage of this situation and guard ourselves from the spiritual dangers of non-kosher food consumption.


Text Copyright © 2007 by Rabbi Raymond Beyda and Torah.org.


 






ARTICLES ON HAAZINU AND ELUL / ROSH HASHANAH:

View Complete List

Rosh HaShana - Of Creation and Our King
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5758

High Holidays & Sound Investments
Jon Erlbaum - 0

Spiritual Climates
Shlomo Katz - 5773

> To Crown a King
Shlomo Katz - 5767

To Begin--to Cook from Within
Rabbi Label Lam - 5766

Circumstantial Repentance
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5763

ArtScroll

Our Own Akeidah
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5766

Parenting By Example
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5760

Sowing the Seeds of Teshuva
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5763

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Successful Search
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5764

The Fast of Gedalya
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5760

The Shofar: A Wake-Up Call
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5755

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Developing Our Sixth Sense
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5761

Calculated Double Speak
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5759

Shofar: The Court Summons
Rabbi Osher Chaim Levene - 5766

An Opportunity Not To Be Missed
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5758



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information