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Table Talk Shemini II Print E-mail

ParshaDifferences: “To distinguish between the contaminated and the pure, and between the creature that may be eaten and the creature that you may not eat (Vayikra 11:47).” Why does the verse begin by focusing on the animal; “the creature that may be eaten,” but concludes by focusing on the person; “and the creature that you may not eat”? The verse, for the sake of consistency, should either begin by saying, “the animal you may eat,” or conclude with, “an animal that may not be eaten.”  Consider the famous Rambam (Shemonah Perakim) that addresses the question of whether it is greater to have a destructive desire and control it, or to rid oneself of the desire altogether. The Rambam differentiates between a Mitzvah we can comprehend; rid oneself of the desire, and a Mitzvah we can begin to grasp; control the desire. - In our verse, the animals are edible, and the law identifies one as kosher and the other as not. Which category of law is that? How does it reflect in the verse?


The “Elevation” of Kashrut

“For I am God Who elevates you from the land of Egypt to be a God unto you; you shall be holy, for I am holy (Vayikra 11:45).” The Torah usually refers to God Who “took us out of Egypt,” why does this verse say, “Who elevated you?” It was taught in the Yeshiva of Rabbi Yishmael that this verse teaches us that it was worthwhile to take us out of Egypt just to elevate us to the possible sanctity that we achieve through observing the laws of kosher! - Is that not true of every law in the Torah? Why would the laws of Kashrut offer the greatest potential for elevation?

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