VOLUME 95 NUMBER 3
April 9, 2021
NISSAN 27, 5781
Candlelighting Time 7:14 PM
The Torah dedicates many verses describing which animals, fowl and fish that we may consume. At the conclusion of that discussion, we are warned not to eat the disgusting non-kosher animals because they will create impurity within us, and we will become encompassed by them. This means that if we consume non-kosher animals, although initially our souls will sense the contaminated nature of the food, eventually we will become impervious to its effects.
Chofetz Chaim explains this with an analogy of one who sells fragrances. In the beginning the aroma was overwhelming and it was difficult to remain in the store. However, over time he became accustomed to their smell. Later on, this person sold his store full of spices and became one who works with the hides of animals. Even though at first the strong stench of the hides made him nauseous, soon he became accustomed to their stench as though he had always been a tanner.
So too, one who begins to consume non-kosher animals will begin to contaminate his very being so that eventually he will no longer sense and feel repulsive with their ingestion. Therefore, we are alerted by the Torah from the very onset not to eat such disgusting food.
However, this issue of contamination has a much more profound dimension. Sforno explains in great depth that after the Golden Calf fiasco, Hashem was apparently horrified with us. Although initially Hashem was omnipresent, but that changed when we participated in the major blunder of serving that idol. Moshe intervened and was able to seek a compromising status that even though Hashem’s presence would not be pervasive and as ubiquitous, still we would have the opportunity to reach out and access His manifestation. Of course, this would be accomplished through the service in the Mishkan. In order that we would merit His presence in the Mishkan, it was vital that we maintained a level of purity. If we would defile our souls that would distance us from Hashem and the Mishkan would not avail itself to Hashem. Therefore, the Torah in great length discusses different areas of contamination that we need to abstain from. The biggest detriment to our connection to Hashem is desecration through consumption of non-kosher animals and the like. Therefore, it behooves us to be cautious because eating such food items is not just a physical ravaging but rather such conduct penetrates to our very core and destroys our soul, the very connection that we have with Hashem.
Even though it may seem peculiar, however, the content of food is not only physical but additionally has a spiritual content and when one ingests the spiritual content appropriately, the results can lead to a strong and vigorous connection with Hashem. However, when we imbibe contaminants, the results will, of course, be destructive. That is why the Torah dedicates many parshios to the issue of defilement which occurs in many venues. The opportunity for defilement is abundant and the solutions are not always simple. Hashem dangles the proverbial carrot in front of us seeking to draw us near to Him and it is our determination and resolve which will lead us to select the proper approach to life.
A BYTE FOR SHABBOS
The Torah allows certain foods and other items to be utilized by us because they contain elements that serve to upgrade our conduct and specifically our speech so that we will live within the confines of sanctity. S’FAS EMES