Devar Torah Shemini 5781

What is “better”: An animal that has none of the signs of kashrus or an animal which has one?Four non-kosher animals are specifically mentioned in this week’s Parsha, Parshas Shemini, and for each one the kosher trait is listed as well as the non-kosher trait.

Why? Why not just say, for example, “The pig does not chew its cud, and therefore it is not kosher.” Why add that it has a split hoof?

And the¬†way that the Torah talks about the kosher attribute is also odd: “and the swine¬†because he divideth the hoof and be clovenfooted, and he cheweth not the cud, he is unclean to you.

What is the “because” doing here? There should be a different word, such as “although” (some English translations will erroneously translate it in such a fashion, but the Hebrew says otherwise).

The answer is that an animal which is lacking both signs is obviously non-kosher. There are no questions and no confusion.

But an animal which has one sign – especially the pig which has its one sign externally – can be a problem. A person looking at a pig might think that it is kosher – after all it has split hooves. A pig itself is known to sleep with its feet sticking out (most other animals curl their feet back towards their body), as if to show everyone, “HEY, I AM KOSHER!”

We learn from this how a person who shows signs of being a “good Jew” on the outside – but secretly despises, or just doesn’t observe, Judaism – is worse than a person who honestly says, “I do not like religious Jews or Judaism and I don’t want anything to do with it.”

G-d despises someone who is two-faced. Germany (a country known for eating pork-based food products) was considered the most sophisticated and refined country in all of Europe. Yet the Germans had no problem killing Jews, because while they had an air of sophistication, they were mean killers on the inside.

So too a Jew must be the same on the inside as the outside. Hashem wants all Jews to love Him and to love Judaism. But if not, then He certainly does not want someone to fool others by saying, “I love Judaism” when he really doesn’t.

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