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 KI SEITZEI AND ELUL / ROSH HASHANAH:

View Complete List

We're Not There Yet
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5757

Judge Me Tender, Judge Me Sweet
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5760

Mankind's Song
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5764

ArtScroll

The Chain Effect of Our Actions
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5771

Successful Search
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5764

Looking to the Future
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5764

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Leave it Up to the King
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5764

An Opportunity Not To Be Missed
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5758

Happy New Yira
Rabbi Label Lam - 5769

> Don't Take Advantage of People's Compassion
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5764

The Custom of Eating Symbolic Foods
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5755

Chase Away the Mother
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5758

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Repentance and Changing History
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5759

Hanging onto Holiness by a Thread
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5760

“CSI: Who Are You – Jew, Who, Jew, Who?”
Jon Erlbaum - 5771

Starting From Scratch
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5764



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