<i>Shemini</i>: Kashrut and Kedusha

Kashrut has little to do with food.

Aloh Naaleh,

Judaism aliyah-r.jpg
Arutz 7

Within the Orthodox community, one of the primary indicators determining the level of one's religious observance is kashrut. Thus, it is imperative that we understand what it truly means to observe kashrut.

This week's parsha goes to great lengths in expounding upon the creatures that we are and are not permitted to eat. Were it not for the concluding p'sukim of the parsha, one might believe that the essence of kashrut is centered entirely around food.
"For I am HaShem, your God, you shall sanctify yourselves and you will be holy, for I am holy; and you shall not contaminate yourselves through any teeming thing that creeps on the earth. For I am HaShem, who elevates you from the land of Egypt to be a God unto you...." (Vayikra 11:44-45)
And, again, in parshat Kedoshim:
"Do not follow the traditions of the nation that I expel before you, for they did all of these and I was disgusted with them. So I said to you: You shall inherit their land... a land flowing with milk and honey... You shall distinguish between the clean animal and the unclean.... and you shall not render your souls abominable.... You shall be holy for Me, for I, HaShem, am holy; and I have separated you from the peoples to be Mine." (Vayikra 20:23 26)
In essence, observing kashrut has little to do with food and everything to do with separating the Jewish People from the nations; enabling us to develop into a "kingdom of priests, and a holy nation" - making kashrut yet another mitzvah that can only be fully observed in the Land of Israel.
Ze'ev Orenstein made Aliyah from New York four years ago. He presently lives with his wife and daughter in Ma'aleh Adumim, and serves as the International Director of Yavneh Olami, a religious Zionist student organization.

The foregoing commentary was distributed by the Aloh Naaleh organization.