Carnivorous Controversies

This Torah portion gives instructions concerning animal sacrifice and the consumption of meat.  The name of the portion, Re'eh, means "See!"  There is sight, and then there is INSIGHT.  Insight reflects the work of the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit), while sight reflects the physical and soul (nefesh) vision.  Animals have souls, and how those souls function can reflect a trait that matches the physical requirements of whether the creature is "clean" or "unclean."   

For mammals, the kosher requirement is split hooves and cud-chewing.  For fish, it is fins and scales.  For both, locomotion is a factor; it's being able to rightly divide Ruach and nefesh (soul) in the walk on the Way.  For the mammal, a digestive component is the ability to thrive on plant life; for the fish, its covering is key.  

More can be said about the spiritual applications of these requirements, but the lesson that even a little child can understand is that a cud-chewing mammal is not a predator.  While they have protective instincts, they do not live to hunt and eat prey.  In discussing clean sacrifices, one way to help children process the kosher component is to use examples in their realm of experience.  Even daycare kids understand predator and prey.  Some kids prey on the weaker targets to acquire social esteem, control toys, or to vent frustration.  Bullies worsen as they grow older.  They shame others for appearance, physical disability, or social awkwardness.  They may become sexual predators or internet trolls.  

Parents can teach children to become like the clean offerings, not seeing others who are weaker or less attractive as prey, but as members of the human race to be protected when they are vulnerable, not bullied or abandoned to predators who WILL take advantage of them.  It is said that teaching a child not to step on a caterpillar does more good for the child than the caterpillar.  Instead of putting movies and games in front of children that glorify drive-by shooting and drive-by mockery, give them experiences with drive-by acts of spiritual vision. Re'eh!

Befriend the lonely.  Speak up for the one who is being bullied.  Help the elderly lady at the gas pump.  Take the abandoned puppy to a shelter.  Cycle a little slower so that the one who struggles can catch up.  These are the things that distinguish us from the unclean animal, but that is only the first step. 

Simply seeing the weak as an opportunity to protect one's neighbor instead of bullying them is only as much as an animal would do.  Even elephants band together to protect their young, and they are not kosher.  One video showed an entire herd of elephants working to rescue a youngster stuck in the mud.  Spiritual vision can take us even higher than that, although I doubt that one can exercise spiritual vision without AT LEAST that much compassion for his neighbor.  

One category of food instructions that require spiritual INSIGHT in Re'eh is clean meat. Flesh is Strong's #1320, basar.  It is also the Good News, which is Strong's #1319.  1 John 4:2-4 explains the relationship of the basar of flesh to the Good News of Messiah:

By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world.  You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.

The little children are reminded that Yeshua is their "meat," the Good News prophesied to come to feed the children of Israel.  The consumption of the basar is the blessing of understanding and insight into the Good News, untainted by demonic or beastly doctrines.  With the strength of the Word imparted by the consumption of the flesh, the little children overcome the world, the trait of the children in Revelation who keep the testimony of Yeshua and the mitzvoth of Elohim.

Is it the testimony or the mitzvoth that characterize the seed of this Woman of Valor (the Ruach HaKodesh)?  Yes!  The testimony of Yeshua is in the mitzvoth that the children keep, and this is their testimony of Messiah, that they keep the commandments of Elohim.  Any other behavior is not testimony that Yeshua was the Promised Seed who crushed the adversary with his obedience to the Word of Promise!

This Good News can be proclaimed and "eaten" in any household anywhere.  It is not confined to the gates of the Temple in Jerusalem.  The caution is that it not be tainted with influences from the idolatrous practices in the places wherever one dwells.  Those influences must be torn down to preserve the sanctity of eating the kosher meat in one's home.  In addition, the blood must be poured out on the ground like water, draining the meat of its nefesh, for "the life (nefesh) is in the blood."  Whatever primal animal instincts may remain within even a clean beast must be treated with respect, yet not ingested by a human being. We are to conform to the spiritual image of Elohim, not the soul of the clean animal.  

This is the pattern of the Torah:  the nefesh (soul) is to be treated with respect and compassion, but not allowed to rule the man.  We must be sensitive to the very real feelings, appetites, and desires of human beings, but they should not be allowed to prevail over the Ruach, which is truth, not the deceptive reality of the nefesh in a fallen world.  For this reason, an animal should never be mistreated by disregard for the needs of its nefesh, yet how much more should we respect the feelings and desires of human beings?

This is important because children may turn back to the very mixed worship from which their parents separated.  Adonai will not take away their free will just because they grew up in a Torah-observant home.  Some will turn back or completely turn away because that is their will (until they repent and let the Ruach rule; keep praying!), not understanding that in time their walk in the Word will be eroded and it will become more difficult to "See!".  Assigning blame can be endless, but what can we do to call them back?

Although the list might be quite long, one thing we can do is quit preying on one another.  Children are being formed in the Ruach, and to see brothers in the Torah Way mocking, preying, and separating from one another over doctrinal issues  is a challenge to their growth.  For the six-year-old whose parents divorce, they do not care (or understand) whose fault it is, but that the foundations of their young lives are destroyed.    For children in Torah-observant homes and newborn adult children in the faith, the carnivorous controversies undermine the foundations that should be built.  

It is tempting to take a little bit of Torah insight and use it to be seen as the "expert" or most "correct" and pagan-hating teacher that others should follow and admire.  Bully.

It is tempting to take internet, email, or anonymous snail mail pot-shots at people you'd never speak to that way face-to-face.  Bully.

A cow does not regurgitate its food on other cows.  It RUMINATES until the food can be digested or eliminated.  Perhaps a little more kosher personal rumination in the Word within our own gates, and less beating up fellow servants with it would encourage our children and adult "little children" to remain in the walk until Messiah corrects all things.  "But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart." (Luke 2:19)

Pray, not prey.