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Friday, April 13, 2018
Candle lighting - 7:16 pm
Torah Portion - Sh'mini
Saturday, April 14
Havdalah - 8:18 pm  
"This is a day of light and joy, the restful serenity of Shabbat."
from the Friday night songs  
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Naomi Greenwald


In this week's Torah portion, Parshat Shemini, we are taught many of the laws of keeping kosher. There are lots of myths floating around about kosher. Some folks think that kosher is sort of like Jewish magic. The rabbi waves his wand and says a few words (some sort of magical blessing) and presto, the food is kosher. Of course, that is not true at all!  Ensuring that food is kosher involves chemistry, biology, technology and Torah laws all in one.

Kosher for the Clueless but Curious  by Shimon Apisdorf is a wonderful book about Kashrut. Even though I have been keeping kosher my whole life, I found the book to be informative and inspiring, and a very pleasant read. Rabbi Apisdorf walks you through the world of kosher in an educational and entertaining manner.

I just want to share with you one of the "soul food" messages he gave in his book:

"The laws of kashrut are very deep; deepest of all is that they are G-d's instructions for life. Nothing can be more profound than for a person to be aware that what he or she is doing is an expression of the will of the Source of all existence. Every time we eat (and that's quite frequently), the laws of kosher give us an opportunity to notice that at the heart of everything in Jewish life is nothing less than the privilege to connect our own will with the will of the Divine. Kosher allows us to consider the enormous potential we have to bring G-d into our lives not only in moments of great spiritual inspiration, but into the day-to-day practicalities of life, into our homes, and into our world."

The laws of kosher are called Chukim, decrees from G-d which we do not understand.  Keeping G-d's commands because "He said so" demonstrates and reinforces awe of Heaven. Through the observance of His commandments, we come closer to Him. 

Eating may seem like a very mundane activity, but Rabbi Apisdorf reminded me of the potential for spiritual greatness in my kosher kitchen. Keeping kosher helps to define me, because together with keeping Shabbos, keeping kosher transforms the life of  Jewish person into a deeply Jewish life. 

Wishing you a good Shabbos.
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