contains a description of events that happened on the eighth (
) day, following seven days of ordination of
Aaron as High Priest and his sons as
/priests. The Torah relates a difficult episode about the deaths of Aaron's eldest
sons, Nadav and Abihu, while in service and we learn that Aaron's response, perhaps surprisingly, was silence (numbness?). Also
included are the laws of
specifying which species are
('fit') for consumption and which are not. Animals must have
both split hooves and chew their cud. (One of the reasons pigs are reviled is that they are deceptive: they have the external signs of
being kosher - split hooves - but do not meet the internal requirement - chewing the cud.) Fish require both fins and scales.
Gastro-culinary alert: did you know that some insects (such as four species of locusts) are
concludes with the introduction of
and the command to differentiate between pure and impure. Note: Impurity
is not 'bad' or immoral...it's part of the cycle of life, largely tied to biological rhythms.
The Torah's lesson is about working toward holiness, which is not a state of being but a process meant to teach us to make
distinctions and choices for the purpose of elevating life. In a modern sense, how do we choose to go about healing and growing?
What do we do to remind ourselves of who we want to be in the world? What steps or practices help us to actualize/to live in that
And, one more: Modern kashrut is also about our ethical obligations for fair treatment and concern for people and animals - what
did it take to get our food to the table? What practices are we supporting through our consumption choices?
How can we live more mindfully and in doing so, elevate life?
for candlelighting for
Holy One, as I kindle these Shabbat lights, please help me to distinguish between what is good
and pure and what needs to be
'made clean' in my life so that I might be an instrument for bringing holiness into the everyday, increasing light in the world
and elevating life.