We have just experienced Passover and the special foods that accompany its celebration. We did our best to relate the Passover story to our communal and individual lives today. Then, we moved on to a communal remembrance of the Holocaust. And we do our best to make that memory meaningful, not only for us, but for future generations.
Now we are counting the Omer. We are numbering each one of our days, and weeks, as we move toward Shavuot. Day by day. We are back to basics. We are back to bread. We are back to current challenges and opportunities. Life is not simple. But, our Torah helps us to develop the “art of living.”
This week we read the Parshat Shemini. It contains much of the biblical discussion about kashrut – “the art of keeping kosher.” I am sure many of us ponder….Is all of this old fashioned? Perhaps. But, does it have any meaning for us today? Consider the following:
We live in a world in which we emphasize the power of each of us to actualize ourselves to the maximum. We live in a world where we encourage our children to dream and to reach for their dreams. And that is good. We all have a holy spark in our souls. That spark is unique and worthy of the gift of life we have received. And, our Torah teaches us that every human being was created in the image of God. But, the Torah also reminds us that we are not alone in the world.
We share this holy time and space with others. We can expect to face challenges in life. And, we will have many opportunities to make choices.
“The art of keeping kosher” is not simply ritual. It affects our souls, reminding us, each time we eat, that powerful as we may be, there are limits which we must learn to impose upon ourselves in order to succeed in life.
There is no better way to lean than by repetition. Kashrut plays a key role in the Torah’s teachings that relate to “the art of living.” Each time we eat, we have the opportunity to strengthen our resolve that, at times, we must limit ourselves so that we may actualize our powerful potential.
While kashrut may be “old fashioned” – we can also appreciate it as “super current!”
In our day and age, incorporating the “art of keeping kosher” into our lives can go a long way toward helping us to hone the greater “art of living!”
Rabbi Gilah Dror
P.S. This Shabbat we will recite the prayer for the upcoming new Jewish month of Iyyar. Rosh Chodesh Iyyar will be on Saturday night, Sunday and Monday! May it be a month of joy and of blessing.