are you Kosher?

Friday, 22 August, 2014 - 5:13 am


Dear Friends,


Most of us know the signs of an animal’s Kashrut, as brought in this week’s Parasha. For an animal to be kosher and Tahor (“pure”), it must a) have cloven hoofs, and b) chew its cud – bring its food back up into its mouth in order to chew it once more before digesting it.

The Rebbe teaches us that human beings have signs of Kashrut as well, except that they are not for someone else to check and certify, but, rather, signs (or actually manners of behavior), by which a person can check himself and how he handles various situations.

Here they are:

Cloven hoof: the same way the hoofs of a kosher animal point in two directions – right and left, so, too, a person’s actions have to be sometimes to the left, sometimes to the right. A person who is naturally drawn to Chesed (right), should examine himself at times when what is demanded of him is the opposite – an action of Gevurah, of firmness – where he must be strict and say “no” (left). If he indeed does so, that is a sign of Kashrut; it’s a sign that he is acting properly.

When a person works only with the right, with the Chesed, it may be that he is acting according to his own personal tendencies, and not from the right reasons and considerations.

Chewing the cud: A moment before a person acts, even if he is sure that it’s the right thing to do, he should “chew his cud” – think it over again; chew it once more before its final digestion.

These two signs, says the Rebbe, enable us to check ourselves as to whether we are acting right, or simply acting according to our natural tendencies.


The month of Ellul is fast approaching! This is a good opportunity to find the time to examine our signs of Kashrut. I wish us all success!


Zalmen Wishedski

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