Shemini: Behind the Kosher Scenes


השיעור לפ’ שמיני נתרם

לע”נ הרה”ח השליח ר’ חיים ב”ר שמואל גרשון ניסן ע”ה גורביץ. נפטר ביום ג’ פ’ ויקרא בעיצומו של “מבצע מצה”, ג’ ניסן שנת ה‘תשפ”א


ע”י בנו הרה”ת ר’ רפאל דובער וזוגתו מרת רבקה ומשפחתם שיחיו

Fins and scales, split hooves and chewing cud. How is it relevant to me?

Torah’s Eternal Nature

The laws in Maimonides regarding kosher food teach us a general lesson about the truth of Torah.

These laws describe the kosher signs for all creatures: domestic animals, wild animals, birds, and fish. Obviously, these signs are aspects of the animal’s physical features. Here we see a demonstration of the truthfulness of the Torah. Throughout the world, not a single animal has been discovered there contradicts those classifications.

For example: 

Maimonides states regarding the signs for animals: “Every animal that chews the cud has split hoofs…Every animal that has split hoofs chews the cud…” with four exceptions: the camel, pig, hyrax and rabbit, who each have just one of those signs.

Regarding fish, the Talmud tells us, “Any fish with scales will have fins.” In fact, the Talmud poses the question: “Why didn’t G-d simply list scales and leave out fins,” if it is impossible to have scales without fins. It answers simply, “to make Torah great and glorious…”  

Regarding milk, Maimonides writes, “Non-kosher milk will not congeal and solidify as kosher milk. If a mixture of non-kosher milk and kosher milk is made into cheese, the kosher milk will solidify and the non-kosher milk will be expelled together with the whey of the cheese.”

This is an amazing phenomenon.

Countless never-before-seen species have been discovered since the time we received the Torah, since the Mishna and Talmud were compiled and even since Maimonides wrote his work. This is especially true since the discovery of the Americas, Australia, and other remote islands; they contain countless unique species which did not exist in the lands of the sages of the Mishna and Talmud and of Maimonides.

Nevertheless, the rules about animals written in the Mishna and Talmud and cited by Maimonides continue to hold true regarding all the new animals discovered throughout the generations. Until today, not a single animal has been discovered that contradicts those principles. 

This serves as one of the clear demonstration of Torah’s truth, and demonstrates G-d’s glory (in the words of our sages in Ethics of our Fathers, “Everything G-d created in his world, He created only for his glory”). All living creatures conform to the rules of the Torah—because their entire existence comes from Torah. As stated in the Zohar, “G-d looked into Torah and created the world.”

Shabbat Parshat Balak 1985
(Toras Menachem 5745 vol. 4. pg. 2565)

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