Posts Tagged 'chazir'

Parshsios Shemini/Parah | The Kollel Connection

Parshsios Shemini/Parah | The Kollel Connection

Bensalem Jewish Outreach Center

March 21, 2013 – Candle lighting 6:54, Shabbos Ends 8:03

Note: Times are for Bensalem; Check your local calendar for exact times in your area.

Rabbi Moshe Travitsky

Rabbi Moshe Travitsky

Welcome to the Kollel Connection.

This week we read Parshas Shemini. It is also Parshas Parah, as we read of the purification that was done to the Jewish people, before they would enter the temple. This is read specifically before Passover, when all Jews had to be pure to enter the temple and partake of the special Paschal lamb.

In Parshas Shemini, the Torah tells us the laws of keeping kosher. The famous rule is given in this week’s Parsha, that in order to be kosher, an animal must have two signs: It must chew its cud, and it must have split hooves. (Leviticus 11:3) The Torah lists several animals that have one of the two signs, but not both. Most famous of these, is the chazir, the pig, which has split hooves but does not chew its cud. The overwhelming majority of animals have either both signs of being kosher, or none. Even among the few animals that have one sign, there is only one that has the sign of split hooves but does not chew its cud. That is the pig. The commentaries ask why is it that the pig, which of all animals of the world is the one most synonymous with something that is not kosher, should be the one animal that gives the outward appearance as if it is kosher?

One simple lesson is that we should never be deceived by external looks. A man could look pious or religious, yet be a total faker. A person may call themselves a “Rabbi”, yet tell people that they may drive on the Sabbath. My father advised me many years ago, that it would be better to be a plumber and be an honest Jew, than to be such a “Rabbi” and be a faker. The pig is exactly that type of fake “Rabbi”. It looks kosher from the outside, but is totally non-kosher inside of it. Desire for honor, money, or other things has caused many a person to say or do things that are not really true.

Another beautiful point is brought down by the Aron L’eydus. Often a person will feel that he or she is having a hard time in their service of Hashem. They may be having a hard time focusing on their prayers, or in doing any of the commandments. They feel as if they are being pushed away by Hashem, and as if their service of Hashem is not desired. They feel ready to give up. This is a terrible mistake, and a lack of understanding why we may find something hard.

A person must know that even in such circumstances, even when the going is tough and rough, we must push with all our strength to come close to Hashem. Any hardship that we have, we must know, is simply a test from heaven to see if we are ready to serve Him even when it is hard to. Perhaps this moment of challenge is precisely the moment in our lives that we were brought in to this world to overcome.

This lesson we learn from the chazir, the pig. The nature of the chazir is, that even when it is pushed away from the place it is in, it pushes itself back to its first spot. The very name for this animal, chazir, comes from the Hebrew word chazara – which is to come back. This is why it has signs of purity on its feet – to show that although its entire body is impure, what it does with its feet – to fight and go back to the place it was hard to stay in, and not to give up, is a good and positive character trait.

May we all find that strength to fight and meet the challenges that come our way and seek to push us down, as we rise to the occasion and  overcome them.

Wishing you and your family a Great Shabbos!!!!!!!! 

Rabbi Moshe Travitsky

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