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March 27, 2016 / conservadox

Dvar Torah-Shemini

This week’s Torah portion contains some of the dietary laws, in particular the lists of forbidden animals.  Know-nothing Jews often think these laws are about physical health.  As Arama points out, this logic “would reduce Torah to being a medical textbook, and a very abbreviated one at that.”

Arama adds that other nations enjoy good health to the same extent as Jews.  Furthermore, no poisonous plants or animals are on the “forbidden” list, as would be the case if physical health were the cause of the dietary laws.

So what is the cause of the dietary laws?  Arama doesn’t really have any idea; he mutters vaguely about spiritual health and the afterlife.   But if God wanted to make it spiritually healthy for Jews to eat ostriches, God could have made us that way.  So what is the answer?  Teiku. 

 

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