Saturday, March 26, 2011
From these you will eat
Our weekly portion פרשת השבוע deals with ritual prohibitions. Moses states which animals are eatable, and which are ritually unclean and unfit for a Jew to consume. Only that we have lost the meaning of his words and we barely understand what he is talking about. His world contained few animals and they are not comparable to the ones we have today. Since there seems to be no clear rule for his classification, we are unable to rebuild his system.
For example, wherever it is written ציפור tzippor [bird], it is kosher. What about עוף off (also bird, probably a bird of prey)? It is unclean. What about turkeys, unknown by Moses? A turkey is no dove nor a pidgeon acceptable as sacrifice in the Temple, yet Jews everywhere eat them without hesitation. The system has long lost any rational if ever had one, and serves only to establish two opposing mental categories: clean vs unclean, holy vs ordinary. That is whole idea of Judaism.