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           flowersShemini

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In Parshas Shemini, Moshe Rabbeinu defines to the Jewish nation which animals are kosher, and which animals are not. In order to be deemed kosher, two signs are required : split hooves and chewing of the cud.

Through requiring two essential signs to qualify an animal as kosher, the Torah is teaching us a beautiful lesson in the two essential aspects needed to make a person’s avodas Hashem complete.

The first aspect of avodas Hashem is the outer aspect - how it appears to others. This is and external quatlity, compared to split hooves. A person who possesses only this quality - who appears to be a devout Jew, while in his heart is in fact far from His ways - is compared to an animal that has only split hooves. An example of this is the pig, who arrogantly shows off his split hooves, pretending to be a kosher animal. Of course, an animal like this is not kosher, and neither is the avodas Hashem of such a person complete.

The second aspect of avodas Hashem is the inner aspect - the part which transpires in the heart of a person. This is an internal quality, compared to chewing of the cud. A person who possesses only this quality - who in his heart fears Hashem but is afraid to openly declare his beliefs, is compared to an animal that only chews its cud. And again, an animal like this is not kosher, and neither is the avodas Hashem of such a person complete.

By requiring these two signs, we learn that it is not enough to merely appear Jewish, one must also serve Hashem in his heart. And it is not enough to be a "Jew at heart", one must also act openly as a Jew. Only when both qualities are present is the avodas Hashem of a person complete. (Sefer Ta’am V’da’as)

The Kli Yakar takes this idea a step further when he explains the manner in which the Torah describes the four animals that have only one sign. The Torah first states the sign that is present, then states the sign that is lacking. This is puzzling, as one would expect the reverse order since the reason that the animal is forbidden is the lack of one sign.

However, the possuk is written specifically in this order to teach us that while the sign that is present may be a symbol of purity in a pure animal, that very same sign increases the impurity of an impure animal! The reason for this is that the impure animal uses the sign to claim his purity, and therefore animals with one sign of purity are considered worse than animals with no signs of purity. Likewise, a hypocrite who outwardly acts pious while in fact is really corrupted is considered worse than one who openly displays his wickedness.

Sources: Ta’am Va’da’as, Kli Yakar

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In Loving Memory Of Our Father, Mr. Joseph Black (Yosef Ben Zelig) O"H
In Loving Memory Of Our Mother, Mrs. Norma Black (Nechama Bas Tzvi Hirsh) O"H
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