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You shall hallow yourselves and be holy…For I am Hashem Who took you up from the land of Egypt to be your G-d, you shall be holy for I am holy. (11:44)

This pasuk, which concludes the parshah, comes at the end of the Jewish dietary laws. Kashrus is one of the areas in which the Jew distinguishes himself from the rest of the world. The message of this pasuk reveals the significance of this distinctiveness. Horav Moshe Swift, zl, notes the words, “For I am Hashem Who took you up from the land of Egypt.” Elsewhere in the Torah and in our tefillos, prayers, we say, “Who brought you out of the land of Egypt.” The Torah emphasizes here that we were brought up–elevated–to a higher level, so that Hashem would…

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The camel, for it brings up its cud, but its hoof is not split, the hyrax, for it brings up its cud but its hoof is not split…, and the hare, for it brings up its cud and its hoof is not split. (11:4, 5, 6)

The Torah identifies those animals that have only one siman, sign, of kashrus. Interestingly, the Torah seems to employ the three tenses concerning the lack of split hooves in describing the animals: past, present, and future. The Torah says, “einanu mafris” —“it does not have split hooves,” in the present; “ufarsa lo yafris”–“it will not have split hooves,” the future; “ufarsa lo hifrisa” — “it’s hooves were never split,” in the past. What is the significance of these three expressions? Ma’ayanah shel Torah cites one of the gedolei ha’mussar, who infer a noteworthy lesson from this pasuk. When one is…

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And Aharon was silent. (10:3)

Ramban explains that Aharon actually did cry. Aharon silently accepted Hashem’s decree only after Moshe consoled him by telling him of the enormous kiddush Hashem, sanctification of Hashem’s Name, which Nadav and Avihu had effected. Aharon’s response to the tragic deaths of his two eldest sons serves as a paradigm for those who confront tragedy. He was silent, accepting the decree. Did Aharon exhibit the loftiest form of acquiescence, or is there another — more exalted — way of confronting Hashem’s decree? Tiferes Shlomo, the Admor m’Radomsk, zl, comments that Chazal laud Aharon Ha’kohen for his “silent” response to his…

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And Moshe spoke to Aharon: Approach the Altar and offer your (korban) Chatas and your (korban) Olah. (9:7)

Chazal explain why it was necessary for Moshe to speak emphatically to Aharon saying, “Approach the Mizbayach.” Aharon was “shy,” afraid to approach the Mizbayach. He saw the likeness of an ox with its horns in the Mizbayach, and he was afraid. Moshe told him, “Take courage and approach the Mizbayach.” Aharon was anxious, reflecting a fear that ought to take hold of any conscientious leader who assumes his position. He understood the heavy responsibility of his position and the lofty mission of being leader, teacher, and interpreter of d’var Hashem. His fear, however, had an additional aspect. The image…

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