Join our weekly Peninim on the Torah list!


Back to Home -> Shemini -> 5758

You shall not contaminate yourselves through any teeming thing that creeps on the earth. For I am Hashem who elevates you from the land of Egypt. (11:44.45)

What is the relationship between the exodus from Egypt and the prohibition from eating insects?  Horav Mordechai HaKohen in his sefer Al HaTorah cites a thoughtful response.  Certain individuals are extremely careful not to eat any insect.  They painstakingly check vegetables with a microscopic lens to make certain that even the tiniest bug, not visible to the naked eye,enters their mouth.  Regrettably, these same people have no problem swallowing up a person, enslaving their brethren, spilling their blood and flaying their skin.  They have no feelings for their fellow Jew.   Disparaging comments can destroy a life.  Subjecting a fellow…

Continue Reading

You shall hallow yourselves and be holy, for I am Hashem who brought you up from the land of Egypt to be your G-d. (11:44,45)

Hashem adjures us to sanctify ourselves, to act differently, to be kadosh, because He brought us up  from Egypt.  We were raised up from the murky depths of depravity which symbolized the land of Egypt.  We are to be separate.   We are to be different.  We are to distinguish ourselves in the way that we live; in the way that we act among ourselves and in the manner that we interface with others.  We suggest that Chazal are teaching us an important lesson.  How are we to respond and execute this distinction?  Are we to be reclusive, hiding from…

Continue Reading

And the pig, for its hoof is split and its hoof is completely separated, but it does not chew its cud, it is unclean to you. (11:7)

We are presently considered to be in the exile of Edom, the nation whom Chazal have compared to the pig.  Just as the pig stretches out its kosher sign, its leg, claiming that it is kosher, so does the Edomite government boast of its just laws and democracy, while concealing its immoral and depraved behavior.  We are subject to the influence of the culture and society we live in.  How often have our own people fallen prey to the sham that constitutes today’s society.  History has demonstrated time and time again that the “pig” shows its true colors and lashes…

Continue Reading

And Aharon fell silent. (10:3)

The Ramban notes that Aharon maintained his silence only after first breaking into sobs.  The Abarbanel disagrees, asserting that Aharon did not react to the tragic death of his sons. In an attempt to defend the Ramban’s position, the Chasam Sofer explains that while Aharon did weep, he cried in response to his sins which he felt precipitated the tragedy that befell his sons.  Aharon’s silence was a sign of acceptance, of inner peace, of profound faith in the Almighty.  Aharon’s silence reflected his serenity at accepting the Divine decree issued against his sons.  How did he gather the fortitude…

Continue Reading

I will be sanctified through those that are nearest to me, thus I will be honored before the entire people. (10:3)

This pasuk expresses the entire concept.  Hashem expects and demands more from those who are close to Him.  Those who serve as an example must live up to the values which they represent.  This idea is regrettably foreign to those outside of Torah circles.  It has become the accepted norm that social and intellectual accomplishment grants one license to pursue whatever moral  transgressions his heart desires.  We have only to look at the secular leadership of modern society to recognize this unfortunate truth.  Not so our Torah leadership; they must be the paragon of moral purity, the model of dignity…

Continue Reading

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our weekly Peninim on the Torah list!

You have Successfully Subscribed!