Weekly D’var: Shemini – Rebecca Assor, Hillel Ryerson

In this week’s Torah portion, Parshat Shemini, the Torah lists the qualifications of kosher animals. Land animals must have complete split hooves and chew their cud. The Torah then lists four animals which may seem kosher since they have one of the signs, but we should be cautious of them. The camel, hyrax and hare only chew their cud and the pig, which has split hooves.

The Kli Yakar explains that there is a symbolic resemblance between the kashrut signs and human attributes. The chewing cud sign can represent our inner thoughts and intentions, while the split hooves sign can represent our public representation. The presence of only one sign can symbolize hypocrisy. Just like the kosher animals, we should strive to be “kosher” by letting our insides reflect our outsides and being in tune with ourselves.