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Parsha Mitzvot: Shemini: Mitzvah 159 – Concept 180

“But this is what you shall not eat from among those that bring up their cud or that have split hooves; the camel, for it brings up its cud, but its hoof is not split, it is unclean to you.” “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. You shall not eat of their flesh nor shall you touch their carcass; they are unclean to you (Vayikra 11:4, 7-8).” We may not eat non-kosher animals (Rambam, Hilchot Ma’achalot Assurot – The Laws of Forbidden Foods)


The pig is understood as the representation of someone who portrays himself as holy and pure, righteous and reliable, but, inside, he is not. Esau, who portrayed himself as righteous to Isaac, is compared to a pig.

We are commanded to avoid such behavior in ourselves and others, and anything that represents such a false demeanor.

We live in an age when packaging is all important, and we forget to pay attention to what is inside.

The camel represents other inconsistencies between the internal and external, even if it is not the false portrayal of Esau and the pig. We are commanded to avoid any behavior that reflects inconsistency between our heart and behavior; even in our Service of God! We must avoid serving God only with externals without our hearts being completely invested in what we are doing.

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