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Parsha Mitzvot: Shemini: Mitzvah 162 – Concept 184

“Every teeming creature that teems upon the ground, it is an abomination, it shall not be eaten. Everything that creeps on its belly, and everything that walks on four legs, up to those with numerous legs, among all the teeming things that teem upon the earth, you may not eat them, for they are an abomination. Do not make yourselves abominable by means of any teeming thing; do not contaminate yourselves through them lest you become contaminated through them (Vayikra 11:41-43).” Do not eat non-kosher creatures that crawl on the land (Rambam, Hilchot Ma’achalot Assurot – The Laws of Forbidden Foods).


“Everything that creeps on its belly,” refers to a snake, for it goes bent and prostrated on its belly (Rashi). “Lest you become contaminated through them,” ‘v’nitmaitem bam (aleph missing from “v’nitmaitem’), if you make yourselves impure with them on the earth, I shall also make you unclean in the World to Come (Rashi).

Rashi is describing the people who claim that because they must “bend” to make a living and feeding their belly, end up falling, prostrated on the ground, and losing their spiritual stability. (Sefer Kibbud Av, written by Rav Eliezer Klein entirely based on what he learned from his father, Rav Shlomo Zalman Klein, hence the name of the sefer; Kibbud Av)

Even the holiest people must be careful to not be infected by the influence of people who are so willing to “bend for their belly,” that they lose focus. (Based on the Igra d’Kallah, Mishpatim)

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