Shemini 5775 – Don’t be Cruel

These are the living things that you may eat (Vayikra 11:2)

You are what you eat. Our food, when we eat it, travels throughout our entire body and energizes all of our body parts. Not only does our food physically affect us, it spiritually affects us. Rav Pam points out that our Sages tell us why the birds that are listed in this week’s parsha are not kosher: they are cruel. By eating these types of birds, it affects us and makes us cruel. Therefore, the Torah tells us not to eat from these birds.

Just as we have to make sure we eat the proper foods so we avoid being cruel, we need to make sure our minds are clear of cruel thoughts. We need to make sure our minds do not see cruel things. My Rav in Boston numerous times said that if a movie is inappropriate for children, it is inappropriate for you also. Things you see affect your mind. When you constantly watch images of cruelty, this WILL affect you in a negative way.

So, you might be thinking, I know of many people who eat non-kosher food or watch inappropriate things, and they are not cruel. So, is this really true?

Our Sages tell us there was once an ugly person who was extremely wise. He was asked how he could be so wise, yet so ugly. He compared himself to a vessel which holds wine. The container is not made from gold or silver, because that will not keep wine. It is in an ugly earthenware vessel. So, he was then asked, if this is true, why are there also Sages who are good looking. He responded that if they were less good looking, like him, they would be even wiser.

Maybe this is the answer to our question. How can people eat non kosher food and not be cruel. How can they watch inappropriate things and not be cruel. It might be true that they are not cruel, but they would be even greater if they ate only kosher food or looked at appropriate things.

Good Shabbos!
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