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Symbolic Kosher

Thursday, 7 February, 2013 - 8:00 am



Dear Rabbi,

When we met for coffee last week you said I may want to start looking for Kosher symbols on the food I buy. You also said even if I don’t “go kosher” I can start to “eat kosher”! Isn’t it all or nothing? Is there such a thing as a partial mitzvah?


N.S.K. (Not So Kosher)


Dear N.S.K. 

I did say that. Kosher isn’t all or nothing. It’s a process. The concept of going kosher means that you need to start and then continue as you are ready. It is this way with all mitzvos – you gotta start somewhere and keep going in the right direction, with the goal of completing the process. Since you said you are committed to the goal of buying only kosher products, that is a great start! You have begun the process.

Interestingly enough, this week, besides for the regular Torah portion, we also read about the half shekel contribution. The half shekel was an equal contribution of all Jews to support the communal sacrifices in the holy temple.

It’s sort of a contradiction. On one hand it’s not a whole shekel just a half. But that half shekel must be paid in full, no payment plans. It’s a paradox, it is only a part but that part must be complete.

Our relationship with G-d is comparable. Without a relationship with G-d we are incomplete, we are half and missing something. To become complete we need to join our “half” with G-d. It is about committing completely, not committing halfway.

So looking for Kosher symbols is ok if it is 100% commitment. If it is a half/partial commitment then…. We need to talk about it again face to face ;).

So when do we get together next? Coffee or a supermarket tour?

Have a great shabbos!

Rabbi Kushi Schusterman

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