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Now what?!

Thursday, 20 April, 2017 - 11:39 am

There are of course varying levels of Passover observance. If you observe even some basics such as two Passover Seders and not eating bread or leaven for eight days you may be breathing a sigh of relief at this time.

Like everything in life however, the sigh of relief carries a loss with it. There is something nice about the discipline of not eating bread and the commitment to a specific behavior or action for the eight days. So with the loss of that specific discipline you may be feeling a bit empty (and not so bloated) right now.

The Torah portions always have the antidote for that which ails us if we take the time to dig in and turn it over until we discover it.

In this weeks Torah portion we find the laws of Kosher. The Torah tells us the signs of a kosher animal; it has split hooves and chews its cud.

Although the mitzvah of kosher observance is a Divine Decree, nonetheless we have take away lessons for better living.

Each of us are genetically wired with a leaning towards either kindness or discipline. It gets manifest in how we think, how we feel and what we are drawn to.

Kindness people are more easy going, fun to be with, social, among other wonderful traits.

Discipline people are reliable, organized, punctual, goal oriented among other wonderful traits.

Of course people if each leaning can adopt and develop traits of the other type but, as a broad generalization, they usually have their natural traits more pronounced.

To serve God only with the traits that come easy is an incomplete service. You are only bringing your comfort zone to the game. Bringing the other dimension of your potential is a complete service.

The split hooves alludes to a kosher and complete person who brings both sides, the right-kindness and the left-discipline, to their service of God.

The chewing of the cud alludes to the fact that the person never considers themselves as having fully attained perfection. Once you think you have, you can retire and check out. But as long as we are on this earth we have the opportunity to continue growing.

Chewing the cud means, reviewing, re-analyzing over and over again, to see if our service is genuine and sincere.

So if you are feeling a bit empty and needing to be disciplined about something worthwhile, try kosher- literally and figuratively (spiritual service/personal development), you surely will find depth, meaning and discipline in this practice!

Have a good Shabbos,

Rabbi Kushi Schusterman 


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