Steven Zvi Gleiberman

Keeping Kosher is a Frame of Mind

The list for non-kosher animals is way longer than the list for kosher animals, yet the Torah describes what is a kosher animal before describing what is not kosher animal. Same is true for the Torah’s description of the kosher birds and kosher insects. Why is what is permitted put before what is not permitted?

I’m not 100% sure, but I think a reason may be to show us, that what is kosher is more important than what is not kosher. We know that when one speaks, the first thing is usually more important, and the Torah is telling us, that what is kosher is more important than what is not kosher, to focus on what is allowed than what is not allowed, to allow us to focus on the positivity of keeping kosher and how it is great for us.

Keeping kosher isn’t easy. I was traveling with my wife last week in Hungary, Slovakia and Austria, and yes, it was harder and more expensive to keep kosher. But we embraced the kosher aspect by focusing on what we are able to eat (big shoutout to Hannah’s Restaurant; their Hungarian goulash was delicious), rather than what we are not able to eat, by appreciating the fact that when we keep kosher, it is an opportunity and not a restriction. I think Rashi explains it best; “for the other nations, however, He prohibited nothing. This is comparable to a physician who went to visit a patient, who was incurable, and allowed him to eat anything he wished, whereas when he went to his patient who was to recover, the physician-imposed restrictions on his diet that would ensure that the recoverable patient would live.” So, while yes, keeping kosher has what is not allowed, that is only secondary to what is allowed to allow us to focus on the opportunity Hashem has bestowed upon us in keeping kosher.

More broadly speaking, keeping the Mitzvot gives us hundreds and hundreds of opportunities to connect to Hashem and to connect to our better selves, not necessarily restrictive commandments. Keeping Shabbat is a day of opportunity, not a day of restrictions and keeping kosher is an honor. Lastly, the day-to-day challenges of life are not a struggle to “get to the weekend”. Rather they are an opportunity for resolve and strength. One does not need to view the world through imaginary roses and rainbows to look at situations through a lens of opportunity.

Shabbat Shalom & “Keep Calm and Kosher On!”

About the Author
StevenZvi grew up in Brooklyn and in his professional life worked in the healthcare industry in New York City. Wishing to create additional meaning and purpose in his life, he moved to Jerusalem in November 2020, where he lives with his wife, works in the Medical Technology space and volunteers for Hatzalah. He uses his writing capabilities as a healthy outlet not to receive money, recognition or fame. It’s his hope that his articles will have some positive impact on the Jewish nation and humanity worldwide. He may not live forever, but his contributions to society might.
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