Parashat Re’eh contains a list of “clean” and “unclean” animals which became the basis for practices of keeping kosher today. According to Sue Fishkoff, author of Kosher Nation, only 14% of individuals who buy kosher products do so because they are following the laws of Kashrut. Many people simply believe that Kosher products are cleaner, safer, and higher quality, than non-Kosher products.
We may never know the real reasons behind the Torah’s list of “clean” and “unclean” animals. If this list is not for health or safety reasons, then why do we follow Kashrut? Rabbi Ruth H. Sohn writes that Kashrut and other Jewish practices related to eating “stand as daily reminders to look for additional ways to turn the ordinary into moments of deeper connection and intentionality.”
Kashrut becomes a constant opportunity for us to express our commitment to God and to Torah. Let us marvel at how Kashrut links our physical needs with our own spirituality and relationship with Judaism.