Weekly Letter: The Mitzvah of Kashrut

In the week of Parshas Re’ey, where we learn the laws of kashrut – we bring a letter in which the Rebbe emphasizes the importance of yiddishkeit as a continuous daily experience and underlines some important aspects of the mitzvah of kashrut. This letter is from volume 5 of The Letter and The Spirit.

By the Grace of G-d

University Heights, Ohio

Blessing and Greeting:

I duly received your letter and as requested, will remember you in prayer for the fulfillment of your heart’s desires for the good.

On the basis of your writing, it is surely unnecessary to emphasize to you at length the importance of Yiddishkeit as a continuous daily experience, not as some misconceived persons may think it is sufficient to observe it on exceptional occasions or special days. For, as it is written, the Torah and mitzvos are “our life and length of our days.” Obviously, life must be continuous and cannot be reserved for exceptional occasions or special days. So it is with the life-giving Torah and the mitzvos which the Torah instructs us to observe every day. No doubt you have had occasion to discuss this topic with our mutual friend in your community and will also do so in the future. Hence, there is no need for any more on this, although he subject matter certainly warrants a great deal more to be said.

I would like to dwell, however, on a point mentioned at the conclusion of your letter, namely in reference to kashrut. It has always been known and it has been particularly emphasized lately, that the diet is very important for the general state of health, as well as for the emotional life, etc., and many books and articles have been and are being written on the subject. It is now universally believed and accepted that in the area of eating and drinking a human being cannot just follow his desires and temptations, but must learn to regulate his habits. And this is what the experts and dieticians try to do, namely to prescribe the right diet of foods and beverages for persons in accordance with their type of activity, environment, etc.

As usual, wherever there is human research, there is always something new from time to time and very often the latest findings invalidate previous ones, though it is assumed that in due course the latest may similarly be invalidated. However, laymen can only follow the advice of the experts, as long as they are trustworthy. And he accepts the restrictions they impose, and accepts them willingly and readily, and even pays for their advice, and so on. Needless to say, this is as it should be, since not everyone has the time and capacity to do the research to find out what is good for him physically and spiritually.

In light of the above, how grateful a Jew must be to G-d, the Creator of the world and the Essence of Perfection, Who is certainly trustworthy, for His directives in this field, by giving us our Dietary Laws, the laws of kashrut, which ensure our good health physically, mentally and spiritually. Moreover, these are laws and regulations which we can carry out with relative ease. It follows therefore, that knowing this, a Jew should not rest but try his very utmost to make other Jews in his environment aware of this importance and vital aspect of the daily life and encourage them to order their life accordingly. One of the most effective ways of influence is to show a living example. But inasmuch as other people do not always emulate the example one hundred percent, thinking that for them it would suffice to follow it up to half way or so, the example must be on a much higher level in order to make allowances for human nature.

May G-d grant that just a you wrote your letter, so you should have good news to report in regard to its contents.

With blessing,

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