Torah In Ten: Parshas Shemini By Rabbi Chaim Miller

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The signs of a kosher animal

In order to serve God properly, we need to train our natural animalistic drive—the animal soul—to stretch beyond its natural limitations. This involves two stages:

a) Split hooves. The split hoof is effectively a double hoof. This teaches us that our actions in the service of God—represented by the foot, or hoof, that propels a person into action—should be recognizably doubled. I.e. when we are involved in any holy matter it should be apparent to an onlooker that, in addition to our current actions, we are already preparing for a higher, more lofty achievement too.

b.) Chewing the cud is also a process of doubling, where food is digested for a second time. This teaches us that when it comes to personal, spiritual refinement (represented by the digestion which takes place inside), we should not be satisfied with one phase of refinement, but we should seek to fine-tune our spiritual sensitivity to greater heights.

The pig has split hooves, but it does not chew the cud. According to the above analogy, this represents a person who has many good deeds, but lacks a certain degree of internal spiritual refinement. Nevertheless, since “the deed is the main thing,” the person’s more subtle problems can be rectified by placing him in a more refined environment. Thus, the pig will become kosher in the Messianic Era, when the spiritual climate of the world will be uplifted, since its basic, external signs are in order.

(Based on Sefer Hasichos 5751, p. 159ff.)


Some time ago Kol Menachem launched an online classroom for Jews on the go – ‘Torah in Ten’. The series provides weekly insightful conversations on the current Torah portion. The class includes interesting commentaries from renowned historical figures as well as modern views in addition to thought provoking and inspiring questions.Announcing his new idea Rabbi Miller wrote: “In this go, go, go world we live in, it can be difficult to sit down and find time to study the weekly parsha. And when shabbos rolls around, we all wish we had studied more and could contribute to the conversation at the shabbos table. Not to mention our children, don’t we all wish we could provide them beautiful insights into the weekly parsha?”.

‘Torah in Ten’ is now available not only from a computer. Asked by Jewish iPhone Community and many more iPhone users Kol Menachem kindly agreed to change the format of presentation so that weekly portion of ‘Torah in Ten’ was available to be watched on iPhone’s/iPad’s screens. Nu, now then, what kind of excuse will you come up with? Torah in Ten will take place every Thursday, for ten minutes. Let’s sum up with Rebbe’s words: “Our task is solely to illuminate the world with the light of Torah, Judaism and Chassidus”.

“Torah In Ten” videocast by Rabbi Chaim Miller – Parshas Shemini

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