There were two brothers, one wealthy, the other a pauper but a G‑d-fearing person. When the poor brother’s daughter was of marriageable age, he went to his rich brother to ask him for assistance with the wedding expenses. The rich fellow was happy to see his brother again, and invited him to a lengthy tour of his palatial home. After a while, though, the poor brother got tired of it, and asked his brother to cut it short. The latter couldn’t understand: “Don’t you enjoy the exquisite beauty of my house?”
“There is a creature,” replied the other, “that wallows in the mud all day. If you ask it what it wants, all it can think of is, ‘More mud!’ You, too, are sunk in the ‘mud’ of material pleasures, and all you want is more ‘mud’, instead of focusing on the truly important things in life.”
At the end of this week’s Torah portion, Parshat Shmini, we learn about the signs which are required in order for animals to be determined kosher. A kosher animal has split hooves and ruminates (chews its cuds). The Torah specifies some animals which have only one sign, including the Chazir -the pig- which only has split hooves. Outwardly, it looks Kosher but it doesn’t chew its cuds, as is required.
Chazir, the Hebrew word for pig, means to return and our sages teach us that the pig will be kosher in the times of Moshiach. How is this so?
In order to understand how that makes sense, let’s understand what these signs represent in our service of G-d.
The split hooves symbolize the necessity to view everything in life with two sides. We should always have the balance of drawing good closer with the right, and pushing bad away with the left.
The rumination teaches us that even with a balanced mindset, temptations are still strong and we need to constantly reevaluate and think over the decisions that we are making.
Now in exile, the animal soul inside of us does not ruminate. It does not always make the right decisions, even when we know the truth. Like the pig, we can have “split hooves” but not “chew our cuds”. When Moshiach comes, we will always be able to make the right decision.
May we merit to see the coming of Moshiach immediately!
Candle lighting time: 6:55 PM