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Kosher Pig?!

Friday, 9 April, 2021 - 4:23 pm

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Kosher pig?! How could pigs become Kosher? Never. The rabbi has gone mad…?
Never, you say? Well, consider this: the Hebrew term for this unkosher omnivore is Chazer. This Hebrew name that it carries, says the Talmud, indicates that in the future, in the Messianic era, Hashem will yachzirena (return it) to the Jewish people and it will become Kosher.
How does that make sense? Well, I don’t know the literal explanation, or if it is even supposed to be taken literally, but here’s a nice insight that I will share with you:
Kosher animals must chew their cud and have split hooves. Chassidic teachings identify the kosher signs in animals as reflecting spiritual accomplishment and lack of kosher signs as spiritual deficiencies.
An animal that has both kosher signs reflects a person whose personal character is holy and refined - and whose actions and interactions with others reflect this internal refinement.
To clarify:
Has split hooves = many good deeds
Now, an animal that is lacking in one or the other sign reflects an individual who is lacking either in character refinement or is lacking in their interaction with others and good deeds. This means that the pig, an animal that has split hooves but doesn’t chew its cud, reflects a person who has many good deeds but whose internal character is not so refined.
In the Messianic era, when the world will be cleansed of all negative elements and will be elevated to a higher state of purity, this character refinement deficiency will be rectified. But, missing good deeds cannot ever be added.
Therefore, our sages say, the pig will “return”; i.e. the person whose personal, internal, spiritual character is lacking will become refined. However if one’s personal spiritual character is well developed but the good deeds are lacking, this cannot be fixed or retrieved retroactively. In other words, as the sages said, a pig (or rather, a person whose spiritual state is reflected by the pig) will become purified.
And it’s not just a handy insight to a strange Talmudic statement, it’s relevant to each of us today too. People often tell me that they don’t feel “moved” to perform a particular mitzvah, they don’t feel inspired. This little Talmudic anecdote reminds us, missed action can never be replaced but positive action lacking sincere intention can always later be rectified.
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