Have you eaten a mouse lately?  How about a pelican?  A gecko?  A chameleon?  A raven?  A stork?  How about some shrimp salad?  Or a bowl of clam chowder? Or a bacon sandwich?

All of these foods have one thing in common:  They are tamei.   Unclean.  Impure.  Tref.  Today we would call them non-kosher. 

In the time of Leviticus, if you touched any of those animals after they were dead (and a whole lot more that are listed in this week’s parsha), you had to scrub your clothing and stay away from everybody till the end of the day.  If a pot or vase made of baked clay (an “earthen vessel”) came into contact with something tamei, you had to break it.

Even a kosher animal, if it died of natural causes, was tamei.

Why these laws about keeping kosher?  Because, as God says, “You are to be holy for I am holy.”

Food for Thought

Shrimp and bacon are both very tasty.  Why do you think God prohibited us from eating them?  Why can’t we eat camels? Or eagles?