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Weekly Chizuk

SHEMINI

Beware of the Faker

"Any animal that has a cloven hoof that is completely split into double hooves, and which brings up its cud, that one you may eat. But these you shall not eat among those that bring up the cud and those that have a cloven hoof: the camel, because it brings up its cud, but does not have a [completely] cloven hoof; it is unclean for you."[Vayikra 11:3-4]

"And the pig, because it has a cloven hoof that is completely split, but will not regurgitate its cud; it is unclean for you." [Vayikra 11:7]

(From Ha'aros, by Moreinu v'Rabbeinu Rav Zeidel Epstein, zt"l.)

Why did the Torah have to accent the feature of the pig that it has a cloven hoof, which is completely split? A cloven hoof is not indicative of prohibition, but rather of kashrus. It should have been mentioned incidentally. The sign of tumah, that it does not chew its cud, should have been accented instead. This is the sign of tumah by all the animals.

Chazal explain (Vayikra Rabba 13:5) that the Torah is telling us a fundamental trait of the pig. It sticks out its hoofs as if to proclaim to the world, "Look at me. See! I'm kosher!" The pig uses its kosher feature to publicize its kashrus. Rav Shlomo Harkavi, zt"l (Mashgiach of the Grodno Yeshiva) used to say that this is worse than an animal that has absolutely no kosher characteristics. At least, then, it is obvious to everyone that he is tamai and thus they know to keep away from him. But when he has some kosher sign which he can show off to everyone, sometimes he can influence others to believe that really he is kosher. Therefore the Torah equated his kosher characteristics to his treif characteristics. This possuk is teaching us beware from such combination: half kosher, half treif.

Chazal relate (Sota 22b) that King Yannai warned his wife, "Don't be afraid of the Rabbis; nor of those who aren't Rabbis. Rather be aware of the hypocrites. They look like the Rabbis, but they act like Zimri and want reward like Pinchas.

When a person's real self is apparent to all, then people can protect themselves and realize the person is not so kosher. Such a person is not so dangerous. The hypocrites are the real menace. They look kosher and yosher and so are very dangerous.

A ben Torah once went to one of the American Gedolim (at a time when there were no yeshivos in his city) and asked, should he send his son to public school where he will mix with the goyim. Or should he register him in the Jewish private secular school where at least he will be among Jews. The Gadol told him that it is preferable to learn in public school. At least there it is obvious that the other children are goyim and you can warn the child not to mingle and learn from their bad ways. You are Jewish and they are goyim. The distinction is clear.

However to be among secular Jews is worse. They are also Jewish and it is impossible to explain to a child not to mingle with them. They will have a very strong influence on your son.

Gut Shabbos!

________________________________________
Rabbi Eliezer Parkoff
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Rabbi Parkoff is author of "Chizuk!" and "Trust Me!" (Feldheim Publishers), and "Mission Possible!" (Israel Book Shop Lakewood).
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