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Why Food Matters

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Yes, kashrut could very easily be a model for how to avoid cross-contamination in foods. Kashrut is rigorous. However, if one values kashrut simply as a method of keeping the food supply “clean,” one misses the fundamental beauty of kashrut entirely.

Judaism values the physical and the spiritual. They exist hand in hand. It is good to enjoy things in this world, but not if it is done without recognizing the spiritual in it. If eating is merely a physical act – if it is devoid of the spiritual awareness of God’s role in providing the food – then regardless of the quality of the food or the elaborateness of the table, it diminishes us as people and as God’s creatures.

Eating, like everything else we do, demands our attention, our care and our self-respect. As it turns out, we really are what we eat. The laws of kashrut make clear that God is central to even our most physical acts, elevating them to the spiritual.

About the Author: Rabbi Dr. Eliyahu Safran is an educator, author and lecturer. He can be reached at e1948s@aol.com.

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