Israel Forever

For the week ending 26 March 2011 / 19 Adar II 5771

Liberation and Elevation

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

"For I am G-d who elevates you from the land of Egypt…" (Vayikra 11:45)

In this phrase which appears at the end of this week's Torah portion's chapter on forbidden creatures, there is an important lesson in regard to the role of kashrut observance.

While the usual reference to the Exodus is one of being taken out of Egypt, here we find the use of the term "elevate". Rashi explains that it was worthwhile leaving Egypt if for no other reason than avoiding the consumption of creeping creatures, which was common amongst the Egyptians. This is in itself an elevation, which places Jewry on a higher level than other nations.

While this concept of elevation is applied to eating, it can certainly be extended to all aspects of Torah observance. Liberation from Egypt was not an end in itself but rather a means of elevation. Statehood as well must be seen only as a step towards spiritual elevation rather than just being a nation like all other nations.

Only such elevation can secure Israel forever.

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