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    Eating & Jewish identity – Sh’mini

    The portion ends (Lev. 11) with a summary of the laws of kashrut.

    The subject of food and kashrut plays such a large role in Jewish personal, family and communal life that a critic has spoken of Judaism as “pot-and-pantheism”.

    It’s a witty phrase but not entirely fair.

    The Jewish view is that every human activity, not excluding one’s appetite, is a matter of interest to religion.

    Eating in the Jewish way defines your Jewish identity, not just because of sociology (“this is what Jews do”) but because of spirituality (“this is what God asks of me”), psychology (“this shows I am master of myself”), ethics (“this is how I show concern for animals and the environment”) and community (“this is how I show respect for others when they know I will not give them food they cannot eat”).

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