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    Keep it kosher – Re’eh

    A major section of the weekly portion sets out the kosher laws.

    The word “kosher” is generally understood as connected with food, but in fact its true meaning is “fit” or “correct”, as we see from its one and only instance in the Bible, where in Megillat Esther the queen asks the king whether something if kosher in his eyes.

    The notion is that if something is kosher it is acceptable. If it’s not kosher, there is something wrong with it.

    Hence when I gave a funeral address for a relative who chaired the Kashrut Commission in Britain, I said that over and above his concern with kosher food, he was a kosher human being, a kosherer Mensch, known for his probity and integrity.

    It’s good to have a word like “kosher”, because it shows that we have standards and (to use a contemporary term) red lines.

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