In Shemini we are introduced to the details of which animals, birds, and fish Jews are permitted to eat, and we are also told which ones are forbidden. The whole concept of kosher animals, birds and fish seems quite strange.
Why does God care so much about what we eat? What difference does it make to Him, and us, if we eat forbidden animals, birds or fish? Also, what is the significance of the distinctive signs that inform us which animals and fish are kosher? Finally, are there any effects that result from eating meat from an animal or bird that is forbidden, and what are they?
The Torah itself gives us limited information, and we are compelled to turn to the commentaries to try and understand the backdrop to these laws. Rabbi Dunner takes a look at the classical commentators and also delves into some of the more mystical rabbinic sources in order to throw some light on this fascinating topic.