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Dvar for Re’eh (Deuteronomy 11:26-16:17)

Parshat Re’eh lists the kosher and non-kosher animals, and delineates the traits that make animals kosher (chew their cud and have split hooves), the absence of which makes them non-kosher (14:6). When listing non-kosher animals, the Torah explains that while they have one of the two requirements, they lack the second. As Rabbi Frand asks, why does the Torah list the kosher signs of these animals if the non-existent signs are the only ones we really need in order to label these animals non-kosher?

The Midrash explains that it’s important to mention positive attributes whenever possible, even when discussing something ultimately negative. Nestled in a Parsha that mentions the directive to be “joyful” no less than seven times just in our Parsha, the take-away is clearly to be positive towards life, each other, and even restrictions we may face.

Shlomo Ressler