On Monday, March 15, Shevach High School was privileged to have noted inspirational speaker Rabbi Meir Simcha Sperling address its students. In his captivating manner, Rabbi Sperling took the well-known signs of kosher animals and gave everyone an interesting insight and a new appreciation of this mitzvah.

Rabbi Sperling began with asking an intriguing question: “When a nation is treated with cruelty, that nation transforms into a rough and tough nation in order to protect itself. But what about klal Yisrael? We were beaten and roughed up, yet we never changed our nature of being rachamanim b’nei rachamanim. Why is that so?” The answer lies in the food we eat. Kosher animals are tame animals that graze, therefore making us into “tame” people. As they say, “you are what you eat.”

Rabbi Sperling then addressed the significance of split hooves and chewing cud. Why these signs? An animal that has split hooves has two separate hooves, not one that is divided. This is in order to show us that there is a distinct right and left, good and bad. And one must choose between the two. Once a bad action is done, there is no going back, because a highway was opened in the brain and even if a person tries to block it off, when times are tough one usually goes right back to that path. And why specifically should it chew its cud? In order for us to understand that there can always be a very different perspective from our own.

Rabbi Sperling held the girls captivated with his engaging manner and thought-provoking perceptions. In the words of the Shevach girls, “I looked forward to Rabbi Sperling coming, and when he came, he didn’t let me down.” “The shiur was really meaningful and eye-opening. It gave everyone a new perspective on life.” “He really showed us the depth of mitzvos, and of course his stories spiced it up!” “He was a phenomenal speaker! Very interactive and funny!” “It was amazing! He’s such a good speaker, and I really enjoyed it.”

Thank you, Rabbi Sperling, for your inspiring talk, which surely led to a deeper understanding and recognition of the multi-faceted aspects of the mitzvos that Hashem gave us, which make us into an am kadosh.