Creation and Classification: Berakhot and the Rabbis
1 א

(א) לא יטעום אדם כלום עד שיברך שנאמר (תהילים כד) לה' הארץ ומלואה הנהנה מן העולם הזה בלא ברכה מעל עד שיתירו לו כל המצות

(1) A person should not taste anything until he makes a Beracha (blessing) [on it], as it is said, “To Hashem is the Earth and its fullness…” (Psalms 24:1) [A person] who receives pleasure from this world without a Beracha makes inappropriate use of sacred property, until all of the Mitzvot (commandments) [that must be done over this object] will permit it to him.

2 ב

Catholic Grace Before Meals

"Bless us, O Lord, and these, Thy gifts, which we are about to receive from Thy bounty. Through Christ, our Lord. Amen."

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Dear Heavenly Father, we thank thee for the food that has been provided and the hands that have prepared the food. We ask thee to bless it that it may nourish and strengthen our bodies. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

3 ג

(יא) וַיֹּ֣אמֶר אֱלֹהִ֗ים תַּֽדְשֵׁ֤א הָאָ֙רֶץ֙ דֶּ֔שֶׁא עֵ֚שֶׂב מַזְרִ֣יעַ זֶ֔רַע עֵ֣ץ פְּרִ֞י עֹ֤שֶׂה פְּרִי֙ לְמִינ֔וֹ אֲשֶׁ֥ר זַרְעוֹ־ב֖וֹ עַל־הָאָ֑רֶץ וַֽיְהִי־כֵֽן׃ (יב) וַתּוֹצֵ֨א הָאָ֜רֶץ דֶּ֠שֶׁא עֵ֣שֶׂב מַזְרִ֤יעַ זֶ֙רַע֙ לְמִינֵ֔הוּ וְעֵ֧ץ עֹֽשֶׂה־פְּרִ֛י אֲשֶׁ֥ר זַרְעוֹ־ב֖וֹ לְמִינֵ֑הוּ וַיַּ֥רְא אֱלֹהִ֖ים כִּי־טֽוֹב׃

(כא) וַיִּבְרָ֣א אֱלֹהִ֔ים אֶת־הַתַּנִּינִ֖ם הַגְּדֹלִ֑ים וְאֵ֣ת כָּל־נֶ֣פֶשׁ הַֽחַיָּ֣ה ׀ הָֽרֹמֶ֡שֶׂת אֲשֶׁר֩ שָׁרְצ֨וּ הַמַּ֜יִם לְמִֽינֵהֶ֗ם וְאֵ֨ת כָּל־ע֤וֹף כָּנָף֙ לְמִינֵ֔הוּ וַיַּ֥רְא אֱלֹהִ֖ים כִּי־טֽוֹב׃ (כב) וַיְבָ֧רֶךְ אֹתָ֛ם אֱלֹהִ֖ים לֵאמֹ֑ר פְּר֣וּ וּרְב֗וּ וּמִלְא֤וּ אֶת־הַמַּ֙יִם֙ בַּיַּמִּ֔ים וְהָע֖וֹף יִ֥רֶב בָּאָֽרֶץ׃ (כג) וַֽיְהִי־עֶ֥רֶב וַֽיְהִי־בֹ֖קֶר י֥וֹם חֲמִישִֽׁי׃ (פ) (כד) וַיֹּ֣אמֶר אֱלֹהִ֗ים תּוֹצֵ֨א הָאָ֜רֶץ נֶ֤פֶשׁ חַיָּה֙ לְמִינָ֔הּ בְּהֵמָ֥ה וָרֶ֛מֶשׂ וְחַֽיְתוֹ־אֶ֖רֶץ לְמִינָ֑הּ וַֽיְהִי־כֵֽן׃ (כה) וַיַּ֣עַשׂ אֱלֹהִים֩ אֶת־חַיַּ֨ת הָאָ֜רֶץ לְמִינָ֗הּ וְאֶת־הַבְּהֵמָה֙ לְמִינָ֔הּ וְאֵ֛ת כָּל־רֶ֥מֶשׂ הָֽאֲדָמָ֖ה לְמִינֵ֑הוּ וַיַּ֥רְא אֱלֹהִ֖ים כִּי־טֽוֹב׃

(כט) וַיֹּ֣אמֶר אֱלֹהִ֗ים הִנֵּה֩ נָתַ֨תִּי לָכֶ֜ם אֶת־כָּל־עֵ֣שֶׂב ׀ זֹרֵ֣עַ זֶ֗רַע אֲשֶׁר֙ עַל־פְּנֵ֣י כָל־הָאָ֔רֶץ וְאֶת־כָּל־הָעֵ֛ץ אֲשֶׁר־בּ֥וֹ פְרִי־עֵ֖ץ זֹרֵ֣עַ זָ֑רַע לָכֶ֥ם יִֽהְיֶ֖ה לְאָכְלָֽה׃ (ל) וּֽלְכָל־חַיַּ֣ת הָ֠אָרֶץ וּלְכָל־ע֨וֹף הַשָּׁמַ֜יִם וּלְכֹ֣ל ׀ רוֹמֵ֣שׂ עַל־הָאָ֗רֶץ אֲשֶׁר־בּוֹ֙ נֶ֣פֶשׁ חַיָּ֔ה אֶת־כָּל־יֶ֥רֶק עֵ֖שֶׂב לְאָכְלָ֑ה וַֽיְהִי־כֵֽן׃

(11) And God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation: seed-bearing plants, fruit trees of every kind on earth that bear fruit with the seed in it.” And it was so. (12) The earth brought forth vegetation: seed-bearing plants of every kind, and trees of every kind bearing fruit with the seed in it. And God saw that this was good. ....

(21) God created the great sea monsters, and all the living creatures of every kind that creep, which the waters brought forth in swarms, and all the winged birds of every kind. And God saw that this was good. (22) God blessed them, saying, “Be fertile and increase, fill the waters in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth.” (23) And there was evening and there was morning, a fifth day. (24) God said, “Let the earth bring forth every kind of living creature: cattle, creeping things, and wild beasts of every kind.” And it was so. (25) God made wild beasts of every kind and cattle of every kind, and all kinds of creeping things of the earth. And God saw that this was good....

(29) God said, “See, I give you every seed-bearing plant that is upon all the earth, and every tree that has seed-bearing fruit; they shall be yours for food. (30) And to all the animals on land, to all the birds of the sky, and to everything that creeps on earth, in which there is the breath of life, [I give] all the green plants for food.”

4 ד

(ב) דַּבְּר֛וּ אֶל־בְּנֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל לֵאמֹ֑ר זֹ֤את הַֽחַיָּה֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר תֹּאכְל֔וּ מִכָּל־הַבְּהֵמָ֖ה אֲשֶׁ֥ר עַל־הָאָֽרֶץ׃ (ג) כֹּ֣ל ׀ מַפְרֶ֣סֶת פַּרְסָ֗ה וְשֹׁסַ֤עַת שֶׁ֙סַע֙ פְּרָסֹ֔ת מַעֲלַ֥ת גֵּרָ֖ה בַּבְּהֵמָ֑ה אֹתָ֖הּ תֹּאכֵֽלוּ׃

(ט) אֶת־זֶה֙ תֹּֽאכְל֔וּ מִכֹּ֖ל אֲשֶׁ֣ר בַּמָּ֑יִם כֹּ֣ל אֲשֶׁר־לוֹ֩ סְנַפִּ֨יר וְקַשְׂקֶ֜שֶׂת בַּמַּ֗יִם בַּיַּמִּ֛ים וּבַנְּחָלִ֖ים אֹתָ֥ם תֹּאכֵֽלוּ׃

(יג) וְאֶת־אֵ֙לֶּה֙ תְּשַׁקְּצ֣וּ מִן־הָע֔וֹף לֹ֥א יֵאָכְל֖וּ שֶׁ֣קֶץ הֵ֑ם אֶת־הַנֶּ֙שֶׁר֙ וְאֶת־הַפֶּ֔רֶס וְאֵ֖ת הָעָזְנִיָּֽה׃ (יד) וְאֶת־הַ֨דָּאָ֔ה וְאֶת־הָאַיָּ֖ה לְמִינָֽהּ׃ (טו) אֵ֥ת כָּל־עֹרֵ֖ב לְמִינֽוֹ׃ (טז) וְאֵת֙ בַּ֣ת הַֽיַּעֲנָ֔ה וְאֶת־הַתַּחְמָ֖ס וְאֶת־הַשָּׁ֑חַף וְאֶת־הַנֵּ֖ץ לְמִינֵֽהוּ׃ (יז) וְאֶת־הַכּ֥וֹס וְאֶת־הַשָּׁלָ֖ךְ וְאֶת־הַיַּנְשֽׁוּף׃ (יח) וְאֶת־הַתִּנְשֶׁ֥מֶת וְאֶת־הַקָּאָ֖ת וְאֶת־הָרָחָֽם׃ (יט) וְאֵת֙ הַחֲסִידָ֔ה הָאֲנָפָ֖ה לְמִינָ֑הּ וְאֶת־הַדּוּכִיפַ֖ת וְאֶת־הָעֲטַלֵּֽף׃ (כ) כֹּ֚ל שֶׁ֣רֶץ הָע֔וֹף הַהֹלֵ֖ךְ עַל־אַרְבַּ֑ע שֶׁ֥קֶץ ה֖וּא לָכֶֽם׃ (ס) (כא) אַ֤ךְ אֶת־זֶה֙ תֹּֽאכְל֔וּ מִכֹּל֙ שֶׁ֣רֶץ הָע֔וֹף הַהֹלֵ֖ךְ עַל־אַרְבַּ֑ע אֲשֶׁר־לא [ל֤וֹ] כְרָעַ֙יִם֙ מִמַּ֣עַל לְרַגְלָ֔יו לְנַתֵּ֥ר בָּהֵ֖ן עַל־הָאָֽרֶץ׃ (כב) אֶת־אֵ֤לֶּה מֵהֶם֙ תֹּאכֵ֔לוּ אֶת־הָֽאַרְבֶּ֣ה לְמִינ֔וֹ וְאֶת־הַסָּלְעָ֖ם לְמִינֵ֑הוּ וְאֶת־הַחַרְגֹּ֣ל לְמִינֵ֔הוּ וְאֶת־הֶחָגָ֖ב לְמִינֵֽהוּ׃

(מב) כֹּל֩ הוֹלֵ֨ךְ עַל־גָּח֜וֹן וְכֹ֣ל ׀ הוֹלֵ֣ךְ עַל־אַרְבַּ֗ע עַ֚ד כָּל־מַרְבֵּ֣ה רַגְלַ֔יִם לְכָל־הַשֶּׁ֖רֶץ הַשֹּׁרֵ֣ץ עַל־הָאָ֑רֶץ לֹ֥א תֹאכְל֖וּם כִּי־שֶׁ֥קֶץ הֵֽם׃

(מו) זֹ֣את תּוֹרַ֤ת הַבְּהֵמָה֙ וְהָע֔וֹף וְכֹל֙ נֶ֣פֶשׁ הַֽחַיָּ֔ה הָרֹמֶ֖שֶׂת בַּמָּ֑יִם וּלְכָל־נֶ֖פֶשׁ הַשֹּׁרֶ֥צֶת עַל־הָאָֽרֶץ׃ (מז) לְהַבְדִּ֕יל בֵּ֥ין הַטָּמֵ֖א וּבֵ֣ין הַטָּהֹ֑ר וּבֵ֤ין הַֽחַיָּה֙ הַֽנֶּאֱכֶ֔לֶת וּבֵין֙ הַֽחַיָּ֔ה אֲשֶׁ֖ר לֹ֥א תֵאָכֵֽל׃ (פ)

((2) Speak to the Israelite people thus: These are the creatures that you may eat from among all the land animals: (3) any animal that has true hoofs, with clefts through the hoofs, and that chews the cud—such you may eat.

(9) These you may eat of all that live in water: anything in water, whether in the seas or in the streams, that has fins and scales—these you may eat.

(13) The following you shall abominate among the birds—they shall not be eaten, they are an abomination: the eagle, the vulture, and the black vulture; (14) the kite, falcons of every variety; (15) all varieties of raven; (16) the ostrich, the nighthawk, the sea gull; hawks of every variety; (17) the little owl, the cormorant, and the great owl; (18) the white owl, the pelican, and the bustard; (19) the stork; herons of every variety; the hoopoe, and the bat.

(20) All winged swarming things that walk on fours shall be an abomination for you. (21) But these you may eat among all the winged swarming things that walk on fours: all that have, above their feet, jointed legs to leap with on the ground— (22) of these you may eat the following: locusts of every variety; all varieties of bald locust; crickets of every variety; and all varieties of grasshopper.

(42) You shall not eat, among all things that swarm upon the earth, anything that crawls on its belly, or anything that walks on fours, or anything that has many legs; for they are an abomination.

(46) These are the instructions concerning animals, birds, all living creatures that move in water, and all creatures that swarm on earth, (47) for distinguishing between the unclean and the clean, between the living things that may be eaten and the living things that may not be eaten.

5 ה

Michael Pollan, The Omnivore's Dilemma

“So much about life in a global economy feels as though it has passed beyond the individual's control--what happens to our jobs, to the prices at the gas station, to the vote in the legislature. But somehow food still feels a little different. We can still decide, every day, what we're going to put into our bodies, what sort of food chain we want to participate in. We can, in other words, reject the industrial omelet on offer and decide to eat another.”

6 ו

(א) כֵּיצַד מְבָרְכִין עַל הַפֵּרוֹת. עַל פֵּרוֹת הָאִילָן אוֹמֵר, בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הָעֵץ, חוּץ מִן הַיַּיִן, שֶׁעַל הַיַּיִן אוֹמֵר בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגָּפֶן. וְעַל פֵּרוֹת הָאָרֶץ אוֹמֵר בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הָאֲדָמָה, חוּץ מִן הַפַּת, שֶׁעַל הַפַּת הוּא אוֹמֵר הַמּוֹצִיא לֶחֶם מִן הָאָרֶץ. וְעַל הַיְרָקוֹת אוֹמֵר בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הָאֲדָמָה. רַבִּי יְהוּדָה אוֹמֵר, בּוֹרֵא מִינֵי דְשָׁאִים:

(1) How does one recite blessings for fruits? On fruits growing on a tree, one says, "...Who created the fruit of the tree," except for wine; on wine, one says, "...Who created the fruit of the vine." On fruits growing from the earth, one says, "...Who created the fruit of the ground," except for bread; on bread, one says, "...Who brings forth bread from the earth." On vegetables, one says, "...Who created the fruit of the ground." Rabbi Yehudah says: [One should say instead,] "...Who created various types of herbs."

7 ז

אלמא משחא זיין

אלא חמרא סעיד ומשחא לא סעיד

וחמרא מי סעיד והא רבא הוה שתי חמרא כל מעלי יומא דפסחא כי היכי דנגרריה ללביה וניכול מצה טפי

טובא גריר פורתא סעיד

ומי סעיד כלל והכתיב ויין ישמח לבב אנוש ולחם לבב אנוש יסעד וגו׳ נהמא הוא דסעיד חמרא לא סעיד

אלא חמרא אית ביה תרתי סעיד ומשמח נהמא מסעד סעיד שמוחי לא משמח

אי הכי נבריך עליה שלש ברכות לא קבעי אינשי סעודתייהו עלויה

אמר ליה רב נחמן בר יצחק לרבא אי קבע עלויה סעודתיה מאי אמר ליה לכשיבא אליהו ויאמר אי הוי קביעותא השתא מיהא בטלה דעתו אצל כל אדם:

Apparently, oil nourishes. Rather, there is another distinction between wine and oil: Wine satisfies, oil does not satisfy. Wine not only nourishes, but it is also filling. The Gemara asks: And does wine satisfy? Wouldn’t Rava drink wine all day on the eve of Passover in order to stimulate his heart, i.e., whet his appetite so that he might eat more matza at the seder? Wine does not satisfy, it whets the appetite. The Gemara answers: A lot of wine stimulates, a little satisfies. Again, the Gemara asks: Does wine satisfy at all? Isn’t it written: “Wine gladdens the heart of man, making the face brighter than oil, and bread fills man’s heart” (Psalms 104:15); bread is that which satisfies, wine does not satisfy. Rather, this verse is not a proof; wine has two advantages, it satisfies and gladdens. Bread, however, satisfies but does not gladden.

If so, let us recite the three blessings of over it after drinking, just as we do after eating bread. The Gemara answers: People do not base their meals on wine. Rav Naḥman bar Yitzḥak said to Rava: If one based his meal on it, what is the ruling? He replied: When Elijah comes and says whether or not it can serve as the basis for a meal, this will be resolved.

8 ח
קמחא דחיטי רב יהודה אמר בורא פרי האדמה ורב נחמן אמר שהכל נהיה בדברו אמר ליה רבא לרב נחמן לא תפלוג עליה דרב יהודה דרבי יוחנן ושמואל קיימי כוותיה דאמר רב יהודה אמר שמואל וכן אמר רבי יצחק אמר רבי יוחנן שמן זית מברכין עליו בורא פרי העץ אלמא אף על גב דאשתני במלתיה קאי הא נמי אף על גב דאשתני במלתיה קאי

If one was eating plain wheat flour, what blessing would he recite? Rav Yehuda said that one recites: Who creates fruit of the ground, and Rav Naḥman said that one recites: By Whose word all things came to be. Rava said to Rav Naḥman: Do not disagree with Rav Yehuda, as Rabbi Yoḥanan and Shmuel hold in accordance with his opinion, As Rav Yehuda said that Shmuel said, and so too Rabbi Yitzḥak said that Rabbi Yoḥanan said: One recites the blessing: Who creates fruit of the tree, over olive oil. Consequently, even though the olive has changed into olive oil, the formula of the blessing remains as it was. This too, even though the wheat has changed into flour, its blessing remains as it was: Who creates fruit of the ground.

9 ט

קורא

רב יהודה אמר בורא פרי האדמה

ושמואל אמר שהכל נהיה בדברו

רב יהודה אמר בורא פרי האדמה פירא הוא

ושמואל אמר שהכל נהיה בדברו הואיל וסופו להקשות

אמר ליה שמואל לרב יהודה שיננא כוותך מסתברא דהא צנון סופו להקשות ומברכינן עליה בורא פרי האדמה

ולא היא צנון נטעי אינשי אדעתא דפוגלא דקלא לא נטעי אינשי אדעתא דקורא

The heart of palm [kura]: Rav Yehuda said: Who creates fruit of the ground. And Shmuel, Rav Yehuda’s teacher, said that one should recite: By Whose word all things came to be. Rav Yehuda said: Who creates fruit of the ground; it is a fruit. And Shmuel said: By Whose word all things came to be, since it will ultimately harden and it is considered part of the tree, not a fruit. Shmuel said to Rav Yehuda: Shinnana. It is reasonable to rule in accordance with your opinion, as a radish ultimately hardens if left in the ground; nevertheless, one who eats it while it is soft recites over it: Who creates fruit of the ground.

In any case, That is not so; people plant a radish with the soft radish in mind. However, people do not plant palm trees with the heart of palm in mind and therefore it cannot be considered a fruit.

10 י

(ג) יין חי מברכין עליו בורא פרי העץ [ונוטלין] הימנו לידים נתן לתוכו מים מברכין עליו ב"פ הגפן [ואין נוטלין] הימנו לידים דברי ר' אליעזר וחכ"א אחד זה ואחד זה מברכין עליו ב"פ הגפן ואין נוטלין הימנו לידים.

(3) The Beracha (blessing) for undiluted wine is Borei Pri Haetz (Who created the fruit of the tree) and it (i.e. undiluted wine) can be used to wash hands. [If] he added water into it, [then] the Beracha on it [becomes] Borei Pri Hagafen (Who created the fruit of the vine) and it (i.e. diluted wine) cannot be used to wash hands. [These are] the words of Rebbi Eliezer. And the Chachamim (Sages) say, “Whether this one (i.e. undiluted wine) or that one (i.e. diluted wine), the Beracha on it is Borei Pri Hagafen and it cannot be used to wash hands.”

11 יא

(ו) הכוסס [את החיטים] מברך עליהן בורא מיני זרעים

אפאן ובשלן בזמן שהפרוסות קיימות מברך עליהן המוציא לחם מן הארץ וג' ברכות

אין הפרוסות קיימות מברך עליהן בורא מיני מזונות ומברך ברכה אחת מעין שלש אחריהן.

(ז) הכוסס [את] האורז מברך עליהן בורא פרי האדמה

אפאן ובשלן אע"פ שהפרוסות קיימות מברך עליהן בורא מיני מזונות ואין מברך עליהן כלום אחריו

זה הכלל כל שתחלתו המוציא מברך אחריו ג' ברכות.

(6) [A person] that chews [raw] wheat kernels, says a blessing on them Borei Minei Zerayim (Who created different types of seeds).

[If] he [ground them into flour and] baked them [into bread] and [then] cooked them (i.e. the bread) [in water], as long as the pieces [of bread] remain [intact], he says the Beracha on them Hamotzi Lechem Min Haaretz and he says [after eating these pieces] the Three Berachot.

[If] the pieces [of bread] do not remain [intact] he makes the Beracha on them Borei Minei Mezonot and he makes the Beracha after One out of Three.

(7) [A person] that chews [raw] rice [kernels], says a Beracha (blessing) on them Borei Minei Zerayim.

[If] he [ground them into flour and] baked them [into rice bread] and [then] cooked them (i.e. the rice bread) [in water], even though the pieces [of the rice bread] remain [intact], he says the Beracha on them, Borei Minei Mezonot, and he does not say any Beracha after them at all.

This is the general rule: any [food] that [gets] the beginning [Beracha] Hamotzi Lechem Min Haaretz (Who brings forth bread from the earth), [gets] the Three Berachot (i.e. Birkat Hamazon (Grace After Meals)) after it.

12 יב

דרש רב חסדא משום רבינו ומנו רב שלקות מברכין עליהם בורא פרי האדמה

ורבותינו היורדין מארץ ישראל ומנו עולא משמיה דרבי יוחנן אמר שלקות מברכין עליהן שהכל נהיה בדברו

ואני אומר כל שתחלתו בורא פרי האדמה שלקו שהכל נהיה בדברו וכל שתחלתו שהכל נהיה בדברו שלקו בורא פרי האדמה

Rav Ḥisda taught in the name of Rabbeinu; and the Gemara remarks incidentally: Who is Rabbeinu? Rav. Over boiled vegetables one recites: Who creates fruit of the ground. And our Rabbis who descended from Eretz Yisrael, and again the Gemara explains: And who is the Sage with this title? Ulla said in the name of Rabbi Yoḥanan: Over boiled vegetables one recites: By whose word all things came to be,

And I say that there is an intermediate opinion: Anything in its original uncooked state, one recites: Who creates fruit of the ground, when he boiled it, he recites: By whose word all things came to be,. And any vegetable that when eaten in its original uncooked state, one recites: By whose word all things came to be, because it is not typically eaten raw, when he boiled it, he recites: Who creates fruit of the ground.

13 יג

(כג) וְלֹ֤א תֵֽלְכוּ֙ בְּחֻקֹּ֣ת הַגּ֔וֹי אֲשֶׁר־אֲנִ֥י מְשַׁלֵּ֖חַ מִפְּנֵיכֶ֑ם כִּ֤י אֶת־כָּל־אֵ֙לֶּה֙ עָשׂ֔וּ וָאָקֻ֖ץ בָּֽם׃ (כד) וָאֹמַ֣ר לָכֶ֗ם אַתֶּם֮ תִּֽירְשׁ֣וּ אֶת־אַדְמָתָם֒ וַאֲנִ֞י אֶתְּנֶ֤נָּה לָכֶם֙ לָרֶ֣שֶׁת אֹתָ֔הּ אֶ֛רֶץ זָבַ֥ת חָלָ֖ב וּדְבָ֑שׁ אֲנִי֙ יְהוָ֣ה אֱלֹֽהֵיכֶ֔ם אֲשֶׁר־הִבְדַּ֥לְתִּי אֶתְכֶ֖ם מִן־הָֽעַמִּֽים׃ (כה) וְהִבְדַּלְתֶּ֞ם בֵּֽין־הַבְּהֵמָ֤ה הַטְּהֹרָה֙ לַטְּמֵאָ֔ה וּבֵין־הָע֥וֹף הַטָּמֵ֖א לַטָּהֹ֑ר וְלֹֽא־תְשַׁקְּצ֨וּ אֶת־נַפְשֹֽׁתֵיכֶ֜ם בַּבְּהֵמָ֣ה וּבָע֗וֹף וּבְכֹל֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר תִּרְמֹ֣שׂ הָֽאֲדָמָ֔ה אֲשֶׁר־הִבְדַּ֥לְתִּי לָכֶ֖ם לְטַמֵּֽא׃ (כו) וִהְיִ֤יתֶם לִי֙ קְדֹשִׁ֔ים כִּ֥י קָד֖וֹשׁ אֲנִ֣י יְהוָ֑ה וָאַבְדִּ֥ל אֶתְכֶ֛ם מִן־הָֽעַמִּ֖ים לִהְי֥וֹת לִֽי׃

(23) You shall not follow the practices of the nation that I am driving out before you. For it is because they did all these things that I abhorred them (24) and said to you: You shall possess their land, for I will give it to you to possess, a land flowing with milk and honey. I the LORD am your God who has set you apart from other peoples. (25) So you shall set apart the clean beast from the unclean, the unclean bird from the clean. You shall not draw abomination upon yourselves through beast or bird or anything with which the ground is alive, which I have set apart for you to treat as unclean. (26) You shall be holy to Me, for I the LORD am holy, and I have set you apart from other peoples to be Mine.

14 יד

Leon Kass, The Hungry Soul

And how might one become holier through observing these separations? Two suggestions. On the one hand, through obedience: One reduces the distance between the holy and the profane by sanctifying the latter through obedience to the former. The low is made high—or at least higher—through acknowledgment of its dependence on the high; the high is "brought down," "democratized," and given concrete expression in the forms that govern ordinary daily life. The humdrum of existence and the passage of time are sanctified when the hallowed separateness of the Seventh Day is brought into human life when it is commemorated as the Sabbath. Likewise the commonness of eating is sanctified through observance of divine commandments, whose main principles remind the mindful eaters of the supreme rule of the Holy One.

On the other hand, through imitation: God seems to say to the creature made in His image, You should make distinctions because I make distinctions. Because I made the separations that created the world, because I also separated you from the peoples that know Me not that you should be Mine in holiness, so you must make and honor these separations in pursuit of holiness, of more perfect God-like-ness." This suggests that it is also in the fullest rational activity that man imitates and comes closer to God—but with these most important qualifications:

We can discern the distinctions in things, but we have not made them separate.

Neither have we made that power of mind that registers the articulations of the world and permits us to recognize distinctions.