Rabbi Milevsky's Thought of the Week: Re'eh - 5776
"You are the children of Hashem your G-d. Do not cut yourselves or make a bald spot between your eyes for the dead".
In this Pasuk we are being told that even when we have lost a loved one and are consumed by grief, we must not mutilate our bodies. What we must remember, even in the darkest of times, is that we have a father in heaven that binds securely in the bundle of the living, the soul of the departed, and thus death is not final. Believing that a Neshama lives on is fundamental to our outlook of life and religion. By accepting this teaching and acting based on it, we have the ability to do good for the Neshama, and as a result our relationship with the loved one lives on.
In the next section the Torah enumerates the Kosher species. Our rabbis note that non-kosher food causes our spiritual heart to be closed, and it loses its ability to be impacted by teachings that are meant to inspire us.
Hence, after being informed of the fact that the Neshama is the essence of the person, the Torah warns us to take care of its welfare, and the first item on this list is to observe the laws of Kashruth.