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Rabbi Kalmar’s Message for Parshat Shemini 5781  “It’s Enough.”

So what are the ways that you know if an animal is kosher?  Everybody knows – it has split hooves and chews its cud.  What does that mean that it is Malei Geirah -that it chews its cud? It brings back up the food it has already chewed and chews it and processes and eats it again! This interesting and perhaps disgusting process can teach us an important moral lesson according to the Vilna Gaon.  The message is to be ‘Mistapeik BiMuat’ – to feel satisfied with a little bit.  The animal eats the food and instead of needing to go and eat more food, it is Malei Geirah - it chews its cud – it uses what it has already.  What it has is enough. 

The Vilna Gaon points out that the word Geirah is also found in another place where it refers to a coin -

Esrim Geirah HaShekel – Twenty Geirahs to the Shekel (Exodus 30:13).   The Mishna in Pe’ah says that a Geirah is the minimal amount that a person would earn.  If he earns less than that then he can take Pe’ah, the corner of the field.  Esentially Geirah – translates as to a minimal wage.  It represents the person who is able to take the minimum and make it work for him.

This concept is one that we highlighted just last week in the Pesach holiday with the singing of Dayeinu.  Dayeinu teaches us that we are supposed to say to ourselves – it would have been enough if…   That we should be satisfied with what we have and make it work.  This is a difficult trait for us to cultivate.  We live in a society where new and advanced and updated and the best of best becomes not only what we want but what we feel we need.   Would we ever consider buying something if it doesn’t have a 4.8 star rating?     The message of the animals that we can eat, and the Geirah coin, and the song of dayeinu is that we should find ways to say – I can make due with what I have.  I can be Sameiach biChelki – happy with what I am given. 

Of course, this is for ourselves.  It’s not our job to tell others that they should be happy with what they have.  In fact we should make it our business to make someone else’s gashmius (physical needs) our ruchnios (spiritual needs).

But in terms of ourselves, we need to be willing to say “It’s enough.”  I’ve got what I need.  I’m ok.  If we could find a way to do that, we would save ourselves and others a lot of trouble.

Thank God. It’s enough.

Wishing you all a wonderful Shabbos.    

Wed, May 18 2022 17 Iyyar 5782