Parashat Shemini introduces the idea of kashrut (dietary restrictions) to the Jewish people. The Torah does not tell us a reasoning as to why, rather it is simply because G-d said so. I believe it is these kinds of mitzvot that make us the Jewish people. With no reason or justification given, we can view these types of commandments as opportunities to find our own meaning and connection with them. Personally, I view kashrut as a way of making the physical act of eating something a little more spiritual. It constantly reminds me of my responsibility as a Jew and my relationship with G-d, which both teach me to act, speak, and lead with purity and poise.
In college, we have the opportunity to also find connection to and meaning from Judaism within our everyday routine. Whether through eating kosher food, attending prayer services, becoming a leader at Hillel, volunteering, visiting Israel, or making Jewish friends, we must make time to connect to our Jewish souls and identities. That can only happen if we individually take initiative. Let’s each find our passions with Judaism and strive to connect on a daily basis so we can continue to create stronger Jewish communities.
Rashel Maikhor is a member of the University of Maryland class of 2017.