Prevent me from Prohibiting that which is Permitted
Kashrus is the pillar of our Jewish identity, values and allegiance. It drills through to the core of our Jewish consciousness. It is not a rabbinic, ritual or synagogue service that requires formal function. It is casual and constant, every time we sit at a table or grab a bite to eat or impulsively reach for a snack, Kosher is there linking us to our Heritage and guiding us to our heritage and destiny.
The Talmudic sages formulated a beautiful prayer: “May it be Your will HaShem that …. we do not forbid that which is permitted nor permit that which is forbidden”.
The appeal to Gd for assistance that we not err and permit forbidden things is readily understood. It takes however some penetrating thinking to realise the wisdom of our Sages who guided us to pray for Divine assistance that we not forbid permitted things.
At the most basic level, if we forbid permitted foods for example, there is less to eat.
Thinking one step further, by reducing the variety and availability of Kosher foods, we are making Jewish Life unnecessarily limited; we may be pushing some to resent Kashrus, and perhaps even towards eating non-kosher foods.
However, the true wisdom of our Sages is in their penetrating understanding of the ill-founded propensity to see religious transgressions lurking in every shadow, to view prohibitions as holiness and permissions as sacrilege; and forbidding that which is permitted as an ode to Gd; to "play it safe" an act of extreme religious devotion, an honourable and noble attitude - removing every risk of transgressing Gd's commandments!
Our prayer to Gd is a necessary counter to this distorted inclination.
The teachers of esoteric wisdom present this same notion by suggesting that all of creation is energised with spiritual energy, Foods that are Muttar are "untied", they are available and can and should be consumed in order to utilise and to elevated that energy by serving HaShem. Foods that are Assur are "chained" and not available for such service.
Forbidding permitted foods prevents us from utilising those spiritual energies. We suffer by not having access to those spiritual nutrients, and according to some perspectives, the Divine sparks within those foods fail to attain the purpose for which they were created. [this thought proceeds along the lines of those energies being tied to the re-incarnated souls of those who are brought back to this world for additional rectification]
Rabbi Moshe Gutnick says, this touches upon "cosmic spiritual implications that find their source in the very nature and purpose of creation and our interaction with Creation as Jews."
And so we beseech the Almighty - Please grant us wisdom and understanding, to know truth so that we are not unnecessarily cautious and overly strict.
I take this opportunity, to praise thank and applaud all those dedicated to providing Kashrus in Australia; the Rabbanim, the lay leaders and advisors, the senior supervisors, supervisors and office staff, as well as all who produce Kosher foods and provide Kosher services. Their commitment to Halacha and quality provides us with wonderfully vibrant Kashrus services. I am confident that with Gd's help, we can look forward to expanding Kashrus services, and increased community awareness and participation.
Rabbi Moshe Gutnick penned a beautiful message upon which I have paraphrased the above