Act Now, Perfect Later

March 26, 2018 at 1:55 AM , , ,

“…And the pig, because it has a cloven hoof that is completely split, but will not regurgitate its cud; it is unclean for you…” – Vayikra 11:7

וְאֶת הַחֲזִיר כִּי מַפְרִיס פַּרְסָה הוּא וְשֹׁסַע שֶׁסַע פַּרְסָה וְהוּא גֵּרָה לֹא יִגָּר טָמֵא הוּא לָכֶם – ויקרא יא, ז

The Ohr Hachaim interprets this verse as alluding to a future change in the pig’s nature and unclean status. According to this interpretation, the verse is saying that the pig is unclean for you “so long as” it does not regurgitate its cud. In the future, however, the pig too will regurgitate its cud (in addition to having split hooves,) rendering it a fully kosher animal.

The idea of a non-kosher animal being transformed in the future to a kosher animal is unique to the pig, whose current “deficiency” is that it does not regurgitate its cud. Conversely, animals that regurgitate their cud but do not have split hooves will remain unclean even in the future. This reflects the spiritual qualities that each of the kosher animal’s identifying features represents, and hence the distinct spiritual weakness symbolized by a lack of either one of them.


An animal that regurgitates its cud, thoroughly processing its food in order to make it more digestible, symbolizes a person whose inner character is thoroughly refined and up to par. In contrast, the pig does not process its food as thoroughly, but on the limbs with which it moves it bears the other sign of a kosher animal—it has split hooves. The pig thus represents a person whose inner character is unrefined but his actions are nevertheless satisfactory.

In his current state this person is deficient. In the future era of Moshiach, however, the entire universe will be elevated and refined, including the individual. Therefore, combined with his ample goods deeds, this person will bear both spiritual qualities represented by the kosher signs. Correspondingly, though the animals that only regurgitate their cud will remain non-kosher even in the era of Moshiach, for nothing can compensate for a lack of mitzvos in actual practice, but the pig whose hooves were always split will then become entirely kosher.

—Toras Menachem 5751 vol. 1, p. 352, ff. 78


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