In Essays

Parsha Shemini | Who’s Hungry For Winged Swarming Things?

Giant Grasshopper
Photo by Bradley Feller on Unsplash

Explore Jewish heritage with an amateur Jew’s commentary on Parsha Shemini, Leviticus 9:1 – 11:47. Click here to read the previous Parsha, Parsha Tzav.

In a confusing twist, the first two sons of Aaron (Moses’s brother), Nadab and Abihu, are killed by God after offering a sacrifice with a “foreign fire” at the altar. That seems harsh. Sure, they disobeyed God’s instructions, but it just feels like Torah God killing off some folks who meant well for the sake of maintaining His reputation as the God of fire and brimstone.

Besides that, a good chunk of Parsha Shemini gives us some of the food restrictions of a kosher diet. You know, no pig or camel meat. Something I didn’t expect to find was this text on eating some insects:

“But these you may eat among all the winged swarming things that walk on fours: all that have, above their feet, jointed legs to leap with on the ground––of these you may eat the following: locusts of every variety; all varieties of bald locust; crickets of every variety; and all the varieties of grasshopper.”

Mmm, winged swarming things. Tasty, right? Can’t wait to see that on a menu.

But in relative seriousness, this did make me think back to those various stories I’ve seen over the years suggesting that the human diet will, over time thanks to climate change, evolve to include insects like grasshoppers. And we’re reading this Parsha at a time when we’re all having to get somewhat creative with our meals because certain things might not be at the store.

I’m not saying I’m ready to make the switch (though I’ve had grasshoppers and they’re fine), but it does seem increasingly inevitable.

Onward with Parsha Tazria-Metzora.

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