People who keep kosher have to pay attention to what they are eating. It makes us think about where our food comes from and what is in it. Rabbi Harold Schulweis writes that “for animals, eating is a matter of instinct; only human beings can choose on moral or religious grounds not to eat something otherwise available.” This attention may also bring us to be grateful for the food we eat.
Keeping kosher may be an important mitzvah, but it isn’t the only one. Rabbi Israel Salanter writes, “Only twice in the Torah are we commanded not to eat pork, yet every Jews knows that it is forbidden. The Torah commands us many more times to refrain from gossip and harmful speech, yet many observant Jews do not sense that they are violating the Torah when they speak ill of others.” Or, to paraphrase my friend and colleague Marc Kline, perhaps God cares less about what goes into our mouths that what comes out of our mouths.