Torah Portion: Shemini
“…מכל האוכל אשר יאכל אשר יבוא עליו מים…” (ויקרא יא לד)
It is a positive commandment that we keep the laws of the Torah regarding tum’ah (spiritual contamination) of foods and beverages — to determine each aspect of tum’ah as it applies to food and drink and to utensils that are defiled through them — as it is written: …any food that is edible, upon which water comes, shall become contaminated etc. (Vayikra 11:34).
This mitzvah applies in all places and at all times, to both men and women. But now that—due to our sins—we do not have the Holy Temple nor sanctified items, the laws of spiritual contamination are inoperative for us. Nevertheless, if someone wishes to act in accord with the practice of holy individuals and to be careful to eat his food in a state of spiritual purity, then it is proper that he follow [the Torah’s rules here].