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Why is it preferable not to have non-kosher animals around my baby?

by Rabbi Shlomo Chein

  

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It is known that we are strongly influenced by what we see. It is also known that the younger one is the more s/he is impacted by what they are exposed to – and especially visually. For example, children who watch a lot of violence on TV tend to be more violent.

There are two reasons why children are so much more vulnerable to external stimuli: a) they are not sophisticated enough to distinguish between what they see being done and what they are told should really be done. What they see becomes their reality and they don’t have the maturity to filter it or decide to ignore it. b) Children are still “developing” and therefore smaller things cause a stronger impact. In this area, the psyche is very similar to the physical body it inhabits: when an adult bangs his head he might just get a small bruise, but a child who bangs his head, or even just has his head shaken too much, can suffer severe brain damage. Similarly, in the early stages of a child’s life – when his heart, mind, soul, and personality are being formed – the sights he sees leave a tremendous imprint on him.

In the early stages of a child’s life – when his heart, mind, soul, and personality are being formed – the sights he sees leave a tremendous imprint on him
The Lubavitcher Rebbe, therefore, strongly suggested that children not be surrounded by animals the Torah calls impure (the Torah does not use the terms Kosher and un-kosher – meaning “fit” or “unfit”, rather tahor and tamei – meaning [spiritually] “pure” or “impure”), due to their negative energies and their often violent natures. In fact, The Rebbe was so concerned about this that he even discouraged surrounding a child with pictures and images of such animals.1

Footnotes

  • 1. See Sharei Halacha Uminhag vol. 3 p. 223.

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RELATED CATEGORIES

Mitzvot » Education
Torah » Education

Torah
Torah is G–d’s teaching to man. In general terms, we refer to the Five Books of Moses as “The Torah.” But in truth, all Jewish beliefs and laws are part of the Torah.
Kosher
Literally means "fit." Commonly used to describe foods which are permitted by Jewish dietary laws, but is also used to describe religious articles (such as a Torah scroll or Sukkah) which meet the requirements of Jewish law.
Rebbe
A Chassidic master. A saintly person who inspires followers to increase their spiritual awareness.
Lubavitcher
One who follows the teachings of the Chassidic group which was formerly based in the Belarus village of Lubavitch. Today, the movement is based in Brooklyn, New York with branches worldwide. The Lubavitch movement is also widely known as "Chabad."
tamei
Ritually impure.
tahor
Ritually pure.