Since it is the Olympics time- let’s take an example from them.
There is you and me who are not in the Olympics, not ever even dreaming of getting in to the finals or even into all the meets before even the finals. Well I don’t know about you, so I’ll stick to me. I go to the gym, I exercise and I try to watch my weight, not eat too much oil and then only the good ones (what ever they are at this present moment) I don’t eat white flour (or try not to) and avoid sugar until it is too irresistible. I’m not heading for any training other than a regular balanced active life. So yes I have a diet, but I’m not regulated by any Doctor rules and certainly not by my trainer.
Yet the gymnasts, swimmers, and all the other athletes do have special diets from their trainers, and doctors. They are trying to win and be the best in the world and thus must follow a very detailed diet and probably even have rules what time to eat and when to sleep and etc.
This is the same idea of kashrus. A regular diet; just be careful not to eat a limb from a live animal (one of the 7 commandments given to non-Jews) which obviously is to guard cruelty to animals) is fine and accepted. But if you want to train to be on a higher plane, a plane that has many more details and rules and regulations like our athletes – who want to perform and be the best in the world; the Spiritual Olympics – G-d gave a special diet to reach the zenith.
How does Kashrus build greater people? The following is just few ideas not meaning to be exclusive of the many benefits of keeping kosher.
- The animals, birds, and fish allowed are all vegetarians – they don’t eat other animals. The concept you are what you eat; the concept of not being violent is clear in this idea. (Why specifically not pork see: )
- Keeping kashrus and any of the rules of the Torah – teach moderation, temperance; the concept that a person can’t have anything he wants NOW!. It is an amazing phenomenon seen by those of us that keep kosher; children from a very young age already at 4; can be told ‘no, it is not kosher’ and it is the end of the discussion. Or they can be told, you are fleshig (w/meat -and have to wait 6 hours until you are allowed to have anything milkig). In fact, I can tell you from my own personal feelings; I can try to keep a diet to loose weight and it is hard work. I can see that ice cream and it is hard to resist. But if I’m fleshig – it wouldn’t even cross my mind that an ice cream would be a possible to eat. Kashrus build good character traits.
- Jewish children learn that there is an authority even higher than their parents. By seeing their parents except G-d as their authority – it is clear to children they need to respect their parents because they recognize the rules laid down in the house are not arbitrarily but from a higher source.