Parashat Shemini includes a variety of topics. Last year we looked at kosher animals. The year before I wrote an important article about behavior in synagogue.
This year, with the junior girls I focused on insects in foods.
First we looked at the pessukim related to this topic.
|41And any creeping creature that creeps on the ground is an abomination; it shall not be eaten.||מאוְכָל הַשֶּׁרֶץ הַשֹּׁרֵץ עַל הָאָרֶץ שֶׁקֶץ הוּא לֹא יֵאָכֵל:|
|42Any [creature] that goes on its belly, and any [creature] that walks on four [legs] to any [creature] that has many legs, among all creeping creatures that creep on the ground, you shall not eat, for they are an abomination.||מבכֹּל הוֹלֵךְ עַל גָּחוֹן וְכֹל | הוֹלֵךְ עַל אַרְבַּע עַד כָּל מַרְבֵּה רַגְלַיִם לְכָל הַשֶּׁרֶץ הַשֹּׁרֵץ עַל הָאָרֶץ לֹא תֹאכְלוּם כִּי שֶׁקֶץ הֵם:|
|43You shall not make yourselves abominable with any creeping creature that creeps, and you shall not defile yourselves with them, that you should become unclean through them.||מגאַל תְּשַׁקְּצוּ אֶת נַפְשֹׁתֵיכֶם בְּכָל הַשֶּׁרֶץ הַשֹּׁרֵץ וְלֹא תִטַּמְּאוּ בָּהֶם וְנִטְמֵתֶם בָּם:|
"To be honest, my yetze hara sometimes encourages me to eat bugs," I told them. They were shocked and disgusted. "Shrimp and pork and lobster are never appealing for me. But fruits and vegetables which might be infested with bugs are very tempting. Raspberries. Blackberries. Lettuce. Taking the time to check my food for infestation is something which requires concentration, kavanah, and overcoming my yetzer hara."
To help them (and me) stay inspired to check produce, we made 'bench-top bugs'.
We also looked at the most famous book on food infestations: The Very Hungry Caterpillar.