Why does the Medrash on Bamidbar say that the Torah was given with three thing: Fire, Water,and Desert?

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The Medrash Bamidbar says "the Torah was given with three things: fire, water, and desert. The Medrash may have one more lesson that is not so readily apparent that is the Kosher aspect. That is, just as the Torah expects our dishes to be Kosher so to Hashem expects no less of us, in order to receive the Torah. The Three elements are clear illustrations of Kashering. There are three ways to make a non-kosher item kosher. They are all in our Medrash. First comes fire. This is Libun which means heating a pan or grill until it is red hot, so here we have the element of fire. Then there is hagalah, which is essentially submerging the utensil in boiling water we now have the element of water. The most recognizable aspect of the desert is sand and dirt and that is a way to Kosher something through na’itza where (in certain circumstances) you stab a knife in hard soil 10 times. This is the element of desert. The Medrash now has a whole new level in its symbolism now it represents Kashrus.

  • YS, excellent idea that deserves scrutiny and developement. For example, why is "air" the only one of the four elements not capable of rendering an item kosher? There has to be a reason!
    – Yahu
    May 12, 2010 at 17:17

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