Of all non-kosher animals, the pig is far and away the most reviled. Even among Jews who unfortunately do not yet adhere to all the kosher laws, many avoid pork. In fact, of all the pungent insults and curses with which the Yiddish language is so blessed, one that stands out for malignancy of expression is to be called a chazer fissel (pig’s foot).

There are two identifiers of a kosher animal: cud-chewing and split hooves. The pig, alone of all animals in G‑d’s barnyard, has split hooves while not being a ruminant. Have you ever seen a pig sleep? Splayed out in the mud with an idiotic grin plastered on its snout, it stretches out its trotters as if calling on all to witness its inherent kashrus. And you know what? Pious pretensions to the contrary, it still remains a pig.


We read this week of the impious actions of Isaac’s eldest son, Esau. Some people are just plain wicked; they make no affectation of virtue, reveling in evil for its own sake. Esau, however, was a crafty conniver. He went to great pains to present himself to his father as truly righteous, revealing his true character only in his dealings with his younger brother, Jacob.

In many ways, dealing with and defeating evil incarnate is easier than challenging those who assume a patina of purity. A flagrant terrorist may cause more death and destruction in the short term than one who exchanges battle fatigues for a veneer of respectability, but the moral clarity of being able to expose and denounce malevolence is obstructed. When the Esaus and Arafats (may his name and memory be blotted out) make a great play of declaring themselves on the side of the angels while simultaneously sowing the same wanton wickedness and moral turpitude but in a surreptitious manner, then even well-meaning people can be fooled, and the price paid to eventually defeat them is far higher.


The present exile which Jews have been suffering for the last two millennia is referred to in rabbinic lore as the Exile of Edom (Edom being a synonym for Esau). When presented with outright, undisguised evil, one knows what one must do: take a stand, commit to the battle and enter into the fray with the certain knowledge that decency will ultimately triumph. The reason why this current battle has been so prolonged is because our enemies have so deeply embedded themselves in their charade that identifying evil as such is its own challenge.

Terrorist organisations run their own “benevolent funds” and “charity” outlets. They have their tame spruikers in the BBC, and profess to repudiate violence. It is only when men of conscience will be willing to look beyond this fake front and reveal the inherent corruption, vacuousness and viciousness that those who hate us really represent that the chazer fissels will be revealed as the pigs they really are, “the peace of the brave” will have been earned, and a true era of redemption will be allowed to dawn.