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    The commandment of Sha’atnez – K’doshim

    clothesThe combination of wool and linen in a garment is called Sha’atnez and is prohibited by the Torah (Lev. 19:19, Deut. 22:11).

    Though tradition regards this as a statute, a Divine ordinance which is a test of human obedience, Nachmanides points out that it comes in a context of the intermixing of various species, seeds and animals, and may indicate that the Creator has established boundaries between categories within the created world and man must respect the structure ordained from above.

    In a sense one might link this concept to the modern problem of climate change. Early in B’reshit God says by implication that day must be day and night must be night; that summer must be summer and winter must be winter. In human society there are also boundaries; we all have our own distinctive marks of identity and we should not blur or erase them or try to be what we are not.

    The Tower of Babel is an object lesson: one humanity speaking one language is a noble idea, but God ordains that nations shall be separate and languages shall be different.

    Some will argue that this flies in the face of endeavours to unite humanity; the Torah answer is not to reject unity but to argue for unity within diversity. We do not have to be the clones of each other; we have to be ourselves and love and respect the other, differences and all.

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