In this week’s parsha we explore the relationship between body and mind.

The husband opens the door to a traveling salesman. “Good afternoon. Who is the master of the house?” asks the salesman. “Funny,” says the husband, “my wife and I were just arguing about that!”

How many times have you met someone who refused to hear about a diet because he or she didn’t want to be told what and when to eat?

We like to feel in charge, but the reality is that the food we eat is “the boss” in its own right, because it significantly affects our minds and our bodies.

As with many things in life, the relationship between the human being and food is really a partnership. We’re constantly reckoning with food, albeit subconsciously, tossing up eating what is good for us against what we want to indulge in.

So who’s the boss? Neither party exclusively. It’s a working relationship, and it is our responsibility is to ensure that we fuel our bodies properly.

Taking this concept a step further, this week’s Torah portion discusses the kosher diet, and in doing so, offers us a novel perspective on food and energy.

The laws of kashrut are much more than a dietary regimen; just as healthy food provides us with good energy, kosher food provides us with kosher energy. It’s interesting to note that included in the list of non-kosher animals and fowl, the Torah enumerates predatory beasts and birds. Have you ever wondered why a chicken is kosher, but not a vulture?

Among the numerous explanations discussed by the sages, the Torah deems creatures that prey on other living things as non-kosher, because they possess a “preying” energy–a negative quality that we don’t want to absorb.

The phrase “you are what you eat” takes on a whole new meaning in this light, deepening the association between food and the individual. Indeed, with the proper guidance, we can control what type of energy we are powered with.

When we are mindful of the dietary choices we make, when we are aware of the finer effects that kosher food has on us, we are then in a beautiful and strong partnership with nature; one that will truly shape who we are as human beings.