THEMES of Featured Ascent Lights

Kosher Conduct
The laws of kosher food teach us insights about proper behavior as well.
On an abstract level each of us has an "animal" aspect within us that wants to take part in the physical world. If the intention of our actions is for G-d's sake, to help others, to grow spiritually and reveal the spirituality in the world, then it is "kosher". When our actions are not for a higher purpose, and, in fact, interfere with the above goals, it is "not kosher".
Building Up to Holiness
Higher levels of holiness require an even greater constant effort on our part.
When a person works on himself to reach a higher spiritual level, actions that were previously regarded as not so bad are now considered below him and inappropriate. Maimonides hints that after we reach this "higher level", we still have to be on guard and constantly search ourselves for those little details that may seem insignificant.
Shabbat Shemini: Seventh & Eighth
Our goal is to move beyond even the holiness constricted to This World.
The 7 days of the week are also called "the 7 days of tikun/repair" and refer to our efforts to change and uplift this world within its spiritual and physical confines. Conversely, the number 8 hints at a level higher than the existence of the created world, a level that is not confined by it. On Shabbat-Shemini both aspects are combined together.
Beyond Worldly Revelations
The number eight represents a level above nature.
Even though our efforts are limited by our natural strengths, nevertheless, when we invest ourselves completely in our effort (related to the concept of "seven"), we will cause to shine down on us a level of holiness without limitation and higher than nature (related to "eight").
Spiritual Molecules
Would our rabbis be more successful in getting their message across if they exchanged their black frocks for white lab coats?
Forbidden foods are thus not materially poisonous, but they are harmful to our soul. The dangerous components of pork cannot be detected by chemists, and the toxicological effects of its consumption cannot be diagnosed by physicians, but the damage does certainly occur. If we want to think in terms of molecules, we must think about "spiritual molecules".
Related Topics

The larger, bold text is the direct translation of the classic text source.

The smaller, plain text is the explanation of the translator/editor.
Text with broken underline will provide a popup explanation when rolled over with a mouse.