Making Sense of Kosher Laws

The origins of Jewish dietary or kosher laws (kashrut) have long been the subject of scholarly research and debate. Regardless of their origins, however, these age-old laws continue to have a significant impact on the way many observant Jews go about their daily lives. One of the more well-known restrictions is the injunction against mixing meat with dairy products. Not only do most Jews who observe kashrut avoid eating any meat and milk products together, many also wait a certain amount of time—30 minutes to a few hours—between eating meat and dairy. Everything the foods touch must be kept completely separate. A fully kosher household, for example, might have two or more different sets of flatware, tableware and cooking ware for making and serving meat dishes separate from dairy-based dishes. Some families even use two different dishwashers in order to maintain the separation. Outside the house, some Jews keep kosher by eating only at kosher restaurants while others have no problem eating non-kosher foods, so long as they maintain a kosher home.

But what are some of the other laws of kashrut, and how are they to be explained? Many of the dietary restrictions outlined in Deuteronomy and Leviticus prohibit the consumption of certain “unclean” animals that either don’t chew their cud or don’t have cloven hooves, such as pigs, camels and rabbits. Likewise, while the Hebrew Bible permits the eating of fish with fins and scales, shellfish like lobsters and crabs are an abomination. Why were such seemingly innocuous physiological traits so objectionable to the early Israelites?
 


 
Learn about farming and dining practices in the Biblical world in the BAS Library Special Collection Feeding the Biblical World. Not a BAS Library member yet? Join today.
 

 
One possible reason may be that the Israelites wanted some way to distinguish themselves from their non-Hebrew neighbors. Archaeological excavations of Iron Age I sites in Israel have shown that while pigs were a popular part of the Philistine diet, they were entirely absent from the herd-based economy of the Israelites. According to Ronald Hendel, such culinary distinctions soon became codified markers of cultural identity, whereby “the Philistine treat became an Israelite taboo.”* Perhaps similar efforts to affirm Israel’s uniqueness lay at the heart of other animal prohibitions.

But according to kashrut, even permissible animals have to be prepared in a certain way in order to remain kosher. As explained in Deuteronomy 12:23-24, for example, the blood of a slaughtered animal cannot be ingested, for “the blood is the life, and you shall not eat the life with the flesh.” The Israelites, like many ancient peoples, believed that an animal’s blood carried the soul of the animal and therefore should not be consumed.** Thus, before a piece of meat could be cooked, it had to be fully drained of its blood. Though not discussed in the Bible, traditional kosher methods for doing this include broiling the meat or a combination of soaking and salting.

 


 
The Last Supper is history’s most famous meal. Was it a ritual meal held in celebration of the Jewish holiday of Passover? Read Was Jesus’ Last Supper a Seder? by Jonathan Klawans online for free as it appeared in Bible Review.
 

 

Kosher law also forbids the consumption of wine that has been made, bottled or handled by non-Jews. Although this prohibition does not appear in the Hebrew Bible, it seems to have been followed as early as the second century A.D. In antiquity, wine was often used in libation rituals to various deities; for Jews this meant that any “pagan” wine could potentially have been made or used as a sacrifice to a foreign god. Thus, in order to avoid coming into contact with contaminated wine, Jews began making and bottling their own wine in accordance with Jewish law.

 


 
The free eBook Life in the Ancient World guides you through craft centers in ancient Jerusalem, family structure across Israel and articles on ancient practices—from dining to makeup—across the Mediterranean world.
 

 

Learn more about farming and dining in the Biblical world in the BAS Library:

 
Gershon Edelstein and Shimon Gibson, “Ancient Jerusalem’s Rural Food Basket,” BAR, July/August 1982.

Mordechai E. Kislev and Ehud Weiss, “Weeds & Seeds,” BAR, November/December 2004.

Thomas E. Levy, “How Ancient Man First Utilized the Rivers in the Desert,” BAR, November/December 1990.

Dennis E. Smith, “Dinner with Jesus & Paul,” Bible Review, August 2004.

Gloria London, “Why Milk and Meat Don’t Mix,” BAR, November/December 2008.

Jack M. Sasson, “Should Cheeseburgers Be Kosher?” Bible Review, December 2003.

Not a BAS Library member yet? Sign up today.
 


 

Notes

*Ronald S. Hendel, “Of Sacred Leopards and Abominable Pigs,” Bible Review, October 2000.

**Bryan Bibb, “What’s a Pleasing Sacrifice?” Bible Review, October 2004.

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  1. Seer says

    These Laws were given by Moses to create an image of a feared and restrictive God Whose subjects are law abiding rather than having a true connection to God. A misrepresentation of the notion of God served the interest of the priests, not the followers.

  2. Kenneth says

    I am surprised that the author didn’t add the additional possibility of health being the reason.

    Without the advent of today’s science, one would not understand the fact that shell fish cleans the oceans and have a potential death threat to the consumer if water reaches a certain temperature.

    And pork can contain up to 30 times more toxins than beef or venison (because of its diet and lack of ability to sweat) and thus a potential health hazard as well and a possibility of the transferring parasites.

    Perhaps God knew best?

  3. Michael says

    Most “laws” of kashrut are rabbinic inventions.. THE TORAH itself (allegedly God’s words) seemingly goes out of its way to LIMIT the particular ban of eating meat and milk foods together to ONLY the meat of a kid goat and ONLY then it it is seethed in the milk of that kid goat’s OWN MOTHER….this is very PARTICULAR in detail and VERY LIMITED –God could easily have just banned ALL meat and milk combos–BUT GOD DID NOT DO SO…

    KARAITE jews who follow TORAH but not rabbinic “HALAKAH” invention/interpretation of allegedly TORAH “law” DO in fact eat milk and meat together except for the one SPECIFIC LIMITATION of the kid goat cooked in its mother’s own milk..

    THERE is NO TORAH instruction for separate meat and milk dishes for any combination of otherwise permitted meat and milk combos.. AGAIN strictly rabbinic INVENTION –though as we know there was a wider NON-JEW specific practice inseveral mediterranean cultures not to cook any milk and meat together in the same (non-metal) pot (I guess the pots were clay or ceramic) because this tended to sour meat and make it taste bad –BUT that was when milk would sour in the hot climates without today’s refrigeration and in any case you cannot use a wider observed preference on not mixing milk and meat in one pot to avoid sour tste as a sort of GOD aversion to some unholy purity problem…
    AND in any case IF you cooke the milk and the meat in 2 separate pots THEN combined then on the plate- assuming the milk was not sour already–that avoids the problem of PRIOR soured milk seeping into the clay pot or ceramic pot and souring the pot such that it sours any meat that pot was used to cook it in…

    In almost every conceivable case EXCEPT the ONE PARTICULAR one that TORAH banned –boiling /stweing the meat of a kid goat in its own mother’s milk –it would seem Torah allows every other combo of the two and cooked together in any manner.

    Remember in Genesis ,ABRAHAM serves 3 visiting angels of God CALF MEAT served with BUTTER –they ate it so nothing “IMPURE” (Non-kosher) to offend the emissaries of God (whter God himself can eat is another issue,but hey…)
    Yes this was before SINAI –but on principle why would God at Sinai ban milk and meat together when BEFORE he said nothing against it and allowed his angels to partake of such delicious milk and meat together at meals.

    FURTHER –even the VERY SPECIFIC ban on eating a kid goat seethed in its mother’s own milk
    limits this ban to ONLY cooking in liquids (seething is boiling or stewing)–it appears the TORAH would ALLOW even eating meat from a kid goat with its mother’s own milk as long as the meat was cooked separately and you just hads a glass of milk with it.

    WHAT we go instead was RABBINIC EXPANSION of a very very very tiny specific ban of one type of combination cooked in one type od method TO a general meat and milk ban and 2 separate kitchens or sets of cookwate and utemsils ..

    In conclusion the rabbinica;lEXPANSION of the ban was pure interpretive INVENTION
    and NOT representative of “GOD’s WORD” in TORAH -nor is ANY rabbinic interpretation of ANYTHING in TORAH a “l;aw’ because the TORAH did NOT GIVE RABBIS the AUTHORITY to interpret what the TORAH meant to be law … IN fact the
    authority TORAH gives to interpret the LAW is given to the PEOPLE (the tribes) via their proxies THE JUDGES that the people shall set
    (VERY DEMOCRATIC and bottom up–not top down from self-proclaimed “experts’ called rabbis)
    —which applied to all laws including
    (logically) dietary and ritual practices IN THE HINTERLAND away from the place where the Tabernacle (later the Beit Hamikdash ) would be located…
    Tabernacle(later Temple) Cohens and Levites were to provide guidance on religious practice to the nation and of course were the authority for ritual practices in the TAbernacle/Temple itself –HOWEVER — the most important and controversial issues of the LAW (by logic INCLUDING religious practices away from the Tabernacle?temple) were to be decided by a special high panel consisting of BOTH the people’s own specially appointed HIGH JUDGE and some Tabernacle/Temple Cohen and Levite officials …IN OTHER WORDS there NEVER was any attempt by God in TORAH to make any laws on the people without some INPUT of the people themelves via their proxy local Judges and SPECIAL HIGH JUDGE on the most controversial issues of law and religious practice!

    THE TORAH never even gave Tabernacle/Temple High priests and Levites who served there the ONLY authoriy to tell the people what to do even of religious practices outside the Tabernacle/Temple! THERE wass always a DEMOCRATIC people’s element.
    (see Deut. 16;18 on the authority of local judges to interpret the law and Deuternomy ch. 17 for the verses on the special high panel of the people’s Special Judge and the input of Tabernacle /Temple apponted cohens and levites to serve on such a panel..
    INSTEAD today we get the TYRANNY of the rabbis who dare tell US the people what the TORAH “law” is …THEY are not authorized–WE never voted them inas our judges for these tasks. THUS the entirety of HALAKAH in TORAH UNCONSTUTIONAL and not what GOd wanted ..

    You could say GOD wanted us to enjoy a cheeseburger –but those IDIOT rabbis INVENTED some power trip bunch of NON-TORAH rules that banned us from supposedly angering God somehow by breaking one of his rules..it is ALL CRAPPOLA …

    Now –can we jews TAKE BACK from these usurper rabbis our TORAH to get it interpreted in the correct way (via Judges WE set to the task) such that IDIOT expansionist and invented rulings
    do not occur so that TORAH is not either made laughable nor made so burdensome that few want to oBSERVE ALL the idiotic rulings the rabbis have set on us?

    THAT should be the JEWISH PEOPLE”S TASK now–not a REFORM for REFORM”s sake or because it willbe EASIER,or less guilt-free when you do not observe crazy rules ,BUT because letting rabbis decide THE LAW for US-IS per se WRONG and NOT WHAT GOD INSTRUCTED in TORAH!

    Of course we JEWS should NOT put any rabbis as our JUDGES for this task –they are “tainted” by bad halakic “top-down” thinking and rabbinic precedents…In Israel they already have judges of the people in their legal system who could act as our judges for this task–BUT it need not be even them -it could be judges from a cross-section of Jewish scoiety (except the tainted rabbis) …

    I am certain that whatever Judges we set to the task – they will be minimalists and not expansionists and inventives in interpreting Torah law AND also using the provisions in TORAH to even elimninate certain laws that only applied in Moses time and may no longer be aprropriate TODAY ..

    THE TORAH–contrary to rabbinic spiel — did NOT expect all laws from Moses’ time to apply forever.. TO say there are 613 mitzvot given in Torah (No two rabbis come up with the same 613 rules anyway but hey -that is another issue) that Jews must “observe” to be Torah compliant is poppycock… The TORAH only says that CHUKOT L’OLAM are the statutes to be observed forever ..ALL the OTHER mitzvot not designated as CHUKOT L’OLAM can therefore be CHANGED or ELIMINATED as time goes by IF the people so want …
    EVEN laws of KASHRUT are NOT CHUKOT L’OLAM! THE CHUKOT L’OLAM are mitzvot pertaining to mainly OBSERVANCE of the designated calendrical HOLY DAYS including SHABBAT ….all other laws are therefore up to change or eliminate IF the people so desire (a logical determination)…

    HOWEVER even the observance of SHABBAT and the other calendar HOLY DAYS (Rosh Hashannah,Yom Kippur, Pesach,Shavuot, Succot,Shmini HaAtzeret) and the laws associated with those days — ARE still subjects for interpretation and to the people’s judges /high judge input to determine the LAW to be observed..

    THUS take the SABBATH ban on no work (LO M”LECHET AVODAH)–what does work mean? THe same today as it meant for people in Moses’ time? MAYBE NOT.

    IT is one thing to rest your animals on the Sabbath so that you cannot use them to travel–BUT has no meaning involving cars to travel today .
    WHERE are you going.. WELL here it is the same if you used your animal or your car to go to work to earn a living –the SABBATH law clearly bans work for commerce because that is not a day of rest –so taking your car to work is banned not because you used the car but becase you are not supposed to work for money on the Sabbath.
    TAKINg your car to enjoy the BEACH instead of some boring synagogue service on the other hand WOULD BE WHAT GOD INTENDED AS A DAY OF REST for his peeps…

    SO NOW you get the picture of what a THOGHTFUL people’s JUDGE WOULD/SHOULD interpret at the TORAH LAW for TODAY’s times…
    AS GOD intended from the getgo..HE did not intemnd to sadle us with some 13th century B.C.E. law that had liittle meaning for our times NOR some later rabbinic extentsion laws as to what was work or creating on the Sabbath or what you could not even touch on the Sabbath –like flipping on an electric switch… IN mOSES time you needed to rub 2 sticks together (hard muscular “work”) to “create” a fire —flipping an electric switch today involves neither work (human exertion) nor creation (because rivers flowing or nuclear fission created the energy in the first place –flipping the switch only allows acces to an already created ienergy source just as using fire created before the Sabbath is OK to cook on per TORAH …

    IN so so many ways the rabbis have gotten te rules ALL WRONG –both because HALAKAH relies on earlier rabbis making rulings from information available only in their times not ours AND because of plain AWFULLY BAD rabbinical thinking on what the rules should be interpreted as,,,

    TO sum up: CHEESEBURGERS–should be allowed! YOU SHOULD be ALLOWED to drive to the beach on the SABBATH and feel you are not breaking any MITZVAH or CHUK .. YOU SHOULD be alloed to flip a switch and cOOK on the Sabbath..
    So so many jewish “laws” to be simply overturned and thrown out becayse they are ROTTEN with time having marched on and because the RABBIS have goten it wrong…

    OTHER things:

    THE TORAH does not comply weraring kippot.

    You can wear clothes made of shatness because it is not a CHUK L’olam and so such a laughable ban today can be thrown out IF we want to.

    WHAT about eating PORK and Shellfish and other non-kosher animals or seafood ? TECHNICALLY these laws are also not CHUKOT L’olam…HOWEVER –for non-TORAH “law” reasons -I WOULD recomend the JUDGES we assign to the interpretation task KEEP these bans as crucial DISTINGUISHERS of JEWS from OTHERS…..as a HONOUR to our ancient ancestors who we KNOW from archaeology DID NOT EAT PIGS when they settled in the land of CANAAN after the EXODUS as opposed to the eating habits of the neigbouring peoples (Philistines tec.).. We cannot prove that on shellfish but let us assume it also held. AS an honour to our ancestors who wanted to be DIFFERENT from their neighbours ,can we Jews not preserve at least a few basic DIFFERENCES ..it seems to me that refraining from pork and selfish is a small sacrifice to make to state WE ARE DIFFERENT and CHOOSE TO RETAIN that DIFFERENCE..

    HOWEVER, cheseburgers, meat and cheese lasagnas and pastas–WHY not? No need to go overboard just ecause some rabbis way after Moses time GOT IT WRONG.

    Most people–let alone most Jews today might have goat cheese at some meals–but here are almost no people of the modern world who
    would eat any GOAT MEAT –let alone go out of their way to find the meat of a kid goat ,let alone to cook that precise kid gat meat in its own mother’s milk.. BREAKING the SPECIFIC ban on kid goat meat boiled/stewed in its own mother’s milk-IS JUST NOT GOING TO HAPPEN unless you are on a goat farm and butcher your heard to boot .NOT GONNA HAPPEN.

    THUS if the CATHOLICS can now eat meat of Friday after the Church changed its “law” — why not the JEWS getting rid of this whole MILCHIX/FLEISHIX fiasco …

    HONOURING THY FATHER and MOTHER does not mean bowng to THEIR stupidity for outsourcing the INTERPRETIVE TASK to idiotic rabbis and blindly following the erroneous and ludicrous HALAKAH the rabbis invented.
    HONOURING your parents would be to TAKE BACK the religion from the imposter usurpers (the rabbis) who have bamboozled us with their shenaigan meshugganah rules for far too long.

    Today ORTHODOX and HAREDI JEWS still follow their rebbes and rabbinates;Conservative Jews
    also claim to follow Halakah theirrabbisadhere to but in practice only observe certain rules on their own time ; REFORM observe evem less rules …BETTER it seems to be IF we JUST HAD less rules for ALL to agree on observing –but i guess getting some Jews (even those who give lots to Jewish causes and charities) to give up their bacon and lobster and shrimp is too much wishful thinking.

    It is sort of like Abraham arguing with God..Pretend you were asking God: ” WELL if I could whittle down 613 to just the 10 Commandments (sabbath observance is one of those) and the observances of the other holy days ,
    AND refarin from eating pork,lobster or shel fish or a kid goat cooked in its own mother’s milk (that is 3 more rules )—that is a total of just 19 rules –Is that enough observance to satisfy you?” TO which God says, “I willl bet you ,you cannot get ALL Jews to even given up eating pork/bacon let alone shrimp and lobster” …..IF we ever get a new Temple in Jerusalem built we would need to agreee to observe Torah rules for rituals there -though that would involve a firece debate because plenty of Jews do not want an abbatior/animal sacrifice system again in modern times AND the health issues involved for the city of Jrusalem….MAYBE a VIDEO SIMULATION of the ancient rites of Sacrifice there would suffice if we rebuilt it more as a mUSEUM rather than as a functioning Temple–but that is the controversial issue par excellence and we do not need to get to it right now. AS for the rest of judaism -we can chop down the rules A LOT -we CAn get rid of HALACHIC idiocies…LET’s at least get that far before we try to crack the Temple isuue..

    MY feeling is-IF we just drop the milk and meat ban (with the one specific exception retained ) it would help in getting non-observant Jewsto at least give up bacon and shrimp and lobster…call it a ti for tat..
    I may be wrong though-as some dfiant jew wi;; say -once i went unkosher I went whole hog-but I still consider myself jewish..
    BUT you see IF we chopped down so many of the idiotic rules,we should INSIST that the few rules we do want to keep MUST BE KEPT ..

    IT is one thing to say to a lot of wholly secular AND to many only part-observant Jews that we shall keep you in the AM YIRAEL because we are so few in the world we will overlok any non-observances and take your verbal and monetary support in the Jewish Community and for Israel
    —so what if you eat pork or shellfish,do not observe the Sabbath–as long as you to to shul at leance once a year on Yom Kipppur ,pay to be a member of a shul, give to jewish charities and causes–we don’t care what torah rules you break–it is easy to say that when there are 613 rules that SUPPOSEDLY must be kept to be fully observant–that is so ludicrous that most will laugh about it because even the more observant can’t keep all of them even if they knew alkl of them …BUT if we only had say 20–50 basic rules to keep it theoreticaly SHOULD be easy to get much more compliance ..
    STILL some Jewswill cry they must have their bacon and lobster.
    I say ask them to sacrifice that and regfrain from eating that to SHOW THE FLAG OF JEWISH DIFFERENCE., IF they cannot sacrifice a FEW wants for their JEWISH DIFERENCE -then why bother–just GET OUT.

    THE penalty for not complying with Torah is NOT denial of your ticket to heave,nor will you go to hell –because HEAVEN and HELL do not exist in Jewish theology (unlike Christian and Islamic theologies)..
    RATHER the penalty is getting CUT OFF FROM THE JEWISH PEOPLE.

    THEREFORE it is entirely correct for the JEWISH people to CUT OFF even jews who contribute big bucks money to THE CAUSE — if those JEWS cannot refrain their desire for just a FEW items .There must be some red line in the sandnot to cross over…

    BUT we can assuage these p[ople that their defiance of LUDICROUS HAREDISM and HALACHIC tyranny
    can be accommodated with a huge CHOP of plenty of those archaic and ridiculously erroneous rules.
    WE would retain ONLY A FEW basic rules and if these “marginal” JEWS would agree to observe ALL the basicr rules we do keep, THEN
    we truely can ALL be TORAH compliant.

    IF a “JEW” says I want to observe nothing in Torah-then WHY BOTHER–that person cannot be a JEW.

    THERE is no point to being JEWISH without belief in TORAH —but WHAT TORAH to believe in? NOT the HALAKAH of the rabbis, but a TORAH updated for the times as GOD intended for us..
    THIS path IS THERE IN THE TORAH …We must take back the religion from our rabbinical “authorities” ..we must DE-AUTHORIZE them –not in reform for reform’s sake-BUTsimply to comply with TORAH’s original instructions!

    So: CHHESEBURGERS –YES! BACON and LOBSTER and SHRIMP -I think NOT …It is a good trade off- and should suffice . NOW let us finally all agree… think of it a CHEESEBURGER and a CHOCOLATE SHAKE ? WHAT COULD BE BETTERTHAN THAT?
    I;m getting hungry already.. Let’s Eat..

  4. Troy says

    The prohibition of mixing milk and meat has a spiritual meaning. The milk represents life, the meat death. Life is sacred, and although death is necessary and natural, the spiritual lesson is not to combine the two together. It is morally cruel to cook offspring in the milk of their mother, which is given and intended to nuture life.

    The Rabbinic expansion of the BIblical prohibition is wise and contains beautiful and deep spiritual lessons.

  5. John says

    The answer the previous commenters seem to have missed (or intentionally ignored) could well be “Because God revealed His holy law to Moses and the Israelites.”

    In addition to universal moral standards (“The Law”), our holy God gave comprehensive life-guidance to the people He called out to serve Him, a people through whom He would supply the world’s redemption. He included what are often termed “statutes,” “precepts” and “rules” … specific hygiene and civil laws suited to Israel’s culture and times, . Bible-believing Christians today hold that the “little L” laws (those dealing with situations unique to the nation of Israel, ie., the ceremonial, organizational and hygiene laws) were completed — “done away” — when that salvation was completed by Christ’s work on the cross. Jesus encapsulated The Law in two simple but challenging standards for His followers: “Love the Lord Your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. Love your neighbor as yourself.” Kosher rules, like the rest of the Israelite-unique statutes, were rendered obsolete insofar as they did not contribute to one or the other of those overarching goals. There is, in a New Covenant milieu, no spiritual merit to be accrued by keeping the Jewish cermonial or civil/dietary (“kosher”) law … a fact repeatedly hammered home by Peter and Paul in the Epistles.

    That being said, I’ve never read or heard any Christian teach that a believer does wrong by observing/complying with the kosher rules. Indeed, many of those statutes form a basic guide health-and-hygiene guide for any people living in a warm, arid climate without the luxury of refrigeration and availability of advanced medical treatment.

    Perhaps “Making sense of Kosher Laws” is as simple as believing that a loving God who offered universal principles for Godly living, would also provide a “maintenance” manual for the people He created, chose and loved!

  6. HERB says

    Whenever a secular entity gets involved in religious affairs there’s certain to be a clash. More so, a magazine devoted to archeology trying to sort out laws dealing with Halacha (Jewish law). What is more laughable is the response of readers who are totally ignorant of the facts! More about that in a few moments.

    To begin with, to state that kashruth has been the subject of scholarly research and debate is a lame argument. Non-religious scholars cannot debate facts unless they are familiar with religious law. Period. Rabbis do not speculate on archeological artifacts. The same should hold for so-called scholars as well.

    But getting back to the responses:
    To Mr. Seer: rather a philosophical statement but makes absolutely no sense. Perhaps you could expound your comments further. Simplifying the connection to G-d via abiding by laws and that the Priests were only connected makes no sense.

    to Mr. Kenneth: Are you still living in the middle ages? The laws of Kashruth have nothing at all to do with health. Get over that hackneyed notion already!

    To the long-winded Michael comment by Micheal: To all the readers I say, please skip over this one. Micheal peppers his arguments with some knowledge but the fact remains: he is has a deep bias against Rabbis, Rabbinic law and especially the Talmud (the unwritten Torah) which explains that which is left out of the written Torah. Why don’t you just say that you are opposed to religious law (no matter what it is) rather than going on a long-winded diatribe against the Rabbis who made sure that after the destruction of the Second Temple we are still around today. Not so the Romans. Greeks, and especially the Karites

    To John: the article is about kashruth not Christianity. Kashruth is not obsolete any more than the Sabbath, Jewish holidays, ritual purity (mikveh), etc etc in light of the New Covenant

  7. Andrew says

    Surely there is a very practical reason for many of these laws. In the hot environments of the Bible shellfish spoil very quickly and are dangerous to consume. Spoiled finned fish is readily detectable by smell and taste, but not so with shellfish. Spoiled pork is more dangerous than other meats like goat and is synonymous with tapeworm.

    Like other ancient peoples, I’m sure the early Jews avoided certian foods and other practices through simple observation of the dangers.

  8. Anonymous says

    This has actually been bothering me for a while.
    Why do people bother having seperate kitchens and/ or dishware, isn’t that a great hassle and possible expensive? (I mean double kitchens and everything)
    Wouldn’t it be easier to cut out some of the food items out of the menu entirely? Like using dairy products but never eating meat or eating meat but never drinking or using milk in any way.

  9. Margarita says

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  10. Mitch says

    When one says that the Kosher laws are in place for health reasons one is secularizing the Scripture. Why not say that shellfish is unhealthy because it is not Kosher? G-d does not tell us why he has put in place certain rules. He just tells us to obey Him.

  11. Dorinda says

    Since I started eating kosher two years ago, I no longer have high blood pressure or high cholesterol. This is not a coincidence. He created us, so it only makes sense that He knows what we should and should not eat.

  12. rachel says

    oh, and us jews keep koshe b/c it keeps us seperate and the animals we dont eat are ether gross or rude.(like pigs.)

  13. Avner says

    This article does not say much about observations by ancient Israelites that in a hot climate, mixing milk and meat has a bad effect on health, upsets stomachs and ends up in more serious conditions.

    As for blood that must be drawn out with water and salt or broiled out, well, look at what happens with a piece of meat left in the open: millions of flies will come and lay eggs, maggots will grow, which does not happen with Kosher meat.

    G-d is logical, right?

    Avner

  14. Avner says

    Much of my miltary duties were in Hebron. I saw what the head of a sheep sold at the Arab market brings around: the blood atracts flies. Flies lay eggs and soon you have maggots.
    Eating a meat with maggots is a sure way to be sick.
    Common sense ancient had. If draining the animal from blood and washing it the meat (and later making a ritual of it), it did not attract flies hence was proper to consumption by Jews (kosher).
    Same with pork: pork meat rots easily. eating pork that has been killed a few days ago made people sick. Simply forbidding consumption of pork (and then not killing of pork and not touching this filthy animal that eats everything even carrion [google]) was the way to deal with the issue.
    Avner

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