What is Kosher Food?
What makes food Kosher, compared to non Kosher food
Jewish version of halal food. It is the accepted foods of that religion.
How the food is produced and prepared is what makes it kosher or not. It is a religiously-guided process, and the term itself refers to food prepared according to rules established by Judaism.
Kosher, the English pronunciation of the hebrew word 'kasher', means: fit to eat. That said, the concept of kosher encompasses many different forms.
Kosher can be used as a verb - to kosher - a process where blood is drawn out of meat using salt - of course the salt used is...kosher salt. Confused yet?
Leviticus and Deuteronomy speak, in multiple places, as to what foods can and can't be eaten. An animal must chew its cud and have a cloven hoof. These animals are 'clean' - but a horse is unclean, a camel is unclean, a dog is unclean, a pig is unclean.
But, you say, what about fish and seafood? Well, Leviticus and Deuteronomy say - the animal must swim and have fins and scales. If not, it's unclean. That means all seafood and shellfish and some scaleless fish (think catfish) are unclean - sorry, but shrimp, lobster, crab, oysters, clams, squid, are not part of the diet of a Jew who keeps kosher.
The Torah also tells of which birds may not be eaten - typically, birds of prey are forbidden. And, the Torah mentions which insects may be eaten (locusts - yum yum) and that all creepy crawly things are not kosher - or, to use the Hebrew word - trayf.
Now all of this gets even more complex, as there is an additional level of 'kosher' placed on animals. Animals must be properly slaughtered - and if they are not properly slaughtered, they are declared as unclean or trayf - even if they meet the other kosher requirements. So, if you kill a deer (a kosher animal) with a rifle, guess what? If you keep kosher, you can't eat it. It wasn't ritually slaughtered. And ritual slaughter is a 'kosher' thing all to itself with lots of rules and procedures.
But wait, there's more.
Somewhere in either Leviticus or Deuteronomy (I don't remember) is a line that says: Thou shalt not boil a kid in its mother's milk. Kid refers to a baby goat. And over the thousands of years, this poor line has been interpreted by 'the rabbis' and now entails a total prohibition of mixing milk and meat. So, if you keep kosher, no cheeseburgers. No chili - cheese - dogs. No pepperoni pizza (the pepperoni isn't kosher anyway because of pork). This milk and meat prohibition isn't as simple as it sounds. If a food item contains any meat - that means anything derived from an animal - it can't be mixed with a food item that contains any dairy - that means anything derived from milk. So, if you eat a steak for supper, you can't have milk in your coffee for dessert. That breaks the rule. Six hours must pass after eating meat before you can eat dairy. 30 minutes must pass after eating dairy before you can eat meat. Go figure.
Another part of kosher is the strict biblical prohibition against eating blood - hence the koshering operation by using salt (as mentioned above). So, no blood sausage, no blood pudding, and no rare steak.
And, this is just the beginning. There are all sorts of levels of kosherness - dependent upon where you insert yourself into Judiaism. Most secular Jews could care less about kosher rules and eat anything they want. Ultra-orthodox and Hasidic Jews spend countless hours and dollars keeping kosher. Most other Jews fall somewhere in between.
Kosher just means that it follows the rules of kashrut, or the Jewish principles regarding the types of food that can be eaten, and how they have to be prepared. It does not involve blessing; a rabbi usually oversees the process of food preparation for food that is deemed kosher, but it's not to bless anything. It's to make sure that the food meets all the rules (i.e. grain doesn't have certain insects in it, which are forbidden in kashrut; meat doesn't have any blood in it, which is also forbidden).
The rules of kashrut are extensive and mostly delineated in a section of Leviticus in the Torah.
Certain food is very obviously non-kosher or treyf (e.g. pork, crustaceans, rabbit; these are never allowed) and other food is only non-kosher/treyf because it wasn't prepared properly (beef, for example, must come from a cow that was not sick, not stunned, and killed in a very specific way).
Steven Jay's answer is actually a very good description.
by Rad Man 6 years ago
I understand that Leviticus 12 is God's direction through Moses to the Israelites and doesn't pertain to the rest of us. However I think this text illustrates perfectly how hypocritical some REAL Christians can be.Women gives birth to a boy = unclean for 7 days + wait 33 days to be purified.Women...
by Mrvoodoo 11 years ago
Was just watching a TV show in which the Chef was 'telling off' a contestant for calling fish meat. I think of fish as meat, but I know lots of vegetarians eat fish, what do you think?
by Clive Williams 5 years ago
Should people who defend the rights of animal eat meat?Is it hypocritical to say stop killing dogs in china while in USA and Europe and most countries for that matter, we all enjoy a good burger at our favorite fast food joint?
by Castlepaloma 8 years ago
Sex is spiritual, and nothing wrong with masturbating or even being gay for that matter. Sex is the greatest pleasure of all and one of the strongest forms of expression for your ultimate love one. Experiencing pleasure is not a sin, other forms of body generate pleasure feeling, feeling the sun’s...
by simeonvisser 9 years ago
Is kosher food healthier than regular food?Do they use less artificial preservatives and is it healthier in general to eat kosher food?
by chirag bheda 9 years ago
I dont have a life line in my hand what does that mean???
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