Tuesday, June 22, 2010


A few years ago, a group of ladies had a study at the Feast of Tabernacles about clean and unclean foods. They had come across a listing of foods and food products, divided into categories, with notations as to whether the items were clean or unclean, based on Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14:3-21. In many cases, the listing named what the added unclean ingredient was. By the end, it was suggested that if an item was labeled “kosher,” then buyers could be assured that those items were clean.

But is that the whole story? Is that all there is to it? Do we just look for items labeled as kosher? Is there a difference between “clean” and “kosher”? If a person follows the laws of clean and unclean meats, then are they “keeping kosher”? And just what is “kashrut”? Is it Scriptural? What is meant by “ritual slaughter”? Why do some wines carry the label of “kosher”? They aren’t made of animal products. If we do not follow Judaism in our beliefs, then why should we turn to it to tell us what is or is not okay to eat? Should we really rely on another group of people – or on Scripture? Are the “kosher” laws of Judaism the same as what Yahweh designated in Scripture? We will look at comments from various sources to see what “keeping kosher” really means.


The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Understanding Judaism, Rabbi Benjamin Blech –

Page 236 – “Actually, the word kosher in Hebrew means fit, suitable… What’s kosher is legal and proper. In the realm of food, it’s what’s accepted by Jewish law as permissible.”

Page 239 – “The word treif, used as the opposite of kosher, comes from the Hebrew word for torn. Literally, it refers to animals torn by wild beasts and dying without the benefit of proper slaughter. Traditionally, treif is extended to apply to anything that is unfit to be eaten by religious law.”

Dictionary of Judaism in the Biblical Period, Jacob Neusner, Editor in Chief,

Page 231 –“Food taboos (Heb. kashrut) biblical and rabbinic regulations defining permitted and prohibited foods and methods of food preparation. The outline of the Jewish dietary system derives from Scripture, which distinguishes animals that are forbidden or permitted for consumption, defines basic requirements for slaughter of animals for meat, and indicates how food must be prepared in order to be permitted for consumption. Rabbinic writings dramatically expand the legislation in each of these areas.”

Jewish Cooking for Dummies, Faye Levy,

Page 13 –“Kashrut, or keeping kosher, is the guiding principle behind time-honored Jewish food traditions and remains so in observant homes today. Following these dietary laws is a basic precept of Judaism and is considered a divine commandment that was given to the Hebrews on Mount Sinai. Behind many of the rules is the desire to have compassion for animals and reverence for life.”

“Over the years, the basic framework, which is outlined in the Torah, has been interpreted and expanded by the rabbis.”

Pentateuch and Haftorahs, by Dr J H Hertz, Editor,

Page 448 –“Indeed, the Dietary Laws have proved an important factor in the preservation of the Jewish race in the past, and are, in more than one respect, an irreplaceable agency for maintaining Jewish identity in the present. An illustrious Jewish scientist wrote: ‘It may appear a minute matter to pronounce the Hebrew blessing over bread, and to accustom one’s children to do so. Yet if a Jew, at the time of partaking of food, remembers the identical words used by his fellow Jews since time immemorial and the world over, he revives in himself, wherever he be at the moment, communion with his imperishable race. In contrast to not a few of our co-religionists, who have no occasion for weeks and months together to bestow a thought on their Creed or their People, the Jew who keeps Kashrus has to think of his religious and communal allegiance on the occasion of every meal; and on every such occasion the observance of those laws constitutes a renewal of acquiescence in the fact that he is a Jew, and a deliberate acknowledgement of that fact’ (Haffkine).”

What Do Jews Believe?, David S. Ariel,

Page 177 –“Food has to be inspected at every stage of the process by a mashgiach (kosher supervisor to assure that everything is being done according to Halakhah). Packaged goods, which often contain many ingredients, are inspected and certified as kosher by several local and national Orthodox rabbinic organizations. Many kosher-observant Jews will purchase only certified kosher products. Many Orthodox Jews will only eat out in kosher restaurants, while other kosher-observant Jews will eat in regular restaurants but order only dairy, fish, or uncooked items. There are many other kosher rules that go into great detail about Jewish food rituals.”

“The rabbinic tradition also sees the dietary laws as a means of reinforcing the distinctiveness of Israel and their separation from other peoples.”

A History of Judaism, Daniel Jeremy Silver, volume 1,

Page 196 –“The period between Alexander’s conquest and the fall of the Temple produced the Sanhedrin, a rudimentary juridic council with powers to define the community’s Torah obligation. Judaism had a religious calendar, some agreed practices (many practices which are today considered traditional – kashrut, the recitation on Passover of the Haggadah, tefillin – were intensely developed only during this period), a priesthood, a central shrine, a revealed law, and a growing canon of prophetic and historical writings.”


Suppose a person has a herd of cattle or a flock of sheep or goats and wants to have meat for a planned event. Can they slaughter the animal themselves? For thousands of years, people had to hunt or kill domesticated animals for food. Is it proper, according to Judaism, for anyone to kill an animal for food?

The Torah: A Modern Commentary, W Gunther Plaut, Editor,
Page 972 –“For centuries, any Jew, man or woman, was permitted to slaughter; later, this right was restricted to qualified slaughterers (shochetim), licensed and supervised by the rabbinate of the community.”

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Understanding Judaism, Rabbi Benjamin Blech,
Page 240 –“For a kosher animal to be eaten it must be slaughtered by the method known as shechitah. This is a procedure designed to cause the least suffering to the animal. It requires a perfectly sharpened blade, free from the slightest nick or unevenness. The knife moves quickly over the wind and food pipes in a fraction of a second, severing the trachea, the esophagus, the two vagus nerves, as well as both carotid arteries and the jugular veins.”

“Long before there were any societies for the prevention of cruelty to animals, Jewish law insisted on a humane death for all living things. The penalty for not obeying? You can’t eat the animal, it just isn’t kosher.”

“The Torah forbids the eating of the blood that courses through the body, in any form. Before meat can be eaten, it has to be soaked and salted – soaked to loosen it and allow it to properly absorb, and salted to cause the blood to exude and be drained off.”

Is It Kosher?, Rabbi E. Eidlitz –
Pages 76-77 – “Ritual slaughter of animals differs in many ways from common techniques of slaughter. In ritual slaughter, we find caution and detail in every act. In this rabbinically supervised slaughter, the animal is killed with a knife. In this act we emphasize Jewish respect for the dignity of life. Great care is taken to use a knife that has been properly sharpened. The blade must be flawless, without a nick, and perfectly smooth, thus assuring that the kill will be quick, clean and painless to the animal.”

“This entire process begins with the shochet (ritual slaughterer) inspecting the knife for possible flaws and nicks. He does this by running the edge of his fingernail and finger up and down the blade. The slightest nick means that the knife must be resharpened. After this, he recites a short berachah before beginning the actual shechitah.”

“This knife (chalaf) is usually about 6 inches long for chickens and 18 inches long for larger animals. The knife has no point at the end of it, and is of equal width from top to bottom. These precautions are necessary in order to guarantee that the neck of the animal will not be torn. The shochet must cut through the trachea and esophagus to the jugular vein very quickly and in a clean fashion. He must not kill the animal by stabbing it.”

“The animal’s neck is first washed thoroughly to remove any sand or dirt particles in the fur which could cause a nick in the knife during slaughter. The shochet’s hand must be very steady, and he must employ one continuous movement, carefully avoiding the spine.”

Pages 78-79 --“There are eight types of mortal injury that render an animal unfit to be eaten by the kosher consumer.” These are listed as:
  1. Derussah. Poisonous substance introduced into the body by an animal of prey hacking with its claws.
  2. Nikuvah. Organ walls perforated.
  3. Chassarah. Complete organs or parts of them lacking.
  4. Netulah. Organs or part of them having been removed.
  5. Keru’ah. Walls or covers of organs torn.
  6. Nefulah. Shattered by a fall.
  7. Pasdanah. Pipes split.
  8. Shevurah. Fracture in bones.

Page 79 – “Before koshering meat, we must remove the blood vessels, nerves and fats that are forbidden to eat. This includes the sciatic nerve, gid hanasheh (Bereishis 32:22). Generally, treibering is done on the forequarter because there are so many areas in the hindquarter that would have to be removed that it is not economically feasible. In Israel, many people specialize in treibering (nikkur) the hindquarter, but in America the hindquarter is generally sold for exclusively non-kosher use.”

Page 80 – “In order to kasher meat, it first must be soaked and salted. The first step in soaking is to wash off all of the blood. Soaking is done to enable the pores to open. The following are some important points in the process of soaking:
  1. First, the meat should be rinsed of all surface blood, then it can be soaked. The water should be at room temperature, in a vessel not normally used for cooking food. The meat should then be soaked for half an hour. Afterwards, the water should be shaken off so that it will not dilute the salt. Then the meat should be salted and left to stand for one hour.
  2. Kashering must be done within 72 hours of shechitah, while the meat is fresh (not frozen). After that time, it can be kashered over an open fire. (Sprinkle a little salt on it before koshering on the fire.)
  3. The salt used for should be medium coarse.
  4. After salting, one should rinse the meat 3 times.”

Observant Jews will not eat meat products and dairy products at the same meal. They do not eat cheeseburgers or a pizza with both meat and cheese. If they are having meat at a meal, they will not offer coffee because of the cream that is often used in it. And why would they have two sets of dishes?

To Be A Jew, Rabbi Hayim Halevy Donin,
Page 112 –“From the thrice-stated commandment in Scripture that ‘You shall not boil a kid in its mother’s milk’ (Exodus 23:19, 34:26; Deut. 14:21), the Oral Torah derived the prohibition against cooking meat and milk together, against eating such a meat and milk mixture, and against deriving any benefit from such a meat and milk mixture.”

“(Although milk that comes from a kosher animal is permitted, it is precisely this kosher milk, which when mixed with the meat of kosher cattle, sheep, or goats that the Torah forbids. Rabbinical ordinances were enacted as ‘fences’ to safeguard the observance of this commandment, and these are reflected in the practices followed in a kosher household.)”

“Although fowl was not included in the Biblical prohibition, rabbinic decree extended the prohibition of meat-milk mixing to include fowl as well. Use of the term meat therefore refers also to fowl in all instances.”

The Torah: A Modern Commentary, W Gunther Plaut, Editor,
Page 973 –“Talmudic law requires separate utensils for milk and meat if the containers are of porous material, such as unglazed pottery or wood. (Utensils of other material, e.g., metal, can be ‘koshered’ and then used for either milk or meat.) Acceptable custom, however, is much stricter. Though glass is admittedly nonporous and as such could be used for both milk and meat – and the same would apply to glazed china as long as it is uncracked – it is nevertheless customary to have separate dishes, tableware, and cooking utensils for milchig and fleischig foods. Two additional sets, further, are needed for Passover use.”

Living Judaism, Rabbi Wayne Dosick,
Pages 260-262 –“Since it became impossible to tell which baby goat and which mother’s milk were related, the law was extended to say that no animal (meat) should be cooked in any milk (dairy). The law was extended even further to say that meat and dairy should not be eaten together. In time, the prohibition against mixing and eating milk and meat together became firmly implanted as one of the central rules of kashrut.”

“Modern scholarship has finally uncovered the reason for the original Torah law prohibiting seething a kid in its mother’s milk. Seemingly, boiling a baby goat in its mother’s milk (or, at the very least, boiling meat in milk) was both a pagan form of hospitality and a pagan form of worship. The Torah is saying, ‘Do not behave or worship the Lord your God in the same way that the pagans behave or worship their pagan gods’.”

“With this newfound understanding, it could be argued that there was never any Torah-based prohibition against eating meat and dairy together, and certainly no requirement to have separate sets of dishes and utensils. This contention could lead to the discarding of the laws of basar v’chalav, meat and milk. However – whatever their original intent – the laws prohibiting the eating of dairy and meat together have been observed by Jews for centuries, sanctified over time, and have taken on their own unique and distinctive Jewish characteristics and validity. They continue to be followed by Jews who are committed to kashrut observance.”

Jewish Cooking for Dummies, Faye Levy,
Page 14 –“…a frequent step in the process of making hard cheeses, such as Parmesan, involves using a product called rennet to help coagulate the milk. Traditionally, rennet is an animal product and is considered meat, and therefore its presence makes cheese not kosher.”

Is It Kosher?, Rabbi E Eidlitz,
Pages 232-233 –“All of the many varieties of commercially prepared cheeses available to today’s consumer are produced by the same basic process, an ancient and efficient one. A type of bacteria, known in the cheese trade as a “starter,” is added to a quantity of milk, souring it. In chemist’s terms, the lactose in the milk turns to lactic acid. Next, a curdling agent is added which coagulates part of the milk, and separates it from a watery liquid known as whey. Whereas this mixture may be sufficiently processed for the likes of Miss Muffet, cheese aficionados prefer the results which come when the whey is drawn off and the curds are treated in a variety of fashions, resulting in a variety of cheeses.”

”The second step in the above process, the addition of the curdling agent, is where the kashrus question arises.”

“The most common curdling agent, known as rennet, generally comes from animal sources, specifically the lining of the stomachs of calves. Such an exotic ingredient is necessary because the enzymes therein are the only chemicals known to efficiently and effectively curdle milk. It seems that long ago, people realized this fact when they saw recently suckled milk curdling in the stomach of a just slaughtered calf and they experimented with scrapings of the stomach lining. Anthropology aside, the fact that there are kashrus implications in the use of rennet is obvious.”

“If the source of rennet is a kosher species of animal, ritually slaughtered under rabbinical supervision, it may be used to turn milk into cheese. For rather involved halachic reasons, there is no problem of meat and milk mixing in such usage. Likewise, if rennet is extracted, as it occasionally is, from vegetable sources, there is no question as to the kashrus of the cheese when it is produced under rabbinical supervision.”

“However, most commercial cheeses (except those produced under rabbinical supervision) are made with rennet derived from animals slaughtered by conventional non-kosher means.”

Dictionary of Judaism in the Biblical Period, Jacob Neusner, Editor in Chief,
Page 232 –“Food preparation is governed by the principle that meat and dairy products may neither be cooked together nor even prepared in nor served on the same utensils. The Talmud even prohibits the consumption of milk after meat during the same meal (B. Hullin 105a). The rule requiring separate dishes intends to prevent the actual mixing of the food or the imparting of a dairy taste to meat or vice versa. In the earliest formulation of the law, such mixing of utensils renders the food prohibited only if the taste of milk actually is detectable in meat or vice versa (T. Terumot 8:16). In later practices, even in the case in which no impermissible flavor is imparted to the other food, that food is deemed forbidden.”

The Torah: A Modern Commentary, W Gunther Plaut –
Page 594 – Regarding Deut 14:21 – “Long ago Maimonides, judging the law in its context, suspected that what was at stake here was another attempt to discourage idolatry. His analysis appears to have been given support by a Ugaritic text that describes a prevailing Canaanite sacrificial rite. The text, which is defective, has been read to say: ‘On the fire seven times the young men boil a kid in milk, a lamb in butter.’ Boiling a kid in this way might therefore have been considered part of the ‘abominations’ of the nations against which Israel was warned so often and so insistently. Such a practice had possibly wide currency, for many centuries later it was still a magical procedure to sprinkle milk boiled in such fashion on trees, fields, and orchards in order to assure their fertility.”

“Whether or not later generations were still aware of the original intent of the law (whatever it was), they came to consider it the fundamental proof text for the dietary halachah that forbade the mixing of any milk with meat and, thus, provided an observance certainly never contemplated when the injunction was first formulated. (Reform Jews have generally disregarded this halachah.)”

Another part of this rule on meat and milk brought about another problem – using dishes, silverware, pots, pans, sinks, etc., for both of those things. A solution was found for that dilemma. The sages determined that each kitchen must have a set of dishes, pots, pans, silverware, glasses, etc for meat dishes and another separate set for milk dishes. And they were not to be used interchangeably.

That also includes separate sinks, if possible. If not, a plastic pan may be used so that the items don’t touch the sink already “contaminated” by the other foods. Separate containers and blades are required for blenders. All sorts of kitchen items have rules for how they must be “koshered” after use.

My first glimpse of this was on a trip to Israel, in the hotels. To avoid the mixing of milk and meat, they do not even serve coffee if the meal has a meat dish, including breakfast. That way no one could even accidentally mix the milk and meat by using cream in the coffee and eating the meat served.

Another incident was at an open-air food court area in Jerusalem. The pizza place had two doors. A person going in one door could order a cheese pizza without meat. Or the individual could go in the other door and get a meat pizza, minus the cheese. Of course, what was to stop anyone from buying one of each and eating them together???

Now another question. Can foods be clean, but not kosher? In a local grocery store in the United States there is a package of small beef sausages that appears to be clean – no unclean ingredients are listed on the label. In a call to the producer, it was learned that there was absolutely no pork or any other unclean item in the food. So why didn’t it carry a kosher symbol? There are two possible answers. One would be that the beef used had not been slaughtered according to the laws of Judaism. The other would be because one ingredient listed was a small amount of milk. The sausage is clean, according to Yahweh’s rules, but not kosher according to kashrut rules.


Are there any “clean” meats that are forbidden by Judaism?

Living Judaism, Rabbi Wayne Dosick,
Page 258, regarding Genesis 32:32 –“But Jacob was injured during the altercation, and he limped for the rest of his life. So the Torah commands, ‘Therefore the Children of Israel do not eat of the thigh muscle, which is on the hollow of the thigh [probably meaning the hip socket] unto this day, because Jacob was injured at the thigh muscle’ (Genesis 32:32).”

"Thus even if the animal is a permitted animal, and even if it is slaughtered according to the laws of shechitah, and even if the blood is properly drained and the fat removed, Jews are still prohibited from eating the hindquarter of the animal. This means that cuts of meat from the forequarter of the animal, such as shoulder steak and chuck steak, are kosher; but popular cuts of meat from the hindquarter, such as sirloin steak, porterhouse steak, T-bone steak, and filet mignon, are not kosher.”

“To be kosher, meat must satisfy all these requirements. Kosher meat is available only from kosher butcher shops (or frozen in a package that is certified as kosher) or from a kosher restaurant. Meat in the meat department of a regular supermarket is not kosher – even though it is from a permitted animal and is a permitted cut – because it was not slaughtered properly.”

A Commentary on the Old and New Testaments, by Robert Jamieson, A.R. Fausset and David Brown,
Page 216, regarding Genesis 32:32 –“The practice of the Jews in abstaining from eating this in the flesh of animals is not founded on the law of Moses, but is merely a traditional usage. The sinew is carefully extracted; and where there are no persons skilled enough for that operation, they do not make use of the hind legs at all. Abstinence from this particular article of animal food is universally practiced by the Jews, and is so peculiar a custom in their daily observance, that the readers of ‘The Jews in China’ will remember, the worship of that people is designated by the name of Teaou-kin-keaou, or ‘Pluck-sinew-religion’.”


Yahweh’s laws label only animals as clean or unclean. He gives no such designation on any fruit, vegetable, grain, etc. So what is meant by “kosher wine”?

Living Judaism, Rabbi Wayne Dosick,
Page 262 –“Wine production must be certified and supervised to be kosher. It might be presumed that all wine is kosher because wine is made of grapes or other fruits, which (like all vegetables and fruits) are kosher. But the kashrut of wine is not determined from its ingredients, but by how its production is supervised and certified.”

“Judaism wanted to be sure that any wine used for Jewish ritual purposes was never used or tainted by pagan worshipers. So Judaism required that its ritual wine be carefully supervised in all phases: the planting of the vines, the growing of the grapes, the harvest, the winemaking, the barreling, the bottling, and finally, the pouring. All of these tasks had to be performed by Jews, and supervised and certified by rabbinic authorities. Today this entire process of thorough supervision is still required in order for a wine to be certified as kosher.”

“Traditional Jews drink only kosher wine, both for ritual purposes and as a beverage, and still insist that the wine be poured from bottle to glass by a Jew.”

Is It Kosher?, Rabbi E Eidlitz,
Page 209 –“The Halachah is that wine not only must be made from kosher ingredients, it also must be produced by a shomer Shabbos Jew. If it comes in contact with any other type of person before it is pasteurized, it is rendered non-kosher. Due to this stringent halachah, strict kashrus supervision is required throughout all stages of the wine-manufacturing process until the final bottling.”

“An interesting prohibition concerning wines relates to the status of boiled wine. Kosher wine that has been cooked before any contact with a non-Jew is exempted from the injunction. Boiled wine is considered “improper” to be offered as a libation to an idol: therefore, if a non-Jew subsequently came into contact with boiled wine, the wine is still permissible to drink. Many kosher wines today bear markings to indicate that they have been boiled. In such a case, it will state on the label “yayin mevushal” (boiled wine). Extra caution should be taken with a kosher wine that has not been previously boiled, lest a non-Jew or a Jew who is not shomer Shabbos come in contact with the bottle of wine (maid, etc.).”


Rather than basing beliefs only on Torah alone, Judaism uses added books. The Mishnah was compiled about 300 C.E. It was a collection of the sages’ interpretations of Yahweh’s laws, expanded to cover all situations they could think of at the time. The Talmud, compiled about 400-500 C.E. is a commentary on the Mishnah done by various rabbis giving their opinions and arguments. Here are some interesting quotes from the Talmud.

The Talmud, The Steinsaltz Edition, by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz –
Page 152 -- [Hidush] “Lit. novelty. A unique law that differs from seemingly comparable laws in the Torah. For example, the law prohibiting the consumption of meat and milk mixtures is a [hidush], since each component of the mixture is itself permitted, and only when these components are mixed is the resulting food prohibited. Other prohibited foods, by contrast, are not produced by mixing permissible. And since a [hidush] is by definition unique, no exegetical inferences can be drawn from such cases.”
Page 167 – [betul esurim] “Lit., the nullification of prohibitions. The neutralization of the prohibition on a forbidden item when it becomes mixed with other entities; for example, when forbidden food is mixed with permitted food. When a prohibited item is mixed together with other items and can no longer be singled out as an individual unit, the mixture may sometimes be permitted for use. The circumstances under which the mixture containing the prohibited item becomes permitted depending upon the nature of the prohibition and the nature of the mixture. Some prohibited items become permitted in a mixture: (1) where there is a simple majority of permitted substances; or (2) where the taste of the forbidden substance is no longer discernible; or (3) where the permitted substances are 60 times the quantity of the prohibited substance; or (4) where the permitted substances are 100 times the quantity of the prohibited; or (5) where the permitted substances are 200 times the quantity of the prohibited. Certain prohibited items or substances can never be neutralized, however much the permitted substances are greater than the prohibited (e.g., hametz on Pesah). The neutralization of a prohibited item when mixed with a permitted item can only take effect if the mixture was accidentally created – one may not intentionally effect such a neutralization. A prohibited item can also be neutralized when it loses its importance. For example, a forbidden food may become permitted when it is no longer fit for consumption.”
Page 173 – [basar b’halav] ”Lit., meat in milk. The Torah mentions the prohibition against ‘boiling a kid in its mother’s milk’ 3 times (Exodus 23:19, 34:26; Deuteronomy 14:21). The first is explained by the Sages as referring to the prohibition against cooking a mixture of meat and milk; the second refers to the prohibition against eating such a mixture; and the third refers to the prohibition against deriving benefit from it. By Torah law, these prohibitions only apply to mixtures of milk and meat of kosher domestic animals [behemah tehorah]. The Sages, however, also forbade the eating of mixtures of milk and kosher fowl or kosher non-domesticated animals [chayah tehorah], but it is permissible to benefit from such mixtures. Similarly, though the Torah prohibition only refers to an actual mixture cooked together, the Sages extended the prohibition and forbade eating milk products until a significant period of time has passed since the eating of meat (6 hours, according to the common custom).”
Page 176 – [gid hanasheh] “The sciatic nerve [nervus schiadicus, running down the back of the hind leg of an animal]. One of the parts of kosher domestic [behemah tehorah] and non-domestic [chayah tehorah] animals which is forbidden by Torah law to be eaten (Genesis 32:33). In addition to the nerve itself, it is customary not to eat any of its branches or the fat that encloses it.”
Page 217 -- [melichah] “Salting. The salting of food to make it fit for consumption or sacrifice. (1) In order to make the meat of domestic and non-domestic animals and of poultry fit for eating, the meat must be salted before being cooked, so that the salt will absorb the blood found in the meat. After salting, the meat is rinsed. (2) With reference to sacrifices, any offering placed on the altar must have some salt added to it, so as to fulfill the Torah commandment, ‘With all your offerings you shall offer salt’ (Leviticus 2:13).”
Page 221 – [ma’amid] “Binder, ingredient that curdles, supporter. Ordinarily, if a minute quantity of non-kosher food serves as a curdling agent and gives the kosher food consistency (e.g., if non-kosher rennet was used in the making of cheese), then the resulting mixture is not kosher, no matter how small the quantity.”
Page 228 – [noten ta’am] “Something that gives taste. Usually, when non-kosher food is mixed with kosher food, and the taste of the non-kosher food can no longer be detected, the mixture is permitted. Such a mixture may be given to a non-Jewish cook to determine whether or not the taste of the non-kosher ingredients is noticeable. If this is not possible, the mixture is presumed to be kosher, if it contains at least 60 times as much kosher food as non-kosher food.”

Though these quotes refer to mixtures of clean and unclean, most sources stress that is referring only to accidental mixtures, never to anything deliberate. That more or less seemed “acceptable” until the research turned toward “kosher gelatin”.

http://www.soundvision.com/info/halalhealthy/halal.kosher.asp - “Gelatin is considered Kosher by many Jews regardless of its source of origin. If the gelatin is prepared from non-zabiha, Muslims consider it haram (prohibited). Hence foods items such as marshmallows, yogurt, etc., showing kosher symbols are not always halal.”
“Enzymes (irrespective of their sources even from non-kosher animals) in cheese making are considered mere secretion (pirsah b'almah) according to some kashrut organizations, hence all cheeses are considered kosher. Muslims look for the source of the enzyme in cheese making. If it is coming from the swine, it is considered haram (forbidden). Hence cheeses showing kosher symbols may not be halal.”

http://www.ivu.org/faq/gelatine.html What is kosher gelatine? from the Vegetarian Resource Group -- ”Kosher gelatin can be made with fish bones, and/or beef skins. Contrary to assumptions, it is also considered kosher to use it with dairy products. Kosher law is very complex and the bones and hides used in gelatin production are considered pareve. The general meaning of pareve refers to foods that are neither milk nor meat, and many people assume this means that the product is vegetarian. However, OU pareve certified ingredients can have animal products, such as fish, eggs, and gelatin, in them.”

"Kosher Gelatin Marshmallows: Glatt Kosher and 'OU-Pareve'," an article that appeared in Kashrus Magazine, explains the distinctions. A quote from the article is as follows: ..."since the gelatin product is from hides or bones - not real flesh - and has undergone such significant changes, it is no longer considered 'fleishig' (meat) but 'pareve', and can be eaten with dairy products."

The following quote was the most interesting, discussing whether or not Jello-O is kosher.


1. How is gelatin made?
"The production of the gelatin starts w/refinement of collagen-bearing tissues of ANY ANIMAL that was raised and slaughtered for food purposes. ....These materials are carefully soaked in alkalies and/or acids and washed in clean water to remove almost all non-collagen constituents, including meat. During this soaking period the collagen is converted to gelatin. The treated materials are then cooked gently in pure water to extract the gelatin, which is further refined by filtration....(Contrary to common belief, gelatin is not manufactured from horns or hooves or meat of animals, for these do not contain the necessary collagen).”

"It is interesting to note that during manufacture of gelatin, chemical changes take place so that, in the final gelatin product, the composition and identity of the original material is completely eliminated. Because of this, gelatin is not considered a meat food product by the United States government..."

”The sheet also reminds us that gelatin is used to coat medicine pills as well.”

2. Is it Kosher and Pareve?
"JELL-O Brand gelatin is certified as Kosher by a recognized orthodox Rabbi as per enclosed RESPONSUM. In addition to being Kosher, Jell-O is also Pareve, and can be eaten with either a meat meal or a dairy meal."

”They included a sheet with a copy of "The Halachic Basis of our Kashruth Certification of Atlantic Gelatin and the General Foods Products containing this Gelatin" by Rabbi Yehuda Gershuni & Rabbi David Telsner. The upshot is that since the collagen has been taken apart by the chemical digestion and a new substance has been produced it meets the specifications of the Orthodox Dietary Laws and is Kosher and Pareve.”

Did you notice those words? “ANY ANIMAL that was raised and slaughtered for food purposes.” Unclean animals are also raised and slaughtered for food purposes (such as pigs, ostriches, emus, etc) – are they included here? Is it really okay simply because the original ingredient has changed and a new substance has been produced? Does that mesh with any Scripture? Would Yahweh approve?


Islam also has specific food laws. Are they the same as kosher or kashrut? How do they differ?

http://www.extension.iastate.edu/valueaddedag/info/HalalandKosher.htm -- “The terms “halal” and “kosher” refer to foods that are specially processed and prepared according to the customs and beliefs of members of the Muslim and Jewish faiths respectively. Each of the terms is applied to meats, fruits, vegetables and other food items. Kosher (kashur in Hebrew) means “fit or proper for use” according to Jewish law. Halal is a comprehensive Islamic term that means “lawful” regarding matters of food, drink and daily life. For the beef merchandiser, halal and kosher foods may translate into lucrative niche markets.”

”Before being declared as kosher or halal, foods must pass inspection by an agency or individuals authorized by the hierarchy of the faith related to that label. (Although the label requirements are similar and often confused in the marketplace, discriminating buyers may demand that kosher and halal be treated as separate entities by the processor.) Certification under either of the special food labels typically includes an inspection of the production facility, review of sanitation, ingredients and labels, and training of company personnel in understanding and meeting specific label requirements. Livestock must be inspected and prepared by a qualified specialist to ensure rigorous standards have been met. There are also special processes that must be followed regarding how the animal is slaughtered and processed.”

http://www.ifanca.org/halal/ -- “Halal is an Arabic word meaning lawful or permitted. The opposite of halal is haram, which means unlawful or prohibited. Halal and haram are universal terms that apply to all facets of life. However, we will use these terms only in relation to food products, meat products, cosmetics, personal care products, food ingredients, and food contact materials.”

“While many things are clearly halal or clearly haram, there are some things which are not clear. These items are considered questionable or suspect and more information is needed to categorize them as halal or haram. Such items are often referred to as mashbooh, which means doubtful or questionable.“

“All foods are considered halal except the following, which are haram:
  • Swine/pork and its by-products
  • Animals improperly slaughtered or dead before slaughtering
  • Animals killed in the name of anyone other than ALLAH (God)
  • Alcohol and intoxicants
  • Carnivorous animals, birds of prey and land animals without external ears
  • Blood and blood by-products
  • Foods contaminated with any of the above products”
“Foods containing ingredients such as gelatin, enzymes, emulsifiers, etc. are questionable (mashbooh) because the origin of these ingredients is not known.”

http://sps.nus.edu.sg/~dewihart/kosher%20vs%20halal.htm -- “Gelatin is considered Kosher (regardless of its origin, even from non-Kosher animals). If the gelatin is of non-Halal (e.g. swine) origin, then Muslims consider it as Haram.”

“In cheese making, the end-product is regarded as Haram if enzymes from non-Halal sources are utilised. According to Kashrut, enzymes are considered mere secretion and all cheeses are Kosher, irrespective of the sources of the enzymes, even though they may be from non-Kosher animals.”


Another question arose. For believers to truly follow Yahweh, is it necessary for them to eat only ritually slaughtered meat? Then a Scripture came to mind to help answer the question.

I Corinthians 10:25-26 25-Eat everything being sold in a meat market, examining nothing because of conscience, 26-for the earth is the Master’s, and the fullness of it.

Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible, I Corinthians 10:25 –“Whatsoever is sold in the shambles – In the market. The meat of animals offered in sacrifice would be exposed there for sale as well as other meat. The apostle says that it might be purchased, since the mere fact that it had been offered in sacrifice could not change its quality, or render it unfit for use. They were to abstain from attending on the feasts of the idols in the temple, from partaking of meat that had been offered them, and from celebrations observed expressly in honor of idols; but lest they should become too scrupulous, the apostle tells them that if the meat was offered indiscriminately in the market with other meat, they were not to hesitate to purchase it, or eat it.”

Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible, I Corinthians 10:25 –“Whatsoever is sold in the shambles, that eat – The case to which the apostle refers is simply this; it was customary to bring the flesh of the animal to market, the blood of which had been poured out in sacrifice to an idol; or, taken more particularly, the case was this; one part of the sacrifice was consumed on the altar of the idol; a second part was dressed and eaten by the sacrificer; and a third belonged to the priest, and was often sold in the shambles. To partake of the second share, or to feast upon the sacrifice, St. Paul absolutely forbids, because this was one part of the religious worship which was paid to the idol; it was sitting down as guests at his table, in token that they were in fellowship with him. This was utterly incompatible with receiving the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, which was the communion of the body and blood of Christ. But as to the third share, the apostle leaves them at liberty either to eat of it or forbear; except that, by eating, their weak brethren should be offended; in that case, though the thing was lawful, it was their duty to abstain.”

Sketches of Jewish Social Life, by Alfred Edersheim from --
“Readers of the New Testament know what separation Pharisaical Jews made between themselves and heathens. It will be readily understood, that every contact with heathenism and all aid to its rites should have been forbidden, and that in social intercourse any levitical defilement, arising from the use of what was "common or unclean," was avoided. But Pharisaism went a great deal further than this. Three days before a heathen festival all transactions with Gentiles were forbidden, so as to afford them neither direct nor indirect help towards their rites; and this prohibition extended even to private festivities, such as a birthday, the day of return from a journey, etc. On heathen festive occasions a pious Jew should avoid, if possible, passing through a heathen city, certainly all dealings in shops that were festively decorated. It was unlawful for Jewish workmen to assist in anything that might be subservient either to heathen worship or heathen rule, including in the latter the erection of court-houses and similar buildings. It need not be explained to what lengths or into what details Pharisaical punctiliousness carried all these ordinances. From the New Testament we know, that to enter the house of a heathen defiled till the evening (John 18:28), and that all familiar intercourse with Gentiles was forbidden (Acts 10:28). So terrible was the intolerance, that a Jewess was actually forbidden to give help to her heathen neighbour, when about to become a mother (Avod. S. ii. 1)! It was not a new question to St. Paul, when the Corinthians inquired about the lawfulness of meat sold in the shambles or served up at a feast (1 Cor 10:25,27,28). Evidently he had the Rabbinical law on the subject before his mind, while, on the one hand, he avoided the Pharisaical bondage of the letter, and, on the other, guarded against either injuring one's own conscience, or offending that of an on-looker. For, according to Rabbi Akiba, "Meat which is about to be brought in heathen worship is lawful, but that which comes out from it is forbidden, because it is like the sacrifices of the dead" (Avod. S. ii. 3). But the separation went much beyond what ordinary minds might be prepared for. Milk drawn from a cow by heathen hands, bread and oil prepared by them, might indeed be sold to strangers, but not used by Israelites. No pious Jew would of course have sat down at the table of a Gentile (Acts 11:3; Gal 2:12). If a heathen were invited to a Jewish house, he might not be left alone in the room, else every article of food or drink on the table was henceforth to be regarded as unclean. If cooking utensils were bought of them, they had to be purified by fire or by water; knives to be ground anew; spits to be made red-hot before use, etc. It was not lawful to let either house or field, nor to sell cattle, to a heathen; any article, however distantly connected with heathenism, was to be destroyed. Thus, if a weaving-shuttle had been made of wood grown in a grove devoted to idols, every web of cloth made by it was to be destroyed; nay, if such pieces had been mixed with others, to the manufacture of which no possible objection could have been taken, these all became unclean, and had to be destroyed.”

A Commentary on the Whole Bible, by Matthew Henry, volume 6,
Page 450 –“He tells them that what was sold in the shambles they might eat without asking questions. The priest’s share of heathen sacrifices was thus frequently offered for sale, after it had been offered in the temple. Now the apostle tells them they need not be so scrupulous as to ask the butcher in the market whether the meat he sold had been offered to an idol. It was there sold as common food, and as such might be bought and used; for the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof (v. 26), and the fruits and products of the earth were designed by him, the great proprietor, for the use and subsistence of mankind, and more especially of his own children and servants.”

The Bible As History, by Werner Keller,
page 385, regarding some archaeological digs shortly after1893 in the ruins of the city of Corinth –“The road from Lechaeum, the west harbor, led into the heart of the old city of Corinth. Through the great marble arch of the Propylaeum, it debouched into the market place, the agora. In those days the business quarter lay to the west of Lechaeum Street, and colonnades led past its shops and up to the steps of the Temple of Apollo. What aroused genuine admiration among the hygienically minded Americans was the ingenious system of water mains that they found immediately under the houses which fronted the broad and handsomely paved market place. It obviously provided the shops with a constant supply of fresh mountain water to keep fresh foodstuffs as were liable to perish quickly. An inscription at this place dating from the last years of the reign of Augustus actually mentioned a ‘meat market.’ The Christians in Corinth were allowed to make their purchases in these shops without scruple. ‘Whatsoever is sold in the shambles, that eat’ is Paul’s advice to the church in I Corinthians 10:25.”

“At the marble steps of the Propylaeum the excavators found a heavy stone lintel on which they were able to decipher the words ‘Hebrew Synagogue’ clearly cut out in Greek letters.”

Think what this statement by Paul is actually saying: it is saying that kosher meat – slaughtered ritually – is not what Yahweh’s law is about. How? Why?
  1. An observant Jew would not buy meat from a Gentile, which the majority of Corinthians were.
  2. A Gentile would not have been slaughtering animals according to Jewish ritual.
  3. The Gentile would not have examined, soaked or salted the meat.

The JPS Guide to Jewish Traditions, by Ronald L. Eisenberg –
Page 656-657 – “According to the dietary laws, all fruits and vegetables are permitted, based on the verse, ‘See, I give you every seed-bearing plant that is upon all the earth, and every tree that has seed-bearing fruit; they shall be yours for food (Gen. 1:29). In fact, this verse and the subsequent one imply that vegetarianism was the earliest biblical ideal. Only in the time of Noah did God allow humans to be carnivorous (Gen. 9:3). God did give Noah one restriction – the consumption of blood was prohibited - but the full set of dietary laws was commanded to the Israelites after they left Egypt, and was further embellished and explicated by the Rabbis. The Jewish dietary laws (derived largely from Lev. 11:1-43) detail which animals, birds, and fish may be eaten; how they are to be slaughtered and prepared; and the rules concerning the separation of meat and milk.”
Page 664 – “In order to create a ‘fence around the Torah,’ the Rabbis decreed that the separation of meat from milk must be as complete as possible. Thus it is necessary to use separate utensils (pots, pans, dishes, and flatware) for dairy foods and meat (known in Yiddish as milchig and fleishig, respectively). This entails storing the utensils in separate areas, washing them in separate bowls or sinks, and drying them with different dishcloths (ideally of distinct colors to prevent any mistake). When using a dishwasher, it is necessary to have separate dish racks; if these are not available, the dishwasher must be run through a cycle between meat and dairy loads.”
Page 667 – “For the early Rabbis, the secret of Jewish survival was separatism – being a holy people required being a people apart. As expressed in the early Apocryphal Book of Jubilees (22:16): ‘Separate yourself from the nations, do not eat with them, do not act according to their deeds, and do not associate with them, because their work is uncleanness, all their ways are contamination, detestation and abomination. They slaughter their sacrifices to the dead and pray to demons.’ By following the dietary laws, the observant Jew may have less opportunity to socialize with non-Jews (since this often entails eating together). According to this view, the observance of kashrut has been a critical factor in decreasing the rates of Jewish assimilation and intermarriage.”


(The Scriptures quoted are from The Interlinear Bible, a literal translation by Jay P. Green, Sr., as general editor and translator, with the transliterated Hebrew names of the Father and Son, Yahweh and Yahshua - added.)

For all the rules that have been described here, there are only a few Scriptures that are used as the “basis” for these rules. While reading over these verses, just consider how much “expanding” of Yahweh’s word the scribes, Pharisees and rabbis did over the generations.

#1 - Genesis 32:31-32 31-And the sun rose upon him (Jacob) as he passed over Penuiel and he was limping on his hip-socket. 32-On account of this the sons of Israel do not eat the sinew of the thigh which is on the hip-socket, until this day, because He struck the hip-socket of Jacob, the sinew of the thigh.

Did those verses contain “Yahweh said” or “you shall not”? No, only a comment that certain people had chosen not to eat that part of the animal.

What purpose would Yahweh have for requiring such a thing? He had already declared these animals as clean for food, except for the fat and the blood. How would wasting a large portion of a slaughtered animal serve any greater purpose? It was Jacob, a man, who was injured, not an animal. So how does that actually relate? Is it somehow to honor Jacob?

#2 - Exodus 23:19 You shall not simmer a kid in its mother’s milk. (Also Ex 34:26 and Deut 14:21)

This is a reference to specific animals and events. There is nothing here about it being wrong to eat a cheeseburger or a meat and cheese pizza or to have a glass of milk with a steak dinner. And just how does this apply to chicken? Has anyone yet seen a chicken give milk? There is no reference here either about the separation of dishes and utensils or the need to have two sets of dishes.

#3 - Leviticus 3:17 It shall be a never-ending statute for your generations. You shall not eat any fat or blood.

#4 - Leviticus 7:23-27 23-Speak to the sons of Israel saying, You shall not eat any fat of ox, or of sheep, or of goat. 24-And the fat of a dead body, and the fat of a thing torn may be used for any work, but you certainly shall not eat it. 25-For whoever eats the fat of the animal, of which one brings near a fire offering to Yahweh, even the person who eats shall be cut off from his people. 26-And you shall not eat any blood in all your dwellings of fowl, or of animal. 27-Any person who eats any blood, even that person shall be cut off from his people.

#5 - Leviticus 17:10-14 10-And any man of the house of Israel, or of the alien who is staying in your midst, who eats any blood, I will set My face against that person that eats blood and will cut him off from his people. 11-For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you on the altar, to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood which makes atonement for the soul. 12-For this reason I have said to the sons of Israel, No person among you shall eat blood; and the alien who is staying in your midst shall not eat blood. 13-And any man of the sons of Israel, or of the aliens who reside in your midst, who hunt game of beast or fowl which may be eaten, then he shall pour out its blood and cover it with dust. 14-For the life of all flesh is its blood. And I say to the sons of Israel, You shall not eat blood of any flesh, for the life of all flesh is its blood; anyone eating it shall be cut off.

#6 - Deuteronomy 12:15-16, 21-27 15-Only with all the desire of your soul you shall sacrifice and eat flesh within your gates according to the blessing of Yahweh your Elohim which He has given you, the unclean and the clean one may eat of it, as of the gazelle and as of the hart. 16-Only you shall not eat the blood; you shall pour it as water on the earth. 21-If the place which Yahweh your Elohim shall choose to put His name there is too far from you, then you shall sacrifice of your herd and of the flock which Yahweh has given you, as I have commanded you; and you shall eat within your gates according to all the desire of your soul. 22-Only, as the gazelle and the hart are eaten, so shall you eat of it; the unclean and the clean may eat of it alike. 23-Only, be sure not to eat the blood, for the blood is the life, and you shall not eat the life with the flesh; 24-You shall not eat it; you shall pour it on the earth as water. 25-You shall not eat it in order that it may be well with you, and with your sons after you, when you do that which is right in the eyes of Yahweh. 26-Only, your set-apart things which you have, and your vows, you shall take up and shall go to the place which Yahweh shall choose. 27-And you shall offer your burnt offerings, the flesh and the blood, on the altar of Yahweh your Elohim; and the blood of your sacrifices shall be poured out by the altar of Yahweh your Elohim; and you shall eat the flesh.

By stating that we are to eat no blood, did Yahweh intend that the meat be soaked, salted and rinsed a set number of times? Is it ever possible to get ALL blood out of any meat? No. Draining the blood will remove as much as possible. But what about the blood that has circulated throughout the body and is deep in inner cells? The salt cannot affect every drop of it.

There is no way this was performed at the first Passover in Egypt. The command was for the slaughter, cooking and eating to be done quickly. And no change was made in those laws.

In Numbers 9 we find the instructions for the Passover in the second month. This occurred long after the law was given at Sinai (Num 9:1) and the instructions say, in verse 14, that it is to be done “according to the ordinance of the Passover.” And where is that found? In Exodus 12. The soaking and salting of the meat is not added to the instructions. Also, the soaking and salting applies to meat that has been cut up. The Passover lamb was not to be cut up, it was to be roasted with “the purtenance thereof” (Ex 12:9). That means it still had all the organs inside it. It would not have been soaked either because the same verse in Exodus 12 mentions that it was not to be sodden with water.

There are no examples in Scripture of the koshering of meat being done. Period.

As with the blood, it is impossible to remove ALL fat from meat – such as the marbling of steaks. So exactly how did Yahweh mean this? Exactly what did He say?

Leviticus 3:12-17 12-And if his offering be a goat, then he shall offer it before Yahweh. 13-And he shall lay his hand upon the head of it, and kill it before the tabernacle of the congregation: and the sons of Aaron shall sprinkle the blood thereof upon the altar round about. 14-And he shall offer thereof his offering, even an offering made by fire unto Yahweh; the fat that covereth the inwards, and all the fat that is upon the inwards, 15-And the two kidneys, and the fat that is upon them, which is by the flanks, and the caul above the liver, with the kidneys, it shall he take away. 16-And the priest shall burn them upon the altar: it is the food of the offering made by fire for a sweet savour: all the fat is Yahweh’s. 17-It shall be a perpetual statute for your generations throughout all your dwellings, that ye eat neither fat nor blood.

This fat He is referring to is in globs that can be easily removed and separated from the meat. It is a harder, more solid type fat than what is found in the marbling of steaks and meats.

#7-Leviticus 2:13 And every offering of your food offering you shall season with salt and you shall not let the salt of the covenant of your Elohim be lacking from your food offering: you shall offer salt with all your offerings.

Notice it says “season”. It doesn’t say to coat with salt and allow to set for a specified amount of time. And note also that this verse was about sacrifices, not for the meals of the general populace.

#8-Leviticus 11:31-35 31-These are unclean to you among all which swarm; anyone who touches them in their death is unclean until the evening. 32-And anything on which any one of them falls, in their death, is unclean, of any vessel of wood, or garment, or skin, or sack; any vessel in which work is done shall be caused to go in the water, and shall be unclean until the evening; then it shall be cleaned. 33-And any earthen vessel into the midst of which any one of them falls, whatever is in it shall be unclean, and you shall break it. 34-Of all the food which may be eaten, that on which such water falls shall be unclean, and all drink that may be drunk in any such vessel shall be unclean. 35-And anything on which any part of their dead body falls shall be unclean, oven and hearth, shall be broken down; they are unclean, yes, they are unclean to you.

Maybe this reference is where the idea originated for koshering utensils and dishes. But this has to do with unclean creatures, not a mixing of milk and meat. Scripture mentions that the dish is to either be destroyed or washed. Once washed, there is no restriction on what can be put into the utensil.

#9-Leviticus 11:44-47 44-For I am Yahweh your Elohim, and you have sanctified yourselves, and you have become set-apart, for I am set-apart. And you shall not defile your persons with any swarming thing which creeps on the earth; 45-for I am Yahweh who brought you up out of the land of Egypt to become your Elohim; and you shall be holy (set-apart), for I am holy (set-apart). 46 -This is the law of the animals, and of the fowl, and of every living creature which moves in the waters, and every creature which swarms on the earth, 47-to make a distinction between the unclean and the clean, and between the living thing that may be eaten, and the living thing that may not be eaten.

This Scripture tells us why Yahweh gave the law of clean and unclean animals. Why is it important that we be holy or set-apart?

Hebrews 12:14 Eagerly pursue peace and holiness (set-apartness) with all, without which no one will see the Master.

So what does Yahweh expect of His people? Are we observe His laws regarding clean and unclean meats? Or are we to expand them and “keep kosher”? Do we follow Yahweh or do we follow man? Where is our focus to be?

Deuteronomy 4:2 You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it, to keep the commandments of Yahweh your Elohim which I command you.


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Congregation of YHWH, Irving, TX.
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Anonymous said...

hi, new to the site, thanks.

Anonymous said...

What about pouring the blood on the ground like water and covering with dust does kosher do this if not shouldnt we obstain from both if this isnt done unless we are the ones doing the slaughter .many blessings