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{{Redirect|Kasher|people with this name|Kasher (surname)}}{{short description|Jewish dietary laws}}{{italic title}}{{Judaism}}Kashrut (also kashruth or kashrus, {{Hebrew|כַּשְׁרוּת}}) is a set of dietary laws dealing with the foods that Jews are permitted to eat and how those foods must be prepared according to Jewish law. Food that may be consumed is deemed kosher ({{IPAc-en|'|k|oʊ|ʃ|ər}} in English, ), from the Ashkenazi pronunciation of the Hebrew term kashér ({{Hebrew|כָּשֵׁר}}), meaning 'fit' (in this context: 'fit for consumption').Although the details of the laws of kashrut are numerous and complex, they rest on a few basic principles:
  • Only certain types of animals, birds and fish meeting specific criteria are kosher; the consumption of the flesh of any animals that do not meet these criteria, such as pork and shellfish, is forbidden
  • Kosher mammals and birds must be slaughtered according to a process known as shechita; blood may never be consumed and it must be removed from meat by a process of salting and soaking in water for the meat to be permissible for use
  • Meat and milk and their derivatives may never be mixed, and separate equipment for the storage and preparation of meat-based and dairy-based foods must be used
Every food that is considered kosher is also categorized as follows:
  • "Meat" products (also called b'sari or fleishig) are those that contain kosher meat, such as beef, bison or lamb, or kosher poultry such as chicken, goose, duck or turkey, or derivatives of meat, such as animal gelatin; non-animal products that were processed on equipment used for meat or meat-derived products must also be considered as meat (b'chezkat basar)
  • "Dairy" products (also called halavi or milchig) contain milk or any derivatives of milk such as butter or cheese; non-dairy products that were processed on equipment used for milk or milk-derived products must also be considered as milk (b'chezkat halav)
  • Parev products contain neither meat nor milk or their derivative ingredients, and include foods such as fish, eggs, grains and produce; they remain parev if they are not mixed with or processed using equipment that is used for any meat or dairy products.
While any produce that grows from the earth, such as fruits, grains, vegetables and mushrooms, are always permissible, laws regarding the status of certain agricultural produce, especially that grown in the Land of Israel, such as tithes and produce of the Sabbatical year, impact their permissibility for consumption.Most of the basic laws of kashrut are derived from the Torah's books of Leviticus and Deuteronomy. Their details and practical application, however, are set down in the oral law (eventually codified in the Mishnah and Talmud) and elaborated on in the later rabbinical literature. Although the Torah does not state the rationale for most kashrut laws, some suggest that they are only tests of obedience,Maimonides, Guide for the Perplexed (ed. M. Friedländer), Part III (chapter 26), New York 1956, p. 311 while others have suggested philosophical, practical and hygienic reasons.Maimonides, Guide for the Perplexed (ed. M. Friedländer), Part III (chapter 48), New York 1956, p. 371Rashbam, commentary to Leviticus 11:3Sefer ha-Chinuch, commandments 73 and 148Over the past century, many kashrut certification agencies have started to certify products, manufacturers and restaurants as kosher, usually authorizing the use of a proprietary symbol called a hechsher on products, or issuing a certificate, also called a hechsher, to be displayed by the food establishment, to indicate their approval that they are in compliance with the kosher laws.



Jewish philosophy divides the 613 commandments (or mitzvot) into three groups—laws that have a rational explanation and would probably be enacted by most orderly societies (mishpatim), laws that are understood after being explained but would not be legislated without the Torah's command (eidot), and laws that do not have a rational explanation (chukim). Some Jewish scholars say that kashrut should be categorized as laws for which there is no particular explanation since the human mind is not always capable of understanding divine intentions. In this line of thinking, the dietary laws were given as a demonstration of God's authority, and man must obey without asking why.WEB,weblink William H. Shea, Clean and Unclean Meats, Biblical Research Institute, August 19, 2016, dead,weblink" title="">weblink February 12, 2008, , December 1998 (archived from the original {{webarchive|url= |date=2008-10-03 }}) However, Maimonides believed that Jews were permitted to seek out reasons for the laws of the Torah.Mishneh Torah Korbanot, Temurah 4:13 (in eds. Frankel; "Rambam L'Am")Some theologians have said that the laws of kashrut are symbolic in character: Kosher animals represent virtues, while non-kosher animals represent vices. The 1st-century BCE Letter of Aristeas argues that the laws "have been given ... to awake pious thoughts and to form the character".Letter of Aristeas, 145–154 This view reappears in the work of the 19th century Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch.ENCYCLOPEDIA, 1971, Dietary Laws, Encyclopedia Judaica, Keter Publishing House, Jerusalem, The Torah prohibits "seething the kid (goat, sheep, calf) in its mother's milk". While the Bible does not provide a reason, it has been suggested that the practice was perceived as cruel and insensitive.BOOK, Gottlieb, Roger S., The Oxford Handbook of Religion and Ecology,weblink October 18, 2012, 2006, Oxford Handbooks Online, 0-19-517872-6, 45, quoting Deuteronomy Rabbah 6:1BOOK, Chill, Abraham, Abraham Chill, The mitzvot: the commandments and their rationale, 1974, Bloch Publishing Company, 0-8197-0376-1, 114, Hasidic Judaism believes that everyday life is imbued with channels connecting with Divinity, the activation of which it sees as helping the Divine Presence to be drawn into the physical world;WEB,weblink The Chassidic Masters on Food and Eating, April 10, 2013, Schneersohn, Yosef Yitzchak, Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn,, Hasidism argues that the food laws are related to the way such channels, termed sparks of holiness, interact with various animals. These sparks of Holiness are released whenever a Jew manipulates any object for a holy reason (which includes eating);WEB,weblink Meat, April 10, 2013, Tauber, Yanki, Yanki Tauber,, however, not all animal products are capable of releasing their sparks of holiness.WEB,weblink The Tanya Chapter 8, April 10, 2013, Borukhovich, Shneur Zalman,, The Hasidic argument is that animals are imbued with signs that reveal the release of these sparks, and the signs are expressed in the biblical categorization of ritually clean and ritually unclean.{{webarchive |url= |date=August 29, 2007 |title=Re'eh }}, (archived from the original on August 29, 2007).According to Christian theologian Gordon J. Wenham, the purpose of kashrut was to help Jews maintain a distinct and separate existence from other peoples; he says that the effect of the laws was to prevent socialization and intermarriage with non-Jews, preventing Jewish identity from being diluted.Gordon J. Wenham, The Theology of Unclean Food, The Evangelical Quarterly 53, January March 1981, pp.6–15 Wenham argued that since the impact of the food laws was a public affair, this would have enhanced Jewish attachment to them as a reminder of their distinct status as Jews.


There have been attempts to provide empirical support for the view that Jewish food laws have an overarching health benefit or purpose. One of the earliest is that of Maimonides in The Guide for the Perplexed. In 1953, David Macht, an Orthodox Jew and proponent of the theory of biblical scientific foresight, conducted toxicity experiments on many kinds of animals and fish.JOURNAL, An Experimental Pharmalogical Appreciation of Leviticus XI and Deuteronomy XIV,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink dead, 2007-06-30, Macht, David I., September–October 1953, Bulletin of the History of Medicine, XXXVII, 5, 444–450, harv, His experiment involved lupin seedlings being supplied with extracts from the meat of various animals; Macht reported that in 100% of cases, extracts from ritually unclean meat inhibited the seedling's growth more than that from ritually clean meats.{{Harvnb|Macht|1953}} op. cit. At the same time, these explanations are controversial. Scholar Lester L. Grabbe, writing in the Oxford Bible Commentary on Leviticus, says "[a]n explanation now almost universally rejected is that the laws in this section {{Bibleverse||Leviticus|11–15|HE}} have hygiene as their basis. Although some of the laws of ritual purity roughly correspond to modern ideas of physical cleanliness, many of them have little to do with hygiene. For example, there is no evidence that the 'unclean' animals are intrinsically bad to eat or to be avoided in a Mediterranean climate, as is sometimes asserted."The Oxford Bible Commentary, eds. J. Barton and J. Muddiman. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2001: 99.

Laws of Kashrut

Prohibited foods

File:Kosher BethDin.jpg|thumb|Kosher airline meal approved by The Johannesburg Beth DinThe Johannesburg Beth DinThe laws of kashrut can be classified according to the origin of the prohibition (Biblical or rabbinical) and whether the prohibition concerns the food itself or a mixture of foods.BOOK, Forst, Binyomin, The laws of kashrus: a comprehensive exposition of their underlying concepts and applications, 1994, Mesorah Publications, Brooklyn, N.Y, 0-89906-103-6, 32–49, Biblically prohibited foods include:
  • Non-kosher animals and birds:{{Bibleverse||Leviticus|11:3–8|HE}}{{Bibleverse||Deuteronomy|14:3–21|HE}} mammals require certain identifying characteristics (cloven hooves and being ruminants), while birds require a tradition that they can be consumed. Fish require scales and fins (thus excluding catfish, for instance). All invertebrates are non-kosher apart from certain types of locust, on which most communities lack a clear tradition. No reptiles or amphibians are kosher.
  • Carrion (nevelah): meat from a kosher animal that has not been slaughtered according to the laws of shechita. This prohibition includes animals that have been slaughtered by non-Jews.Babylonian Talmud, Hullin 13a (on Mishnah Hullin 1:1).
  • Injured (terefah): an animal with a significant defect or injury, such as a fractured bone or particular types of lung adhesions.
  • Blood (dam): The blood of kosher mammals and fowl is removed through salting, with special procedures for the liver, which is very rich in blood.
  • Particular fats (chelev): particular parts of the abdominal fat of cattle, goats and sheep must be removed by a process called nikkur.
  • The twisted nerve (gid hanasheh): the sciatic nerve, as according to Genesis 32:32 the patriarch Jacob's was damaged when he fought with an angel, may not be eaten and is removed by nikkur.
  • A limb of a living animal (ever min ha-chai):{{Bibleverse||Genesis|9:4|HE}} According to Jewish law, God forbade Noah and his descendants to consume flesh torn from a live animal. Hence, Jewish law considers this prohibition applicable even to non-Jews,BOOK, Doron-spalter, Pinchos, Major Concepts of the Talmud: An Encyclopedic Resource Guide, Volume 1,weblink March 15, 2013, 2008, Targum Press, 978-1-56871-465-3, 7, and therefore, a Jew may not give or sell such meat to a non-Jew.
  • Untithed food (tevel): produce of the Land of Israel requires the removal of certain tithes, which in ancient times were given to the Kohanim (priests), Levites and the poor (terumah, maaser rishon and maasar ani respectively) or taken to the Old City of Jerusalem to be eaten there (maaser sheni).
  • Fruit during the first three years (orlah): according to Leviticus 19:23,{{Bibleverse||Leviticus|19:23|HE}} fruit from a tree in the first three years after planting may not be consumed (both in the Land of Israel and the diaspora). This applies also to the fruit of the vine—grapes, and wine produced from them.BOOK, Blech, Zushe Yosef, Kosher Food Production, January 27, 2009, Wiley-Blackwell, 978-0-8138-2093-4,
  • New grain (chadash):{{Bibleverse||Leviticus|23:14|HE}} the Bible prohibits newly grown grain (planted after Passover the previous year) until the second day of Passover; there is debate as to whether this law applies to grain grown outside the Land of Israel.
  • Wine of libation (yayin nesekh): wine that may have been dedicated to idolatrous practices.
Biblically prohibited mixtures include:
  • Mixtures of meat and milk{{bibleverse||Exodus|23:19|}}{{bibleverse||Exodus|34:26|}}{{bibleverse||Deuteronomy|14:21|}} (basar be-chalav): this law derives from the broad interpretation of the commandment not to "cook a kid in its mother's milk";{{Bibleverse||Exodus|23:19|HE}}{{Bibleverse||Exodus|34:26|HE}}{{Bibleverse||Deuteronomy|14:21|HE}} other non-kosher foods are permitted for non-dietary use (e.g. to be sold to non-Jews), but Jews are forbidden to benefit from mixtures of meat and milk in any way.WEB,weblink Meat & Milk - Parshat Mishpatim,
  • Different species of plants grown together (kilayim): in the Land of Israel different species of plants are to be grown separately and not in close proximity according to Leviticus 19:19 and Deuteronomy 22:9–11. A specific subdivision of this law is kil'ei ha-kerem, the prohibition of planting any grain or vegetable near a grapevine; this law applies to Jews throughout the world, and a Jew may not derive benefit from such produce.
Rabbinically prohibited foods include:
  • Non-Jewish milk (chalav akum): milk that may have an admixture of milk from non-kosher animals (see below for current views on this prohibition).
  • Non-Jewish cheese (gevinat akum): cheese that may have been produced with non-kosher rennet.
  • Non-Jewish wine (stam yeinam): wine that while not produced for idolatrous purposes may otherwise have been poured for such a purpose or alternatively when consumed will lead to intermarriage.
  • Food cooked by a non-Jew (bishul akum): this law was enacted for concerns of intermarriage.
  • Non-Jewish bread (pat akum): this law was enacted for concerns of intermarriage.
  • Health risk (sakanah): certain foods and mixtures are considered a health risk, such as mixtures of fish and meat.

Permitted and forbidden animals

File:Hoof montage.jpg|thumb|Examples of cloven hooves in goats (upper left), pigs (lower left) and cattle (lower right). HorseHorse{{further|Unclean animal}}Only meat from particular species is permissible. Mammals that both chew their cud (ruminate) and have cloven hooves can be kosher. Animals with one characteristic but not the other (the camel, the hyrax, and the hare because they have no cloven hooves, and the pig because it does not ruminate) are specifically excluded.Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh De'ah 79For a comprehensive review of the issue involving the difficulty that neither the hyrax nor the hare are ruminants, see BOOK, Slifkin, Rabbi Nosson, Natan Slifkin, The Camel, the Hare & the Hyrax: A Study of the Laws of Animals with One Kosher Sign in Light of Modern Zoology,weblink illustrated, 2004, Zoo Torah in association with Targum/Feldheim, 978-1-56871-312-0, . In 2008, a rabbinical ruling determined that giraffes and their milk are eligible to be considered kosher. The giraffe has both split hooves and chews its cud, characteristics of animals considered kosher. Findings from 2008 show that giraffe milk curdles, meeting kosher standards. Although kosher, the giraffe is not slaughtered today because the process would be very costly. Giraffes are difficult to restrain, and their use for food could cause the species to become endangered.NEWS,weblink Giraffe is kosher, rabbis rule in Israel, Butcher, Tim, June 6, 2008, The Daily Telegraph, April 10, 2013, Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh De'ah 82:1–5WEB,weblink What's the Truth About Giraffe Meat!, Zivotofsky, Ari Z.,, May 22, 2013, dead,weblink" title="">weblink April 7, 2014, Non-kosher birds are listed outright{{Bibleverse||Deuteronomy|14:12–18|HE}} but the exact zoological references are disputed and some references refer to families of birds (24 are mentioned). The MishnahBavli Chullin 3:22–23 refers to four signs provided by the sages.WEB,weblink Is Turkey Kosher?, part 2, Zivotofsky, Ari Z.,, May 22, 2013, First, a dores (predatory bird) is not kosher. Additionally, kosher birds possess three physical characteristics: an extra toe in the back (which does not join the other toes in supporting the leg), a zefek (crop), and a korkoban (gizzard) with a peelable lumen. However, individual Jews are barred from merely applying these regulations alone; an established tradition (masorah) is necessary to allow birds to be consumed, even if it can be substantiated that they meet all four criteria. The only exception to this is the turkey. There was a time when certain authorities considered the signs sufficient, so Jews started eating this bird without a masorah because it possesses all the signs (simanim) in Hebrew.WEB,weblink Is Turkey Kosher?, part 3, Zivotofsky, Ari Z.,, May 22, 2013, Fish must have fins and scales to be kosher.{{Bibleverse||Leviticus|11:9–12|HE}} Shellfish and other non-fish water animals fauna are not kosher.Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh De'ah 83 and 84 (See kosher species of fish.) Insects are not kosher, except for certain species of kosher locust.Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh De'ah 85 Generally, any animal that eats other animals, whether they kill their food or eat carrion,{{Bibleverse||Leviticus|11:13–31|HE}} is not kosher, as well as any animal that has been partially eaten by other animals.{{Bibleverse||Exodus|22:30-31|HE}}{|class="wikitable"! Class! Forbidden kinds
|Carnivores; animals that do not chew the cud (e.g., the pig); animals that do not have cloven hooves (e.g., the camel, the hare, the horse and the hyrax)
|Birds of prey; scavengers
|Reptiles and amphibians
|Water animals
|All non-fish. Among fish, all those that do not have both fins and scales
|All, except particular types of locust or grasshopper that, according to most, cannot be identified today

Separation of meat and milk

Meat and milk (or derivatives) may not be mixedWEB,weblink What Does Kosher Mean? - section 2.4,, in the sense that meat and dairy products are not served at the same meal, served or cooked in the same utensils, or stored together. Observant Jews have separate sets of dishes, and sometimes different kitchens, for meat and milk, and wait anywhere between one and six hours after eating meat before consuming milk products.Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh De'ah 87 et seq The milchig and fleishig (lit. milky and meaty) utensils and dishes are the commonly referred to Yiddish delineations between dairy and meat ones, respectively.ENCYCLOPEDIA,weblink Kashrut: Jewish Dietary Laws, Jewish Virtual Library, May 22, 2013,

Kosher slaughter

File:Schect.jpg|thumb|A 15th-century depiction of shechitashechitaMammals and fowl must be slaughtered by a trained individual (a shochet) using a special method of slaughter, shechita.{{Bibleverse||Deuteronomy|12:21|HE}} Among other features, shechita slaughter severs the jugular vein, carotid artery, esophagus, and trachea in a single continuous cutting movement with an unserrated, sharp knife. Failure of any of these criteria renders the meat of the animal unsuitable. The body of the slaughtered animal must be checked after slaughter to confirm that the animal had no medical condition or defect that would have caused it to die of its own accord within a year, which would make the meat unsuitable.Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh De'ah 1–65 These conditions (treifot) include 70 different categories of injuries, diseases, and abnormalities whose presence renders the animal non-kosher. It is forbidden to consume certain parts of the animal, such as certain fats (chelev) and the sciatic nerves from the legs, the process of excision being done by experts before the meat is sold. As much blood as possible must be removed{{Bibleverse||Leviticus|17:10|HE}} through the kashering process; this is usually done through soaking and salting the meat, but the liver, as it is rich in blood, is grilled over an open flame.Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh De'ah 66–78 Fish (and kosher locusts, for those who follow the traditions permitting them) must be killed before being eaten, but no particular method has been specified in Jewish law.WEB, ABCs of Kosher,weblink Aish HaTorah, March 15, 2013, WEB, Locusts Go Biblical – But Are They Kosher?,weblink The Jewish Daily Forward, March 15, 2013, Legal aspects of ritual slaughter are governed not only by Jewish law but civil law as well.

Preparation of meats

When an animal is ritually slaughtered (shechted) the raw meat is traditionally cut, rinsed and salted, prior to cooking. Salting of raw meat draws out the blood that lodges on the inner surface of the meat. Salting is made with any coarse grain of salt, while the meat is laid over a grating or colander to allow for drainage, and where the salt is allowed to remain on the meat for the duration of time that it takes to walk one biblical mileShulhan Arukh, Yoreh De'ah § 69:6; ibid., § 69:16–19 (appx. 18– 24 minutes). Afterward, the residue of salt is rinsed away with water, and the meat cooked. Meat that is roasted requires no prior salting, as fire acts as a natural purgatory of blood.A late Commentary on the Shulchan Arukh known as the Taz (Turei Zahav), on Yoreh De'ah 69:5:16, writes that the pieces of meat can be "very thick" when salting.Shulhan Arukh, Yoreh De'ah, § 69:5 The Yemenite Jewish practice, however, follows Rabbi Saadiah Gaon who required that the meat not be larger than half a "rotal" (i.e. ca. 216 grams) when salting.BOOK, Alfasi, Y., Isaac Alfasi, R. Yitzhak al-Fasi's Commentary on Hullin, Tractate Hullin (Chapter Kol ha-Basar), Yosef Qafih, 1960, ha-Agudah le-Hatzalat Ginzei Teiman, 98, he, 745065428, This allows the effects of the salt to penetrate. Some Orthodox Jewish communities require the additional stricture of submersing raw meat in boiling water prior to cooking it, a practice known as ḥaliṭah (), “blanching.”Maimonides, Mishne Torah (Hil. Ma'achaloth Asuroth 6:10); cf. Babylonian Talmud, Hullin 111a. This was believed to constrict the blood lodged within the meat, to prevent it from oozing out when the meat was eaten. The raw meat is left in the pot of boiling water for as long as it takes for the meat to whiten on its outer layer. If someone wanted to use the water for soup after making ḥaliṭah in the same pot, he could simply scoop out the film, froth and scum that surface in the boiling water.{{Citation needed|date=February 2019}} Ḥaliṭah is not required when roasting meat over a fire, as the fire constricts the blood.

Kosher utensils

File:Kosher dishes P7160076.JPG|thumb|Kosher dairy dishes from the 19th century in the Jewish Museum, BerlinJewish Museum, BerlinUtensils used for non-kosher foods become non-kosher, and make even otherwise kosher food prepared with them non-kosher. Some such utensils, depending on the material they are made from, can be made suitable for preparing kosher food again by immersion in boiling water or by the application of a blowtorch.Food prepared in a manner that violates the Shabbat (Sabbath) may not be eaten; although in certain instances it is permitted after the Shabbat is over.Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim, 318:1

Passover laws

File:Kosher for Passover orange juice.JPG|thumb|left|The label on a bottle of orange juice certifying that it is kosher for PassoverPassoverPassover has special dietary rules, the most important of which is the prohibition on eating leavened bread or derivatives of this, which are known as chametz. This prohibition is derived from Exodus 12:15.{{Bibleverse||Exodus|12:15|HE}} Utensils used in preparing and serving chametz are also forbidden on Passover unless they have been ritually cleansed (kashered).Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim, 431–452 Observant Jews often keep separate sets of meat and dairy utensils for Passover use only. In addition, some groups follow various eating restrictions on Passover that go beyond the rules of kashrut, such as not eating gebrochtsWEB,weblink Keeping Up with Passover Trenditions, Brenner, Bayla Sheva,, Orthodox Union, May 22, 2013, 2005-04-05, or garlic.WEB,weblink Which vegetables may be eaten on Passover?, Davidson, Baruch S.,, May 22, 2013,

Produce of the Land of Israel

Biblical rules also control the use of agriculture produce, for example, with respect to their tithing, or when it is permitted to eat them or to harvest them, and what must be done to make them suitable for human consumption.{{citation needed|date=January 2015}} For produce grown in the Land of Israel a modified version of the biblical tithes must be applied, including Terumat HaMaaser, Maaser Rishon, Maaser Sheni, and Maasar Ani (untithed produce is called tevel); the fruit of the first three years of a tree's growth or replanting are forbidden for eating or any other use as orlah;WEB,weblink Terumos and Ma'asros, April 10, 2013, Heinemann, Moshe, Moshe Heinemann, Star-K, produce grown in the Land of Israel on the seventh year obtains k'dushat shvi'it, and unless managed carefully is forbidden as a violation of the Shmita (Sabbatical Year). Some rules of kashrut are subject to different rabbinical opinions. For example, many hold that the rule against eating chadash (new grain) before the 16th of the month Nisan does not apply outside the Land of Israel.WEB, What is "Yashan"?,weblink Posner, Menachem,, March 15, 2013,


File:Barley bug.jpg|thumb|A cocoon found among barleycorns in a commercially available bag of barley. Foods such as seeds, nuts and vegetablevegetableMany vegetarian restaurants and producers of vegetarian foods acquire a hechsher, certifying that a Rabbinical organization has approved their products as being kosher. The hechsher usually certifies that certain vegetables have been checked for insect infestation and steps have been taken to ensure that cooked food meets the requirements of bishul Yisrael.WEB, Are vegan restaurants automatically kosher?,weblink Posner, Eliezer,, March 15, 2013, Vegetables such as spinach and cauliflower must be checked for insect infestation. The proper procedure for inspecting and cleaning varies by species, growing conditions, and views of individual rabbis.WEB, Why Check for Insects?,weblink Star-K, March 15, 2013, dead,weblink" title="">weblink March 21, 2013,

Pareve foods

A Pareve (or Parve) food is one which is neither meat nor dairy. Fish fall into this category, as well as any food which is not animal-derived.Eggs are also considered pareve despite being an animal product.WEB, Meat, Dairy and Pareve,weblink OK Kosher Certification, March 15, 2013, Some processes convert a meat or dairy derived product into a pareve one. For example, rennet is sometimes made from stomach linings, yet is acceptable for making kosher cheese.The rennet must be kosher, either microbial or from special productions of animal rennet using kosher calf {{webarchive|url= |date=2012-03-06 }}, Retrieved August 10, 2005. Gelatins derived from kosher animal sources (which were ritually slaughtered) are also pareve.WEB, Kosher Gelatin:How a Product from Beef Can be Used in Dairy Delicacies,weblink OU Kosher, February 7, 2019, 2009-07-16, Other gelatin-like products from non-animal sources such as agar agar and carrageenan are pareve by nature. Fish gelatin, like all kosher fish products, is pareve.Jewish law generally requires that bread be kept parve (i.e., not kneaded with meat or dairy products nor made on meat or dairy equipment)."WITH THE SWEAT OF THOU BROW SHALL THOU EAT BREAD"Kashrut has procedures by which equipment can be cleaned of its previous non-kosher or meat/dairy use, but those may be inadequate for vegetarians, those with allergies, or adherents to other religious statutes. For example, dairy manufacturing equipment can be cleaned well enough that the rabbis grant pareve status to products manufactured with it but someone with a strong allergic sensitivity to dairy products might still react to the dairy residue. That is why some products that are legitimately pareve carry "milk" warnings.WEB, Kosher Consumer Misconsumptions,weblink Star-K, March 15, 2013,


If smoked, under normal circumstances there is no reason cannabis (marijuana) would not be kosher, although some rabbis apply this only to medical cannabis, not recreational usage. However, this is excepting that smoking it typically involves lighting a spark, so it would not be appropriate for example after sundown on Shabbat. If cannabis is "eaten", as cannabis edibles are, on the other hand, the issue is not as clear cut, as there may be small insects inside which are not kosher. For the observant it is recommended to only use brands that are certified as kosher. For cannabis grown in Israel, the plants must observe shmittah, but this does not apply to cannabis from elsewhere.NEWS, Schuster, Ruth,weblink Marijuana Is Always Kosher, as Long as You Smoke It, Haaretz, Tel Aviv, 7 January 2016, 27 January 2019,


Though it is not a food product, some tobacco receives a year long Kosher certification. This year long certification means that the tobacco is certified also for Passover where different restrictions may be in place. Tobacco may, for example, come into contact with some chametz grains that are strictly forbidden during passover and the certification is a guarantee that it is free from this type of contamination. In Israel this certification is given by a private kashrut rabbinic group Beit Yosef, but Chief Rabbinate has objected to granting of any certification by rabbis because of health risks from tobacco.WEB,weblink Rabbis fired up over kosher cigarettes for Passover, 2013-03-25, Times of Israel,

Genetically modified foods

With the advent of genetic engineering, a whole new type of food has been brought into the world, and scholars in both academia and Judaic faith have differing viewpoints on whether these new strains of foods are to be considered kosher or not. The first genetically modified animal approved by the FDA for human consumption is the AquAdvantage salmon, and while salmon is normally an acceptably kosher food, this modified organism has a gene from a nonkosher organism.Some put forth that this intermixing of species is against the teachings of the Talmud and thus against Jewish Law and nonkosher. Others argue that the one in sixty parts law of kashrut is of significance,{{clarify|date=February 2019}} and that the foreign gene accounts for the less than 1/60 of the animal and thus the modified salmon is kosherweblink{{page needed|date=February 2019}}

Supervision and marketing


Certain foods must be prepared in whole or in part by Jews. This includes grape wine,Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh De'ah 114 certain cooked foods (bishul akum),Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh De'ah 113 cheese (g'vinat akum), and according to some also butter (chem'at akum);Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh De'ah 115 dairy products (Hebrew: חלב ישראל chalav Yisrael "milk of Israel");Many rely on lenient rulings by Rabbi Moshe Feinstein in Teshuvot Igrot Moshe, Yoreh De'ah 1:47 and other 20th century rabbinic authorities who rule that strict government supervision prevents the admixture of non-kosher milk, making supervision unnecessary. See WEB,weblink Rabbi Chaim Jachter, Chalav Yisrael â€“ Part I: Rav Soloveitchik's View, December 2, 2007, and bread (Pas Yisroel).Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh De'ah 112, Orach Chayim 603

Product labeling standards

File:OUKosher.JPG|thumb|The circled U indicates that this product is certified as kosher by the Orthodox UnionOrthodox UnionFile:OK kosher D symbol.jpg|thumb|right|OK Kosher Certification (circled K) symbol with a dairy designation, on a bag of Trader Joe's chocolate chipchocolate chip{{details|Hechsher}}Although reading the label of food products can identify obviously non-kosher ingredients, some countries allow manufacturers to omit identification of certain ingredients. Such "hidden" ingredients may include lubricants and flavorings, among other additives; in some cases, for instance, the use of natural flavorings, these ingredients are more likely to be derived from non-kosher substances.WEB, What foods are kosher?,weblink Oxford Chabad Society, March 15, 2013, Furthermore, certain products, such as fish, have a high rate of mislabeling, which may result in a non-kosher fish being sold in a package labeled as a species of kosher fish.WEB,weblink Tests Reveal Mislabeling of Fish, Rosenthal, Elizabeth, May 26, 2011, The New York Times, May 22, 2013, Producers of foods and food additives can contact Jewish religious authorities to have their products certified as kosher: this involves a visit to the manufacturing facilities by an individual rabbi or a committee from a rabbinic organization, who will inspect the production methods and contents, and if everything is sufficiently kosher a certificate would be issued.WEB, How to choose a kosher certification,weblink, March 15, 2013, Manufacturers sometimes identify the products that have received such certification by adding particular graphical symbols to the label. These symbols are known in Judaism as hechsherim.WEB, About this web-site,weblink, March 15, 2013, Due to differences in kashrut standards held by different organizations, the hechsheirim of certain Jewish authorities may at times be considered invalid by other Jewish authorities.WEB, Kosher Certification,weblink, March 15, 2013, The certification marks of the various rabbis and organisations are too numerous to list, but one of the most commonly used in the United States of America is that of the Union of Orthodox Congregations, who use a U inside a circle ("O-U"), symbolising the initials of Orthodox Union. In Britain, a commonly used symbol is the "KLBD" logo of the London Beth Din.{{citation needed|date=February 2015}} A single K is sometimes used as a symbol for kosher, but since many countries do not allow letters to be trademarked (the method by which other symbols are protected from misuse), it only indicates that the company producing the product claims that it is kosher.WEB, Glossary of Kosher Terms,weblink Kosherfest, March 15, 2013, dead,weblink" title="">weblink February 3, 2013, Many of the certification symbols are accompanied by additional letters or words to indicate the category of the product, according to Jewish law; the categorisation may conflict with legal classifications, especially in the case of food that Jewish law regards as dairy, but legal classification does not.
  • D—Dairy
  • DE—Dairy equipment
  • M—Meat, including poultry
  • Pareve—Food that is neither meat nor dairy
  • Fish
  • P—Passover-related (P is not used for Pareve)
In many cases constant supervision is required because, for various reasons, such as changes in manufacturing processes, products that once were kosher may cease to be so. For example, a kosher lubricating oil may be replaced by one containing tallow, which many rabbinic authorities view as non-kosher. Such changes are often coordinated with the supervising rabbi, or supervising organization, to ensure that new packaging does not suggest any hechsher or kashrut. In some cases, however, existing stocks of pre-printed labels with the hechsher may continue to be used on the now non-kosher product. An active grapevine among the Jewish community discusses which products are now questionable, as well as products which have become kosher but whose labels have yet to carry the hechsher. Some newspapers and periodicals also discuss kashrut products.WEB, Kosher Supervision,weblink OK Kosher Certification, March 15, 2013, Products labeled kosher-style are non-kosher products that have characteristics of kosher foods, such as all-beef hot dogs,WEB, Zeldes, Leah A., Know your wiener!, Dining Chicago, Chicago's Restaurant & Entertainment Guide, Inc., July 8, 2010,weblink July 31, 2010, or are flavored or prepared in a manner consistent with Ashkenazi practices, like dill pickles.WEB, Zeldes, Leah A., Origins of neon relish and other Chicago hot dog conundrums, Dining Chicago, Chicago's Restaurant & Entertainment Guide, Inc., July 20, 2010,weblink July 31, 2010, The designation usually refers to delicatessen items.

History of kosher supervision and marketing

File:Kosher McDonald's, Abasto Shopping, Buenos Aires.jpg|thumb|Kosher McDonald's in Buenos Aires, ArgentinaArgentinaFood producers often look to expand their markets or marketing potential, and offering kosher food has become a way to do that. The uniqueness of kosher food was advertised as early as 1849.NEWS,weblink Early mention of kosher, 1849-03-15, Public Ledger, 2017-05-12, 2, {{open access, }} In 1911 Procter & Gamble became the first company to advertise one of their products, Crisco, as kosher.BOOK, Heinze, Andrew R., Adapting to Abundance: Jewish Immigrants, Mass Consumption, and the Search for American Identity,weblink March 15, 2013, 1 August 1992, Columbia University Press, 978-0-231-06853-6, 176,
Over the next two decades, companies such as Lender's Bagels, Maxwell House, Manischewitz, and Empire evolved and gave the kosher market more shelf-space. In the 1960s, Hebrew National hotdogs launched a "we answer to a higher authority" campaign to appeal to Jews and non-Jews alike. From that point on, "kosher" became a symbol for both quality and value. The kosher market quickly expanded, and with it more opportunities for kosher products. Menachem Lubinsky, founder of the Kosherfest trade fair, estimates as many as {{Nowrap|14 million}} kosher consumers and {{Nowrap|$40 billion}} in sales of kosher products in the USA.
WEB, The History of Kosher,weblink Kosherfest, March 15, 2013, dead,weblink" title="">weblink March 21, 2013, In 2014 the Israeli Defense Forces decided to allow female kosher supervisors to work in its kitchens on military bases, and the first women kosher inspectors were certified in Israel.WEB,weblink IDF To Allow Female Kosher Supervisors To Work on Military Bases, 9 January 2014, The Jewish Daily Forward, WEB,weblink First women kashrut inspectors certified in Israel - San Diego Jewish World, San Diego Jewish World,

Legal usage

Advertising standards laws in many{{quantify|date=August 2014}} jurisdictions prohibit the use of the phrase kosher in a product's labeling unless the producer can show that the product conforms to Jewish dietary laws; however, different jurisdictions often define the legal qualifications for conforming to Jewish dietary laws differently. For example, in some places the law may require that a rabbi certify the kashrut nature, in others the rules of kosher are fully defined in law, and in others still it is sufficient that the manufacturer only believes that the product complies with Jewish dietary regulations. In several cases, laws restricting the use of the term kosher have later been determined to be illegal religious interference.WEB, Popovsky, Mark, The Constitutional Complexity of Kosher Food Laws,weblink Columbia University, March 15, 2013, dead,weblink" title="">weblink September 22, 2013,


In the United States, the cost of certification for mass-produced items is typically minuscule,WEB,weblink The Kosher Nostra, 2006-10-23, Mikkelson, Barbara, Urban Legends Reference Pages, May 24, 2002, Urban Legends Reference Pages, BOOK, Brunvand, Jan Harold, Jan Harold Brunvand, Encyclopedia of urban legends, 2001, Reprint, November 2002, W. W. Norton, W. W. Norton & Company, New York, NY, 222–223, The Jewish Secret Tax, 0-393-32358-7, 2001000883, registration,weblink and is usually more than offset by the advantages of being certified. In 1975 The New York Times estimated the cost per item for obtaining kosher certification at 6.5 millionths of a cent ($0.000000065) per item for a General Foods frozen-food item. According to a 2005 report by Burns & McDonnell, most US national certifying agencies are non-profit, only charging for supervision and on-site work, for which the on-site supervisor "typically makes less per visit than an auto mechanic does per hour". However, re-engineering an existing manufacturing process can be costly.JOURNAL, Morris, Lisa, Hays, Jim, York, Elaine, 2005, Obtaining Kosher Certification: The Engineering Implications for Food Processing,weblink TECHBriefs, Burns & McDonnell, 2005, 3, 1–3, October 13, 2014, Certification usually leads to increased revenues by opening up additional markets to Jews who keep kosher, Muslims who keep halal, Seventh-day Adventists who keep the main laws of Kosher Diet, vegetarians, and the lactose-intolerant who wish to avoid dairy products (products that are reliably certified as pareve meet this criterion).WEB,weblink The "Kosher Tax" Hoax: Anti-Semitic Recipe for Hate, 2006-10-23, January 1991, Anti-Defamation League, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 2006-10-23, WEB,weblink The "Kosher Tax" Fraud, 2006-10-23, Luban, Yaakov, Orthodox Union, 2004-07-18, WEB,weblink Dispelling a rumor - there is no kosher tax or Jewish tax, 2006-10-24, December 22, 2003, Boycott Watch, BOOK, Levenson, Barry M., Habeas Codfish: Reflections on Food and the Law, 2001, University of Wisconsin Press, 0-299-17510-3, Adherents to other faiths, including Moslems and Seventh-Day Adventists, look to kosher certification for a variety of reasons (including making sure the product is pork free)., 188, According to the Orthodox Union, one of the largest kashrut organizations in the United States, "when positioned next to a competing non-kosher brand, a kosher product will do better by 20%".WEB,weblink Why Go Kosher, 2014, Orthodox Union, October 13, 2014, In some European communities there is a special tax imposed{{by whom|date=August 2015}} on the purchase of kosher meat to help support the community's educational institutions.{{dubious|date=May 2016}}NEWS,weblink Jewish Weekly, November 5, 2009, Wagner, Matthew, High costs discourage europeans from keeping kosher, In 2009 delegates at a meeting of the Rabbinical Council of Europe broadly agreed that the tax which supports the rabbinate, mikvo’os and other communal facilities should be reduced. "While the supermarket Tesco sells a whole chicken for £2, its kosher counterpart of similar weight costs five to six times more."WEB, Brussels call for lower kosher tax, Gold, Asher weblink >publisher= Rabbinical Center of Europe, October 29, 2009,

Society and culture


Many Jews observe kashrut partially, by abstaining from pork or shellfish, or by not drinking milk with a meat dish. Some keep kosher at home but will eat in a non-kosher restaurant. In 2012, one analysis of the specialty food market in North America estimated that only 15% of kosher consumers were Jewish.WEB,weblink The Specialty Food Market in North America, March 2012, Agri-Food Trade Service, Canada, Market Information, Muslims, Hindus, and people with allergies to dairy foods often consider the kosher-pareve designation as an assurance that a food contains no animal-derived ingredients, including milk and all of its derivatives.WEB,weblink Who Eats Kosher? Do You Have to Be Jewish to Eat Kosher?, March 14, 2013, Kosher Directory, However, since kosher-pareve foods may contain honey, eggs, or fish, vegans cannot rely on the certification.WEB,weblink Most Frequently Asked Questions, October 17, 2013, The Vegetarian Resource Group, WEB,weblink What about kosher symbols?, October 17, 2013, PETA, About a sixth of American Jews or 0.3% of the American population fully keep kosher, and there are many more who do not strictly follow all the rules but still abstain from some prohibited foods (especially pork). The Seventh-day Adventist Church, a Christian denomination, has a health message that expects adherence to the kosher dietary laws.BOOK, Jewish Folklore and Ethnology Review, Jewish Folklore and Ethnology Section of the American Folklore Society, 79, v. 18–20, 1996,weblink July 26, 2018, BOOK, Quick Frozen Foods, E.W. Williams, v. 39, 1977,weblink eu, July 26, 2018, {{page needed|date=October 2018}}A 2013 survey found that 22% of American Jews surveyed claimed to keep kosher in the home.WEB,weblink A Portrait of Jewish Americans: Chapter 4: Religious Beliefs and Practices, 1 October 2013, 8 January 2015, Pew Forum,


In Ancient Hebrew the word kosher () means be advantageous, proper, suitable, or succeedWEB,weblink A Hebrew and English lexicon of the Old Testament, Palmer Theological Seminary, according to the Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon. In Modern Hebrew it generally refers to kashrut, but it can also sometimes mean "proper". For example, the Babylonian Talmud uses kosher in the sense of "virtuous" when referring to Darius I as a "kosher king"; Darius, a Persian king (reigned 522-486 BCE), fostered the building of the Second Temple.Tractate Rosh Hashanah 3b, Schottenstein Edition, Mesorah Publications Ltd. In colloquial English, (wiktionary:kosher|kosher) often means "legitimate", "acceptable", "permissible", "genuine", or "authentic".BOOK, Eric Partridge, Tom Dalzell, Terry Victor, The New Partridge Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English: Volume 2, J-Z,weblink 2006, Taylor & Francis, 0-415-25938-X, 388, BOOK, B.A. Phythian, A concise dictionary of English slang and colloquialisms, 1976, The Writer, Inc, 0-87116-099-4, 110, Kosher Genuine. Fair. Acceptable., WEB,weblink Kashrut: Jewish Dietary Laws, March 14, 2013, Rich, Tracy,, The word kosher can form part of some common product names. Sometimes it is used as an abbreviation of koshering, meaning the process for making something kosher; for example, kosher salt is a form of salt with irregularly shaped crystals, making it particularly suitable for preparing meat according to the rules of kashrut, because the increased surface area of the crystals absorbs blood more effectively.WEB,weblink Kosher Salt, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 2015-12-30, At other times kosher can occur as a synonym for Jewish tradition; for example, a kosher dill pickle is simply a pickle made in the traditional manner of Jewish New York City pickle-makers, using a generous addition of garlic to the brine, and is not necessarily compliant with the traditional Jewish food laws.WEB
, February 17, 2019
, Bowen, Dana
, Ralph, Nancy
, New York Food Museum
, Kosher Dills are made the same way, but generous doses of garlic are added to the brine at the end. Just because they're called 'kosher dills' doesn't mean they are produced according to Kosher law - you have to check the label to see if Rabbinical supervision certified that particular brand Kosher.

See also



Further reading

  • BOOK, Samuel H. Dresner, Seymour Siegel, David M. Pollock, The Jewish Dietary Laws, 1982, United Synagogue Book Service, 978-0-8381-2105-4,
  • BOOK, Isidor Grunfeld, The Jewish Dietary Laws: Dietary laws regarding plants and vegetables, with particular reference to the produce of the Holy Land, 1982, 0-900689-22-6, Isidor Grunfeld,
  • Isaac Klein, A Guide to Jewish Religious Practice, JTSA, 1992
  • David C. Kraemer, Jewish Eating and Identity Throughout the Ages, Routledge, 2008
  • James M. Lebeau, The Jewish Dietary Laws: Sanctify Life, United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, New York, 1983
  • Yacov Lipschutz, Kashruth: A Comprehensive Background and Reference Guide to the Principles of Kashruth. New York: Mesorah Publications Ltd, 1989
  • Jordan D. Rosenblum, The Jewish Dietary Laws in the Ancient World. Cambridge University Press, 2016.
  • BOOK, Jordan D. Rosenblum, Food and Identity in Early Rabbinic Judaism, 2010-05-17, 978-0-521-19598-0,

External links

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