HomeOpinion & AnalysisDietary laws in Judaism: What God forbids

Dietary laws in Judaism: What God forbids

HebrewScriptures with BENJAMIN LEON

The laws of kashrut, also referred to as the Jewish dietary laws, are the basis for the kasher observance.

These rules were set forth in the Torah (The Five Books of Moses or the Mosaic Law) and elucidated in the Talmud. The Hebrew word “kasher” literally means “fit,” and the kasher laws concern themselves with which foods are considered fit to eat.

Any animal that has a cloven hoof that is completely split into double hooves, and which brings up its cud that one you may eat.— Leviticus 11:3.

The other main dietary law taken from the Bible is also taken from Leviticus (11:3 and 11:7-8). Here the Bible says that man should eat “whatsoever parteth the hoof, and is cloven-footed, and cheweth the cud”. … That is why Jews do not eat pork. The types of foods that can be eaten include: Grains — barley, corn,
millet, oats, rice, rye, wheat.

Judaism relates to consumption of alcohol, particularly of wine, in a complex manner. Wine is viewed as a substance of import and it is incorporated in
religious ceremonies, and the general consumption of alcoholic beverages is permitted, however drunkenness is discouraged.

And the pig, because it has a cloven hoof that is completely split, but will not regurgitate its cud — it is unclean for you. You shall not eat of their flesh,
and you shall not touch their carcasses — they are unclean for you. Although Christianity is also an Abrahamic religion, most of its adherents are permitted
to consume pork. Since Christianity lost most of its roots from Judaism, Christians are not bound to some restrictions of Mosaic Law. However, Seventh-day
Adventists consider pork taboo, along with other foods forbidden by Jewish law. The Eritrean Orthodox Church and the Ethiopian Orthodox Church do not permit
pork consumption.

Members of Islam for a number of reasons do not eat pork.

Seafood has its own set of kasher rules: Kasher fish must have scales and fins. Salmon, trout, tuna, sea bass, cod, haddock, halibut, flounder, sole,
whitefish, and most other fish commonly available in markets are kasher. Shellfish, mollusks, lobster, Mussels, crab and squid aren’t kasher.

Meat must be ritually slaughtered and salted to remove all traces of blood. Observant Jews will eat only meat or poultry that is certified kasher. The blood
libel that Jews mixed blood with unleavened bread during Passover is an anti-Semitic fabrication. Jews are forbidden to eat blood.
Thou shalt not seethe a kid in its mother’s milk!

The classical rabbis only considered milk and meat cooked together biblically forbidden, but Jewish writers of the Middle Ages also forbade consumption of
anything merely containing the mixed tastes of milk and meat. This included, for example, meat that had been soaked in milk for an extended period.

All Jewish religious movements agree that a person may be a Jew either by birth or through conversion. According to halakha (Jewish Law), a Jew by birth must
be born to a Jewish mother. Halakha states that the acceptance of the principles and practices of Judaism does not make a person a Jew, one has to undertake
course of Jewish law and then be examined by the Beth Din (Rabbinical Court), who then issues a certificate of conversion.

Benjamin Leon is a member of the Jewish community in Zimbabwe.
Feedback: vleon@ mango.zw

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