The word kosher, translated from Hebrew into English, means “fit” for something.
Today, this word is most often used in combination kosher food – so called food prepared in accordance with the laws of the Jewish tradition. The combination of these laws is called in Hebrew – Kashrut .
Kashrut is a rather voluminous system of laws. But it is based on only a few commandments known from the Torah, and some additional rules established by the Jewish sages at a later time.
Once again, we note that the complete system of kashrut rules is rather complicated. Therefore, we do not even try to give a “guide” for kosher, but we will only try to find out what the tradition means by talking about kosher food.
You can briefly list the basic principles of kashrut:
– it is allowed to eat meat of only certain (kosher) species of land animals, birds and fish;
– an animal whose meat is used for food must be killed, cooked and cut in a special way;
– Do not mix meat and milk foods;
– there are certain requirements for eating fruits grown by Jews in Eretz Israel,
– there are additional restrictions on some other products.
Let’s look at these principles in more detail
First of all, what kind of animals, poultry and fish meat can in principle be used to make kosher food?
Precise instructions on this subject are contained in the Torah, in the 11th chapter of the Vaikra book. And they are formulated in the form of prohibitions and permits, so that the division of animals into permitted and prohibited is a commandment.
In accordance with the instructions, permitted, kosher, land animals (as well as birds and fish) are called pure in the tradition, and unresolved are called unclean.
Probably the most famous of unclean (forbidden to eat) animals is a pig: almost everyone has heard that Jews do not eat pork. However, not everyone knows that in the same way the Jewish tradition forbids eating, for example, rabbit or crabs.
Further, to the unclean include all insects, amphibians and reptiles. And if in most countries such food is practically not accepted, in some other countries it is very popular (for example, frogs in France).
It should also be borne in mind the following principle: the product of an unclean animal is also unclean. What is an “animal product”? This, for example, milk. Therefore, the tradition prohibits the use of, say, camel milk (which is drunk in some muslim countries of Middle East), since the camel is a non-kashernoe animal (see further). For the same reason, turtle eggs are forbidden: the tortoise is reptile, which means it is non-kosher.
There is only one exception to this rule – honey. It is kosher, although it is the product of the activity of insects – bees.
There is no such thing – “unclean plants”. All kinds of fruits, vegetables, mushrooms, berries – kosher. There are, however, some subtleties associated with the fruits of Eretz Yisrael.