(Kashrut, Halakhic Laws)
Kosher foods are foods that have been prepared in accordance with Kashrut laws (or Halakhic Laws) to make the foods fit for consumption by religious Jews that follow the doctrines of the Jewish faith.
What is Kosher food?
Is Kosher a style of cooking?
Must Kosher food be prepared
by special people?
The concept of suitable (fit) food is not restricted to Judaism only, Islam has a similar system called Halal, some Christian denominations like Seventh Day Adventists also follow the rules as set out in the book of Leviticus, referred to as “clean foods”. The Hindus have a similar set of rules known as the Sattvic diet, which specifies what is fit for consumption (but does not specify the method of slaughter).
Over the centuries the implication of purity of Kosher foods has spread into many other religions and cultures where it is widely believed that kosher foods are cleanest and safest to eat. There are many non-Jewish people that eat kosher foods from choice because they believe that these foods are prepared to higher standards of cleanliness.
The origin of kashrut is tracked back to the Torah and, for most religious Jews that is enough reason to observe these rules. The purpose and meaning of these laws is still debated today even among the most devout. Some argue that these laws were given as a demonstration of God’s authority over mankind and there is an expectation by God that these laws will be followed blindly. Others believe that these were practical hygiene laws needed at the time to prevent disease and illness.
There are many of these laws that support the argument that healthy living was the main objective. For instance consumption of an animal that is diseased or was “torn by beasts” was prohibited, strongly suggesting that the risk of contamination was the motivating force.
Other rules like simultaneous consumption of milk and meat (while both may be perfectly Kosher if consumed individually) do not appear to support the health risk argument.
Some believe that the slaughtering laws are more humane, but even that is questioned as the laws relate more to draining the carcass of blood as to humane and speedy slaughter (the most efficient way to drain a body of blood is to cut the throat whilst the animal is still alive as this is where the major arteries are located).
Some believe that the kashrut was to make Jews maintain a separate existence from other races, keeping both the religion and race from being diluted (one of the laws that states that grape products made by non-Jews may not be consumed regardless of how prepared, tend to support this theory, as it prohibits most, if not all, non-Jewish restaurants and bars).
Regardless of how and why it came about there is no denying that the word kosher has meaning outside the Jewish community. To the majority of US citizens it has a variety of meanings ranging from clean, acceptable, to authentic, desirable, genuine, reliable and wholesome. The concept of Kosher is here to stay and, if anything, is gaining ground particularly in non-religious communities.
In the United States around one in every six Jews adhere to the kosher diet although many more observe the diet partially (not eating pork or not mixing dairy and meat in the same meal). However they only account for less than one quarter of the market for kosher foods. The acceptance that kosher is an indication of wholesomeness is still growing amongst non-Jewish people, not only in the Americas but also in Europe, Africa and Australasia.
Kosher has grown in acceptance over the centuries as a Body, Mind, Spirit modality in both religious and non-religious applications of alternative health with a very wide and growing following.
This page is a very brief summary of a very complex and extensive set of laws. On these pages we acknowledge Kashrut and Kosher as a growing measurement of wholesomeness that should be included in our website. The definition of Kosher, Kashrut, Jewish Halakhic laws and elaborations by rabbinical authorities is beyond the scope of this website. We provide below links to sites for more detailed information: