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An Account of Jewish Food Laws and their Origins - Kashrut: The Jewish Dietary Laws

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An Account of Jewish Food Laws and their Origins Kashrut: The Jewish Dietary Laws Kashrut is what makes up the body of Judaism, and deals with what foods Jews can and cannot eat, as well as how those foods must be prepared in order to be considered "kosher" (fit to eat). "Kashrut" is derived from the Hebrew root Kaf-Shin-Resh, which means fit, correct and proper. The word "kosher" can also be used, and often is used, to describe ritual objects that are made in accordance with Jewish law and are fit for ritual use. Food that is not kosher is commonly referred to as treyf literally meaning "torn", from the commandment not to eat animals that have been torn by other animals. Basic Food Laws There are extensive laws in Judaism concerning food, but here are general rules upon which the rest are based, which I will elaborate on:- * Certain animals are simply not kosher: Certain animals may not be eaten at all. This includes the forbidden animals' flesh, organs, milk as well as eggs. ...read more.


(These restrictions apply only to the flocks and herds, not to fish.) Ritual slaughter is known as shechitah: the method used by Jews to kill animals is seen as the most humane, as it is virtually painless. The method is one quick, deep stroke across the throat with a perfectly sharp blade; causing the animal to be unconscious within two seconds. Another advantage of shechitah is that it ensures complete draining of the blood, making the meat kosher. In smaller, more remote communities, the rabbi and the shochet are sometimes the same person. The shochet must be well trained in Jewish law, especially kashrut. Draining of Blood: Consumption of blood is prohibited by the Torah. This does not apply to fish blood, only to the blood of birds and mammals. Thus, it is necessary to remove all blood from the flesh of kosher animals, in order for them to remain kosher. The first step in this process occurs at the time of slaughter. The blood remaining after the slaughtering must be removed, either by broiling, or by soaking and salting. ...read more.


(Kosher butchers remove this from animals.) Separation of Meat and Dairy: The Torah tells Jews not to "boil a kid in its mother's milk." This passage has been interpreted as prohibiting eating meat and dairy together. Rabbis have extended this prohibition to include not eating milk and poultry together. Also, it is considered to be unhealthy to cook meat and fish together or serving them on the same plates, and so is prohibited. It is, however, permissible to eat fish and dairy together, as well as to eat dairy and eggs together. Jews must wait a significant amount of time between eating meat and dairy. Opinions differ on exact timing, and vary from three to six hours. This is because meat particles and fatty residues tend to cling to the mouth. From dairy to meat, however, one need only rinse one's mouth and eat a neutral solid, such as bread. Although these strict food laws observed by Jews do tend to isolate Jews in a mixed community, it is seen (primarily by Jews partaking in keeping kosher) to be a small way in which they can show their loyalty to G-d, as well as being a practise in self-control and discipline. ...read more.

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