Koshrut Dietary Laws – What to Eat and What Not to Eat

Jewish dietary laws also called as Kosher laws (Koshrut) that deals with what food to eat and what not to eat and also on how the food should be prepared and eaten. In this, the word kashrut comes from the Hebrew root that means fit, proper or correct. And the word – Kosher that descrbes about the standards of the food.

The origin of these laws always been the subject of scholarly research and debate. However, these laws have significant impact on daily lives of Jewish people. In this article, we will discuss Jewish dietary laws on what Jewish people can eat and what they cannot.

Land mammals: According the Kosher dietary laws, Jewish people can eat animals that have two qualities – cloven hooves and chews its cud (with the exception of swarming rodents). If any land animal does not have the above qualities it is considered forbidden.

  • Examples:
    • Kosher animals: Cattle, sheep, goats, deer and bison.
    • Forbidden: Camel, rock badger, hare, pig, etc. These land animals are forbidden because each one lacks with one of the two qualities mentioned before.

Sea foods: People can eat the sea animals that has fins and scales. So, the animals that do not have these qualities are considered forbidden.

  • Examples:
    • Kosher (Permitted): Fish like tuna, carp, salmon and herring are permitted.
    • Forbidden: Shellfish such as lobsters, oysters, shrimp, clams and crabs are all forbidden. This is because they don’t have fins and scales.

Birds: There is a list of forbidden birds but they do not mention specifications why these birds are forbidden.

  • Examples:
    • Kosher (Permitted): Chicken, geese, ducks and turkeys.
    • Forbidden: Eagle, owl, swan, pelican, vulture, and stork – as well as their brood and clutch of eggs

Other Forbidden Animals: And other animals that are forbidden are rodents, reptiles, amphibians, and insects.

Therefore, any product that are obtained from the forbidden animals such as eggs, milk, organs or fat should not eat.

Fruits and vegetables: As per dietary law, all fruits and vegetables are kosher (permitted to eat). However, the fruits and vegetables that contain bugs are considered forbidden.

Example: Strawberries, raspberries, leafy vegetables, flowery vegetables, etc. are mainly prone to bugs. Therefore, it is advised to inspect carefully before cooking them.

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Updated: March 11, 2014 — 6:15 am
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