Dietary (Food) Law

The dietary laws were given only to Israel. For example, God explained why His people should eat a cow but not a horse, a duck but not a swan, etc. God explains what animals are clean and unclean (lobsters eat the trash on the sea floor), what clothes to wear (mixing wool and cotton cause us to sweat), etc. These laws were for the well-being and health of Israel, and to set them apart from all the nations of the world. However, the moral Law (You shall not kill, commit adultery, steal, etc.), was given through Israel to the whole world (see Romans 3:19-20). It is the moral Law that we will stand before and be judged by on the Day of Judgment (see Romans 2:12, James 2:12).

Kashrut is the body of Jewish law dealing with what foods Jews can and cannot eat and how those foods must be prepared and eaten. "Kashrut" comes from the Hebrew root Kaf-Shin-Reish, meaning fit, proper or correct. It is the same root as the more commonly known word "kosher," which describes food that meets these standards. Food that is not kosher is commonly referred to as treif (lit. torn, from the commandment not to eat animals that have been torn by other animals).

General Rules

Although the details of kashrut are extensive, the laws all derive from a few fairly simple, straightforward rules:

  1. Certain animals may not be eaten at all. This restriction includes the flesh, organs, eggs and milk of the forbidden animals.
  2. Of the animals that may be eaten, the birds and mammals must be killed in accordance with Jewish law.
  3. All blood must be drained from meat and poultry or broiled out of it before it is eaten.
  4. Certain parts of permitted animals may not be eaten.
  5. Fruits and vegetables are permitted, but must be inspected for bugs (which cannot be eaten)
  6. Meat (the flesh of birds and mammals) cannot be eaten with dairy. Fish, eggs, fruits, vegetables and grains can be eaten with either meat or dairy. (According to some views, fish may not be eaten with meat).
  7. Utensils (including pots and pans and other cooking surfaces) that have come into contact with meat may not be used with dairy, and vice versa. Utensils that have come into contact with non-kosher food may not be used with kosher food. This applies only where the contact occurred while the food was hot.
  8. Grape products made by non-Jews may not be eaten.
  9. There are a few other rules that are not universal.[1]
More on this can be found in my article on God's Law.

FOOTNOTES:

1. http://www.jewfaq.org/kashrut.htm Accessed on August 17, 2010


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