“Kosher? What’s That?”

Several prison inmates have written requesting help with getting approved to receive “kosher” meals. Many are told by the authorities that they have to be “Jewish” to qualify for kosher meals. Some of the inmates question if it is OK to eat from the regular chow line, if they cannot get on the kosher list.

This short article is intended to clear up the confusion surrounding just what is “kosher,” and whether you really need it, after all. Of course, no question, we are to refuse to eat what Scripture terms “unclean meats,” but the official Jewish meaning of “kosher” goes way beyond what the Scriptures require. To be officially kosher, per the authorities with whom I spoke at one Arkansas prison, requires a completely separate kitchen, and separate cooking utensils that have never had unclean meats in them must be used, also separate trays or dishes and silverware for serving, that have never had unclean meats served in or with them. In addition to that, the cooking must be supervised or done in the presence of a Jewish Rabbi, who must then “bless” it before it is served.

As they told me, this is quite expensive to maintain. That is why they restrict it to certified Jews only, and probably Moslems, too, since they also observe the clean food laws.

But is all this necessary in order to be obedient to Yahweh’s clean food laws? I do not think so. Here is why, as explained in this short article from a web site about Kosher foods and what it really means. Bear in mind that many of these rules and regulations are man-made and have no basis in Scripture:

What is Kosher Food?

Kosher food is food that meets Jewish dietary laws, or kashrut, which comes from the Hebrew word for "fit" or "proper." Any food can be called kosher food if it adheres to Jewish law, or halacha. Conversely, foods typically labeled as "Jewish" aren't necessarily kosher. Jewish foods are generally those dishes that are traditionally Jewish. Kreplach, cholent, kugel, latke, and kishka are all traditionally Jewish foods, but if they are not prepared in accordance with kashrut, they will not be kosher food.

The word "kosher" is not only used for food, however. Kosher basically means that something follows all the Jewish legal guidelines. The word has even gained a place in American slang to mean appropriate, legitimate, or proper. Instead of saying "that's not right," one might say "that's not kosher."

Kosher food laws are rather extensive. Some are derived directly from the bible and others through rabbinic interpretations over the years. What are some of the laws governing kosher food?

There are many other rules to be followed for anything to be considered kosher food. To make identification easier on the consumer, kosher food is often identified as such by its kashrut certification on the food's package. Kashrut certification is generally indicated by an identifiable symbol that includes the letter K, or by the word pareve, which means the food is neither dairy nor meat, but rather neutral.  ~

Notice that several of these rules have no Scriptural basis at all, such as not eating meat and drinking milk together. They extrapolate this rule from the Scripture that says not to boil a kid in its mother’s milk (Exo. 23:19, 34:26 & Deut.14:21).  Another is the prohibition against serving fish and meat together. I don’t know of any Scripture that even hints at this.

As for utensils, the nearest thing to the requirement that nothing unclean has ever touched them, is in Leviticus 11:32-33. Notice that it is earthen vessels that are to be broken and no longer used. This is because they are porous and cannot be cleaned like a utensil made of iron, steel, aluminum, copper, etc.

To see what Yahshua thought of Rabbis and their traditions, let’s look at a few Scriptures where He taught the people to beware of their “leaven,” which was their false doctrines:

(Mat 16:6-12 KJV)  "Then Yahshua said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees. {7} And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we have taken no bread. {8} Which when Yahshua perceived, he said unto them, O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread? {9} Do ye not yet understand, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? {10} Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? {11} How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees? {12} Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees."

He was on their case again in Matthew 15:

(Mat 15:1-9 KJV)  "Then came to Yahshua scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying {2} Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread. {3} But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of Yahweh by your tradition? {4} For Yahweh commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death. {5} But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; {6} And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of Yahweh of none effect by your tradition. {7} Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, {8} This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. {9} But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

Also, read Matthew 23, where He roundly condemned them for their false teachings. Then in verse 8, He tells us not to be called Rabbi. This means My Master, and those who submit to a Rabbi must obey him, even if he knows it is wrong, according to their teaching.

To sum up, it is not necessary to be on what the Jews consider a “kosher” diet. It is OK to select food from a buffet line. Just be careful what you select, leaving anything unclean untouched. If not sure what something is, ask. ~ (fb)