Sunday, April 23, 2017

Kosher - You Are What You Eat

by Rabbi Ephraim Sprecher, Dean of Students, Diaspora Yeshiva

The Torah only allows us to eat animals that have split hooves and also chew the cud. Animals that chew the cud but do not have split hooves or vice versa may not be eaten.

What is the relevance of these physical signs to the issue of eating the animal that has or doesn't have these signs? Are these just CHUKIM (statutes) from Hashem which we must obey without understanding the reason?

The Sefer Kol Bo explains the significance of these Kosher signs. The reason why certain animals chew the cud is because these types of animals feed on vegetation. And it is not in their interest to chew their food properly and slowly in one certain place. This would make them vulnerable to predators that wait to pounce on them and eat them, or to the elements, the blazing sun or driving rain.

Thus, by biting off their food and swallowing it immediately, they are able to eat quickly and run for safety. This is a great benefit for these vulnerable animals. Later on, when these animals come to safer ground or more comfortable surroundings, the food comes back up from their stomachs, they grind it and then digest it properly. Therefore, "chewing the cud" is a safety mechanism for these types of animals against predators and the hostile elements.

And the reason why kosher animals also have spilt hooves and not sharp, strong claws is because their feet serve as accessories for them to stand and walk, unlike predators, which require claws to rip apart their prey. Additionally, their split hooves enable them to flee from predators and afford them good grip even on mountainous terrain. Thus, these animals can run and jump when escaping any threat.

Hashem in His love for His People, requires us to abstain from eating all predatory animals. When food is digested by a person it becomes a part of him, and his nature becomes similar to that of which he ate. Thus, Hashem does not want us to derive our nourishment from animals that have predatory character traits. Hashem does not want us to be affected by the traits of animals that hunt and kill.

Hashem only allows us to eat and absorb into our bodies those animals which survive without killing other animals. These Kosher animals, which are pursued but are not pursuers, inject into us the positive trait of non-aggression.

The Torah teaches that you are what you eat. Thus, in order to ensure that our spiritual sensitivity, which is the trademark of a Jew, remains unblemished, the Torah instructs us to eat only kosher animals.


  1. Handed Down in the Torah to the Mishna and Talmud, Hashem reveals,....
    "This is what you are allowed to eat from all the water" Everything that has FINS
    and SCALES,,,,for everything that has SCALES for sure has FINS, This is an
    ABSOLUTETRUTH, for any fish that is found that has scales on it's body and when you scratch it and the scales fall off, you will also see fins on that fish.

    TO ALL
    THE TORAH IS DEVINE AND GIVEN BY THE CREATOR OF THIS WORLD AND ALL THAT IS, FROM HASHEM, THERE ARE NO MISTAKES IN THE TORAH, HASHEM CONTROLS EVERYTHING Today there are over 64,000 species of fish, and each year they are adding 150 to 200 new species of fish. Nearly 2 million species of animals and plants..Science is also creating fish, new species of fish are being


    TO those that are not Jewish, Only G-D can say such a thing because only Hashem sees the past,present and future and the same time, and Hashem says
    there will never be a fish that has scales with no fins, for every fish that has scales will always have fins. The absolutetruth, from Hashem

    DOVID B.

    1. Hello Dovid, I remember when I first heard about how you would never find a fish with fins but no scales , although it doesn't say this in Torah as far as I can see? It only says that of the water whatever has both fins and scales that you may eat of, and any creature of the water that doesn't have fins and scales are an abomination to you. The reason I mention this is as far as I know a Catfish has fins but no scales. So when I first heard that statement before a few years ago when I watched a Torah and Science video, I thought to myself Hmm? The Most High doesn't say you'll never find a creature with scales but no fins or fins but no scales in Torah that way. And I was reminded of the Catfish which is a very popular eating fish to many, especially in the southern US etc. Dunno?? All I know is I won't be eating a Catfish anytime soon, although I'm very far from the US south anyhow lol. Shalom, Dave..

    2. Opps sorry, I just realized and got it! I was thinking of the fins and scales in both ways for some reason. Example: fins always have scales, scales always have fins. And my small mind was just thinking of fish for some reason lol. Okay now that was a senior moment for me, as dolphins and whales etc have fins but no scales. I shall now go back to my corner with my dunce hat on lol.. Shalom, Dave..

    3. The oral Torah is Torah. Everything is in the Torah just much harder to find.

      Yes, catfish are not Kosher, no scales. They are not the docile type fish as the kosher variety. In other words, we wouldn't want to pick up some of its traits (we are what we eat).

      All fish are the same way as the animals talked about in the article. Fish that are predictors, such as sharks or barracudas, are mean and therefore don't have scales.

      The fact that there are no fish with scales and no fins is another miracle that lets you know that the One Who wrote the Torah knows every sea creature that ever lived. No person could have written that without the possibility of losing complete credibility. The same thing exists with the animals. I may talk about it later this week, B"N.

      Dolphins and whales are mammals, not fish.

    4. Rav Menachem, Funny after I posted that first comment to Dovid, I reread his commnent and I 'got it' finally!, and was wishing I could take my comment back as I had it all twisted around lol :) For some reason all this time I was thinking that what was being said outside of what I see in Torah, is you'd never find a finned fish without scales, or that everything with fins had to have scales. That made me think about the catfish for fish, and whales and such for fins and so I was like hmm?? I was all wrong and sort of read it as if I was dyslexic all this time. I'm not, so that's no excuse hehe. I've been thinking of it that way since back when I first heard Rabbi Mizrachi mention about the fins and scales in a video of his I saw some years ago.

      This was the first time I ever commented on the subject, and within minutes after I posted I was like oops! now I get it!. So I sent the next post right away. I should have just kept my mouth shut, or my typing in this case lol.. I do not know why I was reading and hearing in my mind "you will never find a fish with fins and no scales", when no one was saying that. Yes I believe the Torah was given 100% from the Most High, and that there is no other than Him. Sorry for my confusion and I'm still red faced lol. Shalom Dave.

  2. That's really neat as I've never thought of it that way about the predatory animals. I'm a gentile although circumcised at birth (not sure what day), and have been eating only the clean animals for about 15 years now. I guess I'm like a quasi vegetarian for most meals, but will also eat chicken, turkey, and fish (with fins and scales). I guess it applies to the predatory land animals only, as with the fish they are all predatory etc. For aquatic species with fins and scales, it would seem what would apply is not eating of them while they are still alive, or drinking of the blood. It's so gross when I think of the way many cultures do eat of things when they are still alive and also drink or use the blood as food, yuck! We were given such an amazing example of how to treat animals, and of how and what can be consumed in Torah.

    The requirements and restrictions for the use and consumption of all living things as found in Torah, is yet another example that proves in my opinion, of how these commands were a national revelation directly from The Most High to His people. Amazing! Shalom Dave..

  3. The following is an excerpt from a post I wrote on Facebook, if you find it acceptable please share with your readers.

    In the Torah portion which we read yesterday, Parshas Shemini, we learn of the tragic passing of the two eldest sons of Aharon HaKohein, Nadav and Avihu, who perished while making an "alien fire," an incense offering in the Holy of Holies, without having been instructed to do so. There are differing commentaries on the precise nature of their sin, whether the punishment was so severe because they were slightly intoxicated, allowed their passion to guide them to the exclusion of following rules, or perhaps not consulting their superiors before undertaking this offering. The exact circumstances are not necessary to understand, but the main takeaway we should have from this is that we are supposed to follow Hashem's will, as laid out by His instructions in the Torah, and following the interpretation of the elders, whose instruction came down in a mesorah all the way from Moshe Rabbeinu. There are those in more "modern" Jewish practices who feel that the practice of Judaism must "evolve." I am speaking to those "egalitarian" congregations, where the women might put on tefillin or count for a minyan, because they feel they must do so in order to express their passion and love for Hashem, all the while not dressing modestly, and in many cases not even keeping Shabbos or the kosher laws which were also brought down in yesterday's parsha. This is a grave mistake. Unlike Aharon's sons, we do not see such people being struck down dead on the spot these days, for we are on such a low spiritual level, and because Hashem is mercifully and patiently waiting for us to wake up and realize that it is incumbent upon us to practice Judaism according to HIS INSTRUCTIONS and not according to our own desires, wishes, and passions for how WE WANT our worship to be. Moshiach is on the verge of being revealed. Once that happens, it will be too late to say "I'm sorry" and get it right, and our eternal life is at stake. The time for teshuvah is NOW. Please do not offer alien forms of worship.

    1. Well said. I do have some additional things to mention.

      One is that there were six violations that the sons of Aharon did, and each is too deep for us to understand with a short discussion here.

      Second is that we have no idea how everything effects our true self, our souls. To say to a woman that they are spiritually at a higher level and don't need Tallis or Tefillin, cannot be understood with flawed human logic. To tell a woman that she is lowering herself to the spiritual level of a man would also sound like an excuse and not get too far, even though it is as true as can be.

      To tell women that men were punished when the spies came back with their report, because the men believed the wrong spies and women were more intelligent about the report. That also would not get too far (I have been doing it for years). What was the punishment? That they must come before Hashem as a minion to pray and not just as individuals as woman are allowed. If a woman wants to be included in the minion, she once again is trying to lower herself to the spiritual level of a man, and wants his punishment that she doesn't deserve.

      I have said many times: Ignorance is not bliss; ignorance is dangerous. People hurt their souls by doing the wrong thing in this life, an opportunity to help ourselves to a great eternity. Living by their flawed human logic instead of the truth of Hashem is unbelievable ignorance and extremely dangerous.

      Rav Avigdor Miller, zt"l, talked about having Hell in Heaven. People who are in the afterlife and see what they could have had, if they only payed more attention to reality. They are in Heaven but they kick themselves for all eternity because they realize how much more tremendous it could have been.

      We are our own worst enemies, but we won't find it out until it is too late. Or, we can listen and live the Absolute Truth of Hashem now and celebrate later (forever and ever).

    2. Unlike the sons of Aharon, women that want to be in the role of Jewish men in way of worship, may have a reason. A Jewish woman have no reason to want or even desire this, for her strong connection to Hashem by birth gives full satisfaction in her appropriate worship and service of her Creator, by helping her husband to do his tikkun, running Jewish family and serving together with all the beautiful talents we got. That's how comes to title of Rebetzin.
      A loving wife of a Rabbi.
      By the way, how's everything with Rebetzin Robinson?
      Please give her my warm greetings.

      Orna Nitzevet

  4. Dear HY,April 23, 2017 at 6:15 PM Thank you for your reply. There is no need to apologize for anything,..It is all a process. There are times that I may misinterpret, misquote, and with Rav. Menachem Robinson, to over see, the accuracy of what is posted here in regards the TORAH, I am certain things will
    be corrected because Menachem has our best interests at Hearts. This is why when a person learns the Torah, Mishna, Talmud, Gemorah, a Rabbi will usually qoute the exact passage/source/person from the Torah as to clarify the subject being discussed. Unfortunatly, my knowledge is lmited, but I will do my best to bring you and to all, information,as accurate as I can.

    DOVID B.