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Foods forbidden in each religion: Judaism

23 mayo, 2021

A couple of weeks ago, on the occasion of Christian Lent, I began a series of articles with the foods forbidden in every religion. In the first we learned what are Halal foods, those allowed by the Koran and Sharia, and today it is the turn to know what are the restrictions that Judaism imposes on its faithful in terms of food.

Jews are guided by kashrut for its food, since it designates what is appropriate to be ingested by the practitioners of Judaism. Foods that meet the precepts of kashrut are considered kosher or kosher. Those who do not comply with the precepts of religion are called trefá or taref.

Foods prohibited by Judaism

Although simplistically it is considered that the prohibitions of the Torah With regard to food, they are limited to the fact that it is not allowed to eat meat and dairy at the same time (goodbye entrecote with pepper sauce) nor pork or any of its derivatives, the reality is that the kosher diet includes many more restrictions, with Judaism probably being the strictest religion in this regard.

The Torah is quite clear as to which animals are allowed and which are not. Thus, the consumption of terrestrial animals is allowed that have cloven hooves and chew (cows, sheep, goats and deer are kosher) while those who do not meet these two conditions are not allowed, which excludes pigs, rabbits, hares, squirrels, dogs, cats, camels and horses from their diet, although the list it is long, as you can imagine.

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These are the animals that you will eat out of all the animals on earth. Among the animals, everyone who has a cloven hoof and chews the cud, this one you will eat. But of those that chew the cud or that have hoofs, you shall not eat these: the camel, because it chews the cud but does not have a split hoof, you will consider it unclean. Also the rabbit, because it chews the cud, but it does not have a hoof, you will consider it unclean. Likewise the hare, because it chews the cud but does not have a hoof, you will consider it unclean. Also the pig, because it has hooves, and has cloven hooves, but does not chew the cud, you will consider it unclean. Third Book of Moses, 11.

Regarding birds, the Torah also offers a list of unclean birds, although not a clear reason for this, although most are scavengers or birds of prey, so the interpretations of the Rabbis tend to go in that direction, prohibiting unusual birds at the table such as the vulture, the eagle or the crow , but also others that are not so, such as the ostrich or the pheasant. Those that are allowed are chicken, duck, goose and turkey, although as this is a new world animal and does not appear in the scriptures there are some discrepancies in this regard.

As regards fish and shellfish, for a marine animal to be kosher, it must simultaneously have fins and scales, thus allowing a wide range of fish such as tuna, salmon, carp, grouper, sardines … but leaving out all shellfish (prawns, prawns, mollusks, crabs, octopus …) and also whales, sharks, dolphins or swordfish.

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Also exist restrictions on eating insects and other types of animals. Only lobster (not shellfish, but insect) and grasshopper are allowed, but all other winged insects, crawling insects, rodents, reptiles, and amphibians are prohibited. Similarly, there are some parts of kosher animals that are also prohibited, such as the fats around the vital organs or the sciatic nerve.

Logically, all products derived from these animals are also prohibited, except for one curious exception: honey from beesSince it is considered to be a product of flowers, and fruits, vegetables and all kinds of vegetables are allowed, taking care to wash them well so as not to swallow an insect by mistake, yes.

The Shechita

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As is also the case with the rules of Islamic Sharia, not everything is limited to prohibiting a series of foods, but also the animals that are allowed must be sacrificed in a concrete way to be consumed.

Thus, animals killed by natural causes are discarded, while the ritual slaughter, known as Shechita, must be executed by the slaughterer (shojet, who is sometimes also the rabbi) with a clean, deep cut in the throat made with a sharp knife, so as to ensure that the animal suffers as little as possible.

The Torah also prohibits the consumption of blood, so terrestrial animals and birds must be completely bled before being consumed, salting them. Fish are exempt from this prohibition, but not other foods, so a blood stain on an egg, for example, makes it a taref.

Separation of meat and dairy

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Some time ago, on a television renovation program, I saw the renovation of a house for a Jewish family, and it struck me that the kitchen needed two completely separate sinks. This is because the Torah states that not only dairy and meat products should not be consumed at the same timeInstead, different utensils should be used so that there is no cross contamination.

A) Yes, in an ideal kosher home, there should be two kitchens, one for dairy and one for meat, although as in practice this is complicated, great care must be taken in using some utensils (pots, cutlery, cutting boards …) for dairy products and others for meats, taking extreme care Precautions not to use one with the other, as that utensil would no longer be kosher and not suitable for the kitchen. There is even a complex regulation on under what circumstances food from both groups can be cooked in the same oven or microwave, again being the most advisable to have one of each.

Both meat (which also includes poultry) and dairy can be consumed with neutral foods (fish and vegetables). To consume meat after having consumed dairy, it will be enough to change the tablecloth and cutlery on the table, clean your mouth and eat something solid like bread (although in some currents it is also necessary to wait a little), while to consume dairy after eating meat it is necessary to allow several hours to elapse.

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All this also applies to companies, hence the food products that want to receive any of the symbols that identify them as kosher (usually a U enclosed in a circle) must be subjected to rabbinical inspection for approval.

I think it has become quite clear the level of precision with which food is regulated in Judaism, and that I have only gone over the main restrictions, without going into different interpretations and currents or the endless details that must be taken into account when cooking if we want it to be a kosher recipe.

Images | Matt, Daniel Maleck Live at the Paladar | Foods forbidden in each religion: Islamism