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Abstract

The kosher laws are health laws which are practiced n Judaism. These laws are written in Torah and signify that they covenant which God made with children of Israel hence these are some of the rules which were to be followed if the covenant is to be followed. Despite this not all Jews practice this as some believe they are traditional rules which have been rendered redundant in the modern world. This paper will look at how the laws came into existence. In this it will include all the rules which are practiced, the foods which are allowed and this will include all types of food from bird to grape fruits.  The foods that are not accepted will also be reviewed. The paper will also look at the reasons why the laws are still being practiced today and why some are not using them anymore. What is the significance of kosher food and its laws in Judaism?

Introduction

Kosher foods or in other name the kashrut are foods which according to the Jewish principles are considered clean. In the Jewish religion and doctrines there are foods which are allowed for consumption while some are not allowed. These foods are not necessarily approved by receiving a blessing from a rabbi for it to make a kosher as is the common misconception. Hence it is only named in relation to foods which meet the set bar for kosher foods in the society. However in the modern world today sometimes identifying a kosher food may be a difficult especially when dealing with processed. This is a result of the processed foods being a combination of many additions some of which may not be indicated but may not be accepted as kosher food. In such incidences the best option is to search for a Rabbi to assist in the identification if this food indeed does fall within the stated class of foods which are acceptable. Appoint to remember is that kosher is not a type of food but a set of rules and laws set down by the Torah in relation to preparation of food but at the same time excludes some specific types of food.[1]

According to the Torah which is basically the five books in the testament the Kosher foods are defined in details and the type of foods which are classified as Kosher. When dealing with foods that are derived from mammals the Torah states strongly only animals which are cloven hoofed and chew cud can be slaughtered for food. These animals include sheep, goats and cows while other animals which are used for food but don't fall under kosher food like the pig and rabbits are prohibited for slaughtering for food. The bible also clearly in the book of Deuteronomy 14:7 "the pig is unclean despite having a split hoof it does not chew cud". Moreover when dealing with birds only species like the chicken, goose and turkey among others are allowed to be eaten.  In addition to this, the fish foods which are allowed as kosher foods are those which have removable scales and have fins. This clearly excludes sea food like the lobster, shrimp and shell fish.  Despite this some fish like the herring and tuna can be allowed to taken as kosher food if the fish is processed using all the machinery and equipment which is appropriate by a kosher fish monger. It is important to note that when one is preparing fish as kosher food he or she will not buy the fish unless the scales are present.

The rules which are set by the Kosher are so strict and it states that any food which is processed will only be prepared in the presence of a rabbi who will pass it to qualify as kosher food. These laws rabbinic laws which are employed in this kosher are very strict in event he way the food is served. In this it states that meat and milk cannot be served together. This law is extended to the serving which involves poultry where it can't serve with either of the previous foods. However there is an exception when it comes to fish which allows it to be served along with milk hence this has led to a rise of brand of products which are processed and packaged in a manner that its target market is the Jewish followers who consume kosher food. The eating of insects is also prohibited with the Deuteronomy 14:19 stating" all flying insects that swarm are unclean and; you may not eat them".

Rules of Kosher

Shechita

This is a set of guide lines which are used to in the slaughtering both for meat and poultry. The key principle in this case is that the animals which are going to be slaughtered should be done in a painless manner. This means the process as to be done in a humane method. The procedure is carried out by a Shochet who is skilled and uses a chalaf which is a sharp instrument that is used to severe the neck from behind by cutting. This action automatically stops the supply of blood to the brain which is used to monitor all conscious activity hence losing the ability to feel pain. The blow that is used in killing the animal is delivered in one swift motion and is applied at the back of the head.  Although in some countries its law requires that any animal which is to be slaughtered has to be stunned first. This can exclude the shechita because by cutting blood flow to the brain it automatically stuns the animal as the animal goes into unconsciousness which it cannot recover from. This is a long procedure and after the animal has been killed, the animal is examined by a separate group of experts to determine if the animal has any abnormalities and it will only be passed as kosher foods if no abnormalities or any insanitary conditions are discovered. This examination mostly targets the lungs where they have to be clean while all the fats and blood in the animal needs to be removed and drained respectively.

Blood

According to the Torah in which the kosher practice is based upon, the consumption of blood is prohibited. This is because it is considered that blood carries the soul of the animal hence should not be eaten. Hence in the slaughtering process it is very important to remove all blood from the animal but this is applicable to the meat and poultry while excluding blood of the fish. To remove all the blood the meat especially the liver that has a lot of blood will be broiled while the meat is salted. After about 72 hours after slaughter the meat will then be frozen or grounded depending on the type of music desired. This is normally done at the kosher butcheries but if the butcher is not familiar to the buyer then it is advised that the confirmation is done by enquiring with the butcher if the process was completed. Sometimes there are blood spots on eggs even though this is not a common phenomena and in such cases the egg should not be consumed as it does not meet the criteria of kosher foods which should not have blood.

Forbidden Fats

Some fats that is present on the animal need to be removed due to the prohibition according to the rules. This fat is known as chelev and is normally found around the area close to the vitals organs like the liver. This fat according to the Torah should not be eaten. The process of removing this fat can be very cumbersome which renders it quite not cot-effective  hence most of the kosher butchers just sell the hind part of the carcass to other butchers who do not observe the kosher  rules while selling the meat.

Meat and dairy

According to the Torah in the book of Exodus states that one should not boil a kid in its mother's milk. This basically in simple words prohibits the eating of meat and milk together. In addition to this meat and fish cannot be cooked nor served together but fish can be served along with milk. This law is so strict that the separation not only limits this on the eating or cooking but stretches all the way to the utensils which are being used. In such situations the rabbinic laws clearly state that the utensils which are used for preparation of milk beginning with the washing items, storage and preparation must be totally separate and should not be mixed at any point implying that in any household where kosher is practiced, the set of household utensils should be in two; one to be used in preparation of milk while the other is used for meat and its products. Furthermore no one is allowed to consume the two foods at the same time.  If a person wants to for example drink milk after eating meat, he or she will have to wait for at least six hours after the consumption of meat for the consumption of milk to take place. Although there is debate of the time with others stating it to be three hours hence the acceptable limit is between three to six hours. This time limit is due to the believe of  chunks of food which will be left stuck in the mouth after eating hence it is advisable after the six hours for one to consume a neutral kind of food which does not originate from either group in this case foods of plant origin.

Vegetables and Fruits

All products of human consumption that are classified as fruits or vegetables are considered as kosher foods. Despite this the foods can be excluded if on inspection they are found to be infested by worms or bugs. This is because any insect or warms are prohibited for consumption hence this food will have been contaminated. Due to this fact any fruit or vegetable that is easily prone to being infested by these bugs will undergo thorough inspection before being passed as kosher food. The vegetables which are leafy like the broccoli and of such kind are hence always inspected to ensure they don't have any worms or bugs.

Grape Products

In the ancient times when idolatry was practiced, the use of grapes was very prevalent in the worship. Due to this fact the kosher states that no grape product produced by a non Jew will be consumed but this doe not apply when dealing with whole grapes that are still in the fruit form. Hence this means this rule will only apply to products like the grape juices and wines which are made by non-Jewish people. This needs a lot of consideration by those who consume fruit-flavored drinks as they sometimes are made sweeter by the use of grape juice, another product which needs this consideration is baking powder that is made by a cream or tartar which is a by-product of wine making. All beers are considered to be kosher except those that are made using grape or grape products. This has led wine which is made for the kosher or kosher wine. The Torah states that the wine is not made by the gentiles who at the time were considered as unclean people.

Obstacles in keeping kosher

Trying to keep the kosher culture and practice can be very hard hence it is recommended to those who practice this all throughout the year apart from the Passover period to buy all food stuffs from kosher certified stores. This will be done by the recognition of marks which are on these processed products. This will imply the products are fit and be consumed by kosher practicing Jews. These symbols are put on products after a review by kosher regulating authorities who will review all the processing procedures and if they can be accepted as kosher. However using these symbols can sometimes be very tricky due to the fact that there are products that are generally known as not kosher yet somehow they end up possessing this symbol implying they are kosher. Another obstacle will come up in the form of you stay in place where the kosher businesses are not present. For example if one wants to eat then they will have to look for a kosher restaurant only as knowledge on preparation of food in other restaurants may not be accessible.

Importance of Kosher in Judaism

In the modern day many Jews tend to disregard this law stating it being an archaic food regulatory which was used in the olden days but now irrelevant. These dietary laws have a beneficial effect to the health of those who practice this and are more than this in general. Sometimes experts argue its redundant due to the fact that rabbit meat is equally nice as goat meat but that is the not the point of the kosher. It is a pillar in the Judaism religion and hence it should be followed due to the significance it has in the religion. Many have done research on the importance of the kosher but no significance has been found in relation to Judaism.

According to the Torah, God chose the Jews to be his people and by doing this it was accompanied by blessings. By choosing them they were given rules in which had to be maintained if they were to maintain favor with God. In the laws which were given by God for the Jews to follow among them was the Torah and Passover. Hence by them maintaining this practice despite the criticism which the practice faces today is way of appreciating the blessings given to them. By following the kosher the Jews also managed to show unflinching faith in God by following the teachings given unto them when the Torah was written. In return to this they are offered the protection which was promised by God when the covenant was made with the children of Israelites which are the modern day traditional Jews who are spread across the world. Hence this is a symbol of devotion to the covenant that was made according to the Torah when Moses was the leader of the children of Israel. It is a symbol of maintaining the spirituality and obedience to God.

On the other hand due to the fact that God had a covenant with the children of Israel, this was a symbol which was going to be used in protecting them from the health hazards which were present at the time due to the primitive cooking methods which existed and the lack of modern medicine which today prevents or treats most of the ailments that would have at the time led to fatal results. Kosher laws so result in a healthier lifestyle than most ordinary people do hence should be considered as even some other religious groups like the Muslims tend to practice these laws at some point as they also fall under Abraham faiths whose corer teachings are based on the teachings of the Torah. It is also argued that the Kosher also results in better treatment of animals where it stresses on lack of infliction of pain on the animals. This is portrayed in the methods which are employed in the slaughter where the process is done in a manner that ensures a total lack of pain on the animal to be slaughtered.

Conclusion

The kosher are a set of health laws which are practiced by mainly orthodox Jews. These laws normally involve the specific type of animals which can be eaten and those which cannot be eaten like foe example for meat only hoofed and animals which chew cud can be eaten. This law goes further to even state the specific details which are involved in the preparation of the food. The laws further emphasize on the mixing of some foods which is prohibited like the meat and milk which should not be consumed at the same time at any point and not share the same utensils. The laws also prohibit some certain fats in body. This shows the law was made to preserve the health of the Jews who given this law by God and noted in the Torah when a covenant was struck and He recognized them as his people with the promise of offering them protection being stated. Hence in conclusion the kosher laws are observed by the Jews as a symbol of faith and obedience as they were given unto them by God and have been in practice for over three millennia's.

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