What is Kosher?

kosherWhat does Kosher mean?  Is it that a rabbi blessed it?  What makes something kosher and something else not kosher?  Shouldn’t it be more about what comes out of a person’s mouth and not what goes in?

This week’s podcast explains in the easiest to understand terms, what Jews mean when they say something is kosher.  This is definitely STUFF JEWS SHOULD KNOW!
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  1. there is a relatively new concept that has come up in some progressive communities that is referred to as eco-kashrut. the shecting is not the only concern but the farming conditions as well. factory farming is undeniably one of the cruelest ways to raise animals. it clearly violates the concept of tza’ar ba’ali chayim. are there rabbis speaking out about this? if not– why? further, since factory farming of animals is responsible for environmental devastation, isn’t our responsibility of tikkun olam also being ignored?

    are you familiar with the vegan eden theory? why are observant jews so resistant to a vegetarian lifestyle? it is not prohibited and certainly simplifies keeping a kosher home. at shabbat meals, i often feel like an oddity and am interrogated about my diet and my unwillingness to elevate the animal to a higher level through consumption. why is my compassionate choice seen as less than in our community rather than a more stringent adherence to this fundamental mitzvah?

    • Hi Haddassah,
      You cover a lot of concepts in here. I think, and this is just a theory, there is a pendulum swing. Kashrut is thousands of years old. Factory farming has been around, well as long as factories which is a relatively very short amount of time. Less then 150 years? I think that we are seeing the effects of and responding to lots of the negative side of the industrial revolution and we are seeing so many industries move to a post industrial age. I believe that kashrut is also going to follow this trend. You are seeing more an people adopt “eco-kashrut” standards. I believe we need both. Judaism claims that the spiritual laws that it describes are just as real as the physical laws that govern the universe. I think a holistic “Jewish diet” would include both aspects. Respect and stewardship for the physical world, while simultaneously flowing with the greater spiritual reality.

      Thanks for your post!

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