You Are What You Eat – Keeping Kosher & Its Benefits

falafelToday finding Kosher food is easy. Just Look for the OU symbol or many other reliable kosher symbol on a food package and just buy it. Kosher Restaurants abound in New York and Other Major Cities.

Some buy Kosher because it is Kosher – because it says so in the Torah. Some buy Kosher because they think that it is more healthy. In France, they have a cute rhyme “Manger Cacher, Santé de Fer” which translates as “Eat Kosher, [to have] Health of Iron.” Sounds nice. Is it true? It depends, if one eats in nutritious food in moderation and according to health professionals, could be.

Kosher Food & Health

I heard someone who wants to sing better should avoid dairy products. Doing So sometime impedes a clear voice. True? I don’t know. But There is a cause and effect between what one ingests and the health. In general Kosher food is more healthy because – the slaughtering process is such that it avoids causing pain to the animal. Killing the animal in a non-Kosher way – ie, through shooting, or electrocution – causes pain to the animal. Before the animal dies it emits toxins into the blood stream. Thus Kosher food is more healthy in this sense.

Kosher Food & Character Traits

The Torah also says that one develops certain characteristics of the food that one eats. A person who eats properly slaughtered Cow – it will be more easy for him or her to be docile than a person who regularly eats shark meat or lion meat. If you look at the animals that are Kosher – you see a commonality – they are all docile animals. Thus, spiritually and for self-help eating Kosher is worthwhile.

Being Kosher and Spirituality

One of the Principal benefits of the principle to eat Kosher is the spiritual benefit. One who eats Kosher is able to better develop spiritually than one who does not. Eating kosher gives a person the ability to understand Torah better.

Once a woman asked a rabbi – “what is the reason behind this Jewish law?” He asked her. “Do you eat Kosher?” She responded “No.” He said “Eat Kosher for one month” (apparently to get the non-kosher food out of her system) – “and you will understand.”

Did she take him up on it? I don’t know.

What is Kosher?

The Torah tells us to avoid Animals that Prey on Other animals. We avoid carnivores and do eat certain herbivores.

The Animal must have signs of being Kosher.

For Animals – it must have split hooves and chew its cud.

For Birds – It must have extra toe (towards back), crop, easily peeled gizzard.

For Fish – It must have Fins & Scales.

Also Animals & Birds must be slaughtered properly according to Jewish law – called Shechitah – to be Kosher for consumption.

Ever Min HaHai
All people – Jews and Gentiles may not Eat a limb taken from a live animal. The Animal must dead before one takes a part of the animal to eat it. Taking a limb from a live animal is considered cruel according to Torah and this is one reason to not eat the limb.

Gentiles Not Bound By Kosher Laws
Gentiles are not bound by Kosher laws. The only thing they must be careful about – according to the 7 Noahide laws – is to assure the animal is not Ever Min HaHai – a limb taken from a live animal. A gentile may choose to keep kosher.

Milk & Meat
The Torah also forbids eating milk and meat cooked together. The Rabbis enlarged the boundaries and proibitted also eating milk and meat not cooked together. Once one eats meat -many have the custom to wait six hours before eating a dairy meal. If one ate a dairy meal (excluding hard cheese) one waits half-an hour before eating a meat meal.

Eating in a Non-Kosher Restaurant
Eating in a non-kosher restaurant may pose a problem even if the item is kosher – because of several factors –
Non-Kosher Wine – Wine that is not certified by a kosher organization is not kosher. If it is Kosher wine but it is Not Mevushal (Non-Cooked or Pasturized Wine) if it is handled by certain people it may be rendered non Kosher. Sometimes the Ingredients are kosher – but it is cooked in non-Kosher utensils or in a non-kosher stove. Sometimes the main food is Kosher – but the oil used is non-Kosher – like in certain fast-food restaurants. Thus it is best to eat in Kosher restaurants.

The Rabbis instituted laws to avoid that Jews assimilate. Certain foods must be handled or prepared by Jews for them to be Kosher for consumption. Some include – Meat, Fish, Poultry and bread. Steaks and meat must be cooked by Jews. Home baked bread must be baked by a Jewish person. Non-Cooked / Non-Mevushal Kosher wine – must be handled exclusively by Jewish people.

Fruits & Vegetables
Fruits, Vegetable and nuts are generally Kosher. If it is processed, it is better to check if it has a reliable hechsher – Kosher Supervision Symbol. But one mus assure they have no bugs. When we eat dates we open them up to assure they have no worms. We open other dried fruits as well. We check Lettuce for worms as well. Certain Kosher Organizations offer guides what fruits and vegetables need to be checked and how to check them.

Milk & Eggs
Usually what Comes from an animal retains the same status as what it came from. If milk or eggs came from a Kosher Animal, it is Kosher. If it came from a non-kosher animal, it is not kosher. Eggs, before adding them to a food should be checked to assure there are no blood spots.

Kosher Substitutes
I Once Got the Best Answer on Yahoo Answers. The Question was – “What is Better than Bacon?” I answered “Kosher Bacon.” Kosher Beef Fry is an alternative to Bacon. Apparently it is healthier also. The point is is that for any non-Kosher food there is a kosher substitute. Kosher “Shrimp” – made from certain fish – exist. Kosher “Bacon” – Called Kosher Beef Fry is another substitute.

Kosher-Style is not Necessarily Kosher
One Caveat – assure that the Restaurant or Food has a reliable Kosher Supervision Symbol (see link below), before buying or eating at restaurant. Some think that Kosher-Style is Kosher. Usually – it is not. Thus it always is prudent to check the Kosher Supervision of food or restaurant before buying or entering.

Keeping Kosher These days is rather easy. One just has to apply themselves. Instead of buying a food without a Kosher Symbol, purchase one that has. Instead of ordering Chinese from a non-Kosher restaurant, order it from a Kosher Chinese restaurant. Not too difficult to select one food item instead of another. Not too difficult to call one number instead of another. Or Typing in a Kosher Ordering Service Address in a browser. Maximum Benefits – Minimum Hassle.

Just think – if one feels aggressive towards others, a simple solution – among others – is to eat Kosher. It’s much easier than going to a therapist every week or buying tons of self-help books and letting them gather dust on your bookshelf. 🙂

I guess there is truth to the French expression – “Manger Cacher, Santé de Fer” which translates as “Eat Kosher, [to have] Health of Iron.” If you take a holistic approach that the health of the person is his spiritual, emotional and physical health – keeping Kosher is the way to go.

— Appendix —
Kosher Animals:
Kosher Animals
Bull, ox, sheep, goat, hart / gazelle, deer, antelope, ibex, addax / chamois, wild ox / bison, giraffe, cow, ram (male sheep),

Kosher Birds
Rooster, chicken, duck, goose, dove, pigeon, quail, turkey, pheasant, partridge

Kosher Fish
Flounder, Talpia, Fillet of Sole, Salmon, Tuna, Sardines

For More Info See:

Devarim / Deuteronomy chapter 14 : 1-19

For More information regarding Keeping Kosher see :

ABCs of Kosher

For Kosher Symbols that are Reliable see :
Directory of Kosher Certifying Agencies / Reliable Kosher Symbols

Printable list of kosher Agencies

List of Kosher Fish

FAQ’s on Kosher Fsh from Orthodox Union

List of Kosher Animals

Kashrut of Exotic Animals: The Buffalo

General information on Kashrut

Free Jewish Coloring Book

Jewish General Education Materials

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