Halacha Concerning Kashrut
Leviticus 11 tells us what is kosher (fit and proper) to eat and what is not. In Messianic and Natsarim movements there have been arguments regarding Rabbinic kosher verses Biblical Kosher. I am here to set the record straight where I stand on this issue.
I will not discuss what is kosher to consume and what is not, that has clearly been defined and established in the Torah itself. However what I will discuss is what deems a kosher animal kosher for consumption. Especially if you do not live in a Jewish community where kosher goods are easy to come by.
I have seen disturbing undercover footage of improper slaughtering techniques in supposed “kosher” slaughter houses. I have seen cows throats pulled out of their neck and left to kick and fearfully writhe on the floor. The point of slitting the animal’s throat from ear to ear is to:
1. Allow the animal to die in as a painless manner as possible. When the throat is slit in one smooth continuous line from ear to ear with the sharpest blade possible the animal feels minimal pain and the rush of blood is so great and fast that the animal literally passes out, as if drifting off to sleep.
2. Drain as much blood from the animals body as possible so when consumed we will not violate the commandment of consuming blood (Gen. 9:4, Lev. 17:14).
I have heard disturbing stories of Shochets (and ordained kosher butcher) whose pockets are lined with green backs pulling up in a field of cattle laying his hand on one cow and slaughter it and that act suffices for the entire herd; which means that owners can slaughter them in any way they see fit.
This is why some believing Jews had become vegetarians because they couldn’t be assured of how the animal was slaughtered (Rom. 14). Some may be able to hack vegetarianism, but I can not to the fullest degree. I do not live in a Jewish community so I cannot guarantee my meat was properly slaughtered. But I do live in a community where many people slaughter their own cattle and they do it without really knowing it’s the proper way. By slitting the throat, hanging it upside down and allowing all the blood to drain out of it. Most big time Gentile slaughter houses run the cattle through a series of conveyer belts where the cow is shot in the head by a bolt, left to die on the floor so the blood has time to settle and congeal in the meat before it is chopped up.
I mostly stick with chicken or fish, because Gentiles slaughter fish and chicken pretty much the same way as us Jews do. But I stay away from beef unless I know where it comes from and can reasonably know it was slaughtered properly. Nonetheless I try to salt and soak the beef overnight so as to draw out any remaining blood in the meat. If I have been lied too or what have you in this respect, then the sin be upon the one who lied to me.
In regards to meat and dairy I have no problem mixing milk with meat. Therefore we generally do not have separate dishes, refrigerators, sinks, ovens and or kitchens in our homes like many of our Orthodox Jewish counterparts do. The verse in question that is used to base the Orthodox prohibition of mixing milk and meat together is found in (Exd. 23:19, 34:26, Deut. 14:21) and it is not grouped in with other kosher laws. This is contextually and historically speaking of literally boiling a kid in its mother’s milk, which was a pagan ritual of that time to ensure successful cattle and crops. G-d deems this cruel and prohibits us from doing it. In Gen.18:8 we see Avraham offers G-d and the angelic visitors milk and meat together and they have no scruples about taking it. If there was problem with it, it would have been a good time for G-d to correct Avraham in this area of Torah observance. For all Jews believe the Torah is eternal and was orally passed down until it was “set in stone” if you will at Sinai. Now if some one wants to observe this tradition I have no problem with it and I applaud them. For in truth there are good spiritual lessons and physical health benefits that can be derived from this practice. But I will not be dogmatic on this tradition or expect anyone to be with me concerning it. So yes, I believe is such a thing as a kosher cheese burger, I’ll take that with turkey bacon by the way!
It is a good practice that no matter what appropriate meats you consume to soak them in salt over night to assure the maximum amount of blood is removed.
If you are able and want to keep Rabbinically kosher, I have no problem with that, but realize that you are keeping Scripturally kosher, but in addition taking upon mans interpretations and extra rules regarding a kosher diet and not to impose your choice upon others who cannot for various reason keep kosher to the standards that you choose to.
Matt. 23:1-4 Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples. Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, [that] observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not. For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay [them] on men's shoulders; but they [themselves] will not move them with one of their fingers.
In the document called “The Didache” supposedly written by the Nazarene Sanhedrin to the establish halacha said this in chapter six verse three, I believes speaks of regarding keeping Rabbinically Kosher:
“Concerning food, bear what you can. But especially abstain from food sacrificed to idols; this is a ministry to dead gods.”
Another quick word about the Sabbath and a kosher diet.
It has been asked, if I was on a deserted island and all there was to eat was wild boar, would I do it? My answer is, No, first I would see what was keeping the boar alive!
But it is true in a life or death situation (according to the Rabbi’s and Sages of blessed memory, peace be upon them), we are permitted to eat unkosher foods to sustain live, even if it is on Yom Kippur! The main rule of thumb is life over law. You must live in order to keep the commandments. So sustaining life is of the utmost importance. Same principle if I was forced to clear debris after a disaster on Shabbat, it would be a sin NOT to work in this manner on Shabbat. Life over Law.
But in all honesty many of us will never be put in a circumstance such as these, but if we are we now what to do.