The word 'kosher' has been used in daily life all over the world

Kosher means "fit for use"






Kosher is not a style of cooking and there is no such thing as kosher-style food.  Traditional Jewish recipes can be non-kosher if not prepared in accordance with Jewish religious dietary laws. 

Kosher means fit and proper and stands for quality. It really means "fit for use" . 

The word Kosher has been borrowed by many languages, including English and is used in daily life as well as in movies, and gives a special condiment to English when it comes to describe something legitimate, "This don’t smell kosher". 


Not all Jews obey the dietary laws, or keep kosher. Most reform Jews consider the laws of kashrus to be an outdated ritual and ignore them completely. Others keep kosher at home, but not while dining out.  Orthodox Jews fully obey the  laws of kashrus, believing that they are divine laws. Conservative Jews tend to keep kosher consistently as well, although their rules of kashrus are slightly less strict than those of Orthodox Jews.


Some are sure that eating meat and dairy together interferes with digestion, to which some will say completely the difference. Perhaps those regulations were good for ancient time due to environmental conditions, i.e. sanitary slaughter or lack of refrigeration .

Foods are kosher when it meet all that required from Jewish law that applies to food and drinks.  Characteristics may range from the presence of a mixture of meat and milk, to the use of produce from Israel that has not been tithed properly or even the use of cooking utensils which had previously been used for non-kosher food.

Why animals must be slaughtered in a certain manner, why meat and milk are not to be mixed, why shellfish is forbidden? 

There is nowhere to find the reasons to these questions. Orthodox Jews observe these laws because they were told to.  


The Rules

All fruits, vegetables and grains are permissible with the exception of grape products. Due to laws against eating or drinking anything offered to idols and the fact that wine was often made for pagan offerings and celebrations, all wine and grape juice that is not made under Jewish supervision is prohibited.

Only animals that chew their cud and have cloven hooves are kosher. Thus beef, sheep, lamb, goats and deer may be eaten, while pork, camel and rabbits may not. These restrictions include the flesh, organs, milk and any by-products. Thus gelatin, which is usually made from horse hooves, is trayf, as are most hard cheeses, which are processed using an enzyme from the stomach lining of non-kosher animals. Any product derived from these forbidden animals, such as their milk, eggs, fat, or organs, also cannot be eaten. 

Animals that may be eaten must be slaughtered in accordance with Jewish law. One may not eat animals that died of natural causes or that were killed by other animals. In addition, the animal must have no disease or flaws in the organs at the time of slaughter. These restrictions do not apply to fish, only to the flocks and herds.

The method of slaughter is a quick, deep stroke across the throat with a perfectly sharp blade with no nicks or unevenness. This method is painless, causes unconsciousness within two seconds, and is widely recognized as the most humane method of slaughter possible. A certain kind of fat which surrounds the vital organs and the liver, may not be eaten. 

Kosher laws prohibit cruelty to animals. One must not remove the limb of an animal while it is still alive.  When Jews slaughter an animal, it must be done with the least possible pain.  There is a special knife that is so sharp that even the slightest nick in the blade renders it impermissible. This prevents pain to the animal.

Of the things that are in the waters, one may eat anything that has fins and scales. Shellfish such as lobsters, oysters, shrimp, clams and crabs are all forbidden. Fish like tuna, carp, salmon and herring are all permitted.

 Fruits, vegetables and grains are basically always kosher, but they must be insect free. Leafy vegetables like lettuce and herbs and flowery vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower are particularly prone to bugs and should be inspected carefully.

There must be a separation between eating meat and dairy together or even cooking meat and fish together and serving them on the same plates, because it is considered to be unhealthy. It is, however, permissible to eat fish and dairy together, and it is quite common, i.e. lox and cream cheese. It is also permissible to eat dairy and eggs together.

One must wait a significant amount of time between eating meat and dairy. Opinions differ and vary from three to six hours. This is because fatty residues and meat particles tend to cling to the mouth. From dairy to meat, however, one need only rinse one's mouth and eat a neutral solid like bread, unless the dairy product in question is also of a type that tends to stick in the mouth.

Utensils must also be kosher. A utensil picks up the kosher status of the food that is cooked in it or eaten off of it, and transmits that status back to the next food that is cooked in it or eaten off of it, i.e., if one cook chicken soup in a saucepan, the pan becomes meat.

Utensils that have come into contact with meat may not be used with dairy, and vice versa. Utensils that have come into contact with non-kosher food may not be used with kosher food. This applies only where the contact occurred while the food was hot.

Several symbols are used to indicate kosher approval. The most common are K inside a circle, which stands for "kosher," and a U inside a circle, the certification symbol of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations.

There are a few other rules that are not universal.


If some rules sound hypocritical, as the prohibition of food cooked by a non-Jew permitted to eat a dish when it is an important food which is  "fit to be served at a king's table", if these laws are just primitive regulations or came to observe health benefits, it's not for me to judge. I simply wrote down the facts.


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