Why isn't shrimp kosher?
Origin of the Jewish dietary rules
If you believe the Bible, Adam and Eve were vegans. In Genesis 1, 29 it says: "And God said: Behold, I give you all herbs bearing seeds, which are in the face of the whole earth, and every tree on which fruit of the tree, yours be it for eating, bearing seeds" So in the first chapter of the first book of Moses, people were only allowed to eat vegetables.
After the flood, however, the survivors, the descendants of Noah, were allowed to eat meat: “Everything that stirs, that lives, let it be yours to eat; like the green herb I give you everything. But flesh with its life, its blood, you shall not eat ”(1.B. Moses, 9: 3-4). From this follows: Meat is generally allowed, but blood is forbidden for consumption.
Later, under Moses, the Israelites received the Torah with the Ten Commandments from God on Mount Sinai, and from now on a great deal also changes with regard to the food that is permitted for them.
After the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt under Moses ’leadership, the young, newly emerging monotheism, the belief in a single God who cannot be seen, was something revolutionary new for the time and the region in which it emerged. This young, completely different belief had to be specially protected and strengthened in contrast to the surrounding cultures and traditions.
The people of Israel should distance themselves from the cultures and ways of life of their neighbors, so as not to fall back into idolatry. By forbidding him to eat the food of the Gentiles, the people of Israel are culturally separated from the surrounding peoples and mixing is prevented.
In 3rd B. Moses, 11: 1-46 the animals are listed whose meat is allowed for consumption. Animals labeled as "unclean" are prohibited, "clean" allowed.
The first biblical passage quoted earlier that allowed flesh ("everything that stirs ...") concerned all of humanity. In this second passage from the Bible, Moses addresses the Israelites and it is only in relation to them that a distinction is made between clean and unclean.
Among the mammals, the following are allowed for consumption: Artificial ungulates with completely split claws, which are also ruminants.
Among the birds: chicken, turkey, duck, goose, pigeons (and since a rabbinical decision about 40 years ago also quail).
Among the fish, all freshwater and marine fish that have fins and scales at the same time are allowed. Seafood and crustaceans are prohibited.
In this context, an important linguistic aspect of Hebrew in contrast to German must be pointed out for a better understanding.
In Hebrew there is a difference between the words "pure" and "clean".
These two words, as well as their opposite “impure” and “dirty”, are interchangeable terms in German. In Hebrew, however, they are not synonyms. In Hebrew, clean means “naki” and dirty means “meluchlach”. These two words refer to external, physical cleanliness or pollution. A piece of clothing can be naki (clean), the floor of a room can be meluchlach, "dirty". In contrast, the terms “tahor” (pure) and “tame” (unclean) as they stand in the Hebrew Bible text denote a mental or spiritual state. The difference between “unclean” and “pure” is a spiritual difference between two states, “clean” is related to God, when “unclean” lacks this connection to God.
The definition of the mammals permitted for consumption is clearly formulated in the Torah (both ruminants and completely split hooves), but the Bible text does not explain why these two criteria are so important. Even our sages, who have dealt with it in numerous debates over the centuries, did not come to any satisfactory result. This means that the kashrut remains a so-called "chok", an unexplained and for humans inexplicable category of law with commandments (mitzvot), which one should simply accept and obey in obedience to God.
At a later passage than the last cited passage in the Torah, namely in 5th B. Moses, 14: 4-5, the mammals permitted for consumption are listed by name: “This is the cattle that you are allowed to eat: ox, sheep and goat, deer and stag and fallow deer, ibex, chamois, buffalo and antelope ”.
Nevertheless, as far as mammals are concerned, no game can be found on the menus of religious Jews, apart from cattle, calves, sheep and goats, although, for example, the meat of deer and roe deer is expressly permitted by the Torah (cloven-hoofed animals and ruminants). Why?
The reason is because even meat from permitted animals must meet other criteria in order to remain kosher before it is put on the table. Since blood from permitted animals is strictly forbidden for consumption, even an animal permitted for consumption must bleed completely during the process of killing so that its meat is or remains kosher. That is why there is the Jewish killing method of slaughter. Game must be shot, however, and meat from animals that have been killed in this way is not permitted for consumption by Jews. These rules and many other expansive interpretations of kosher cooking have been established by rabbis over the centuries; they are not directly formulated in the Torah, but are derivatives of the words of the Torah.
Kosher is only a legal animal that is unharmed and in which the internal organs, especially the lungs, are healthy. Injured and sick animals are not kosher and may not be consumed, even if they are permitted animals and have been slaughtered.
In order to ensure the suitability of the meat for kosher consumption, there is the ritual slaughterer, "Schochet" and the food inspector, the "Maschgiach". Both must be pious Jews and live according to the commandments of the Torah, otherwise they are not allowed to exercise this office. Of course, they must also have in-depth specialist knowledge for their professional activity, but piety is a guarantee for the honesty and sincerity of the conduct of their work and is intended to protect against corruption. Food scandals, bungling and circumvention of laws to make material profit, so-called. “Rotten meat” or fraudulent labeling with regard to the animal from which the piece of meat in the refrigerated shelf comes are normally not possible with kosher meat and other foods certified as kosher.
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