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semilargeintestine
01-15-2010, 10:42 PM
A response James' thread about his "addiction" prompted me to make this. It is probably of no use to anyone, but I figured maybe one or two people would be interested.

There are a lot of myths about what makes something kosher. My friend learned in Catholic school that it was when a rabbi blessed the food. I don't think I have ever heard such a misunderstanding of what a blessing does and what goes into making food kosher, but a lot of people think that. It is actually much more scientific and has virtually nothing to do with blessings.

The process of determining kosher status depends on what kind of food it is, so I'll just give an outline for the couple of different categories.

Meat and Fowl


Is it a kosher mammal or bird? (Check Lev. 11:3, 11:13-19)
Was the animal raised cruelly? If so, the meat is not kosher.
Was it slaughtered correctly (must be done in a specific way depending on the species of animal, and must not cause undue pain to the animal)?
Is the animal--upon inspection--free of all the blemishes (nearly 40) that could render it non-kosher (tumors, adhesions, etc)?
Was the butcher a Torah observant Jew? If not, it isn't kosher.
Is the blood completely drained?
Once the meat is sliced, is it salted and soaked to remove excess blood? Was this done within 72 hours of slaughter?
Is the meat cooked on a kosher oven, eaten with kosher utensils, and not cooked with anything dairy? Meat and dairy cannot mix.

Seafood


Does it have fins and scales? (Lev. 11:9) Must have both to be kosher.
Is the fish cooked on a kosher oven and eaten with kosher utensils?
Fish is not meat or dairy, so it may be served with either meat or dairy. If it is served with meat, it must be served separately and on separate plates/utensils.

Vegetables/Fruit


Fruits and vegetables may not be grown as part of a mixed crop.
All fruits and vegetables are kosher so long as they are grown in the proper way, which means not mixing species.
Fruits and vegetables must be checked for bugs, as bugs are not kosher.
They must not be prepared with non-kosher utensils.

Dairy


Milk, cheese, etc. must not be made by mixing the milk of different species. There was a famous allowance made not long ago that allows Jews to eat and drink cheese and milk that are produced in the United States but don't have kosher certification based on the USDA laws that prohibit mixing of milk from different species. However, Jews who are more strict will only use kosher products.
Dairy cannot be mixed with meat under any circumstances. If a mixture is accidentally formed, no benefit can be derived from it--it cannot be sold or given to a non-Jew or an animal. It must be thrown away.

Utensils/Cooking Items


Utensils and anything that touches food must be checked to make sure there is nothing in it or on it that would render food non-kosher.
Eating utensils must be kashered and dipped in a natural body of water before they may be used. Kashering requires submerging them in boiling water for one minute and then submerging them in cool water. Metal, plastic, and wood may be kashered.
Counter tops must be kosher, and may be kashered by pouring boiling water across the top; however, certain types of counter tops--including granite--do not need to be kashered because they do not absorb taste.
Ovens must be kosher, so one must select either meat or dairy. In order to kasher an over, one must first determine what type of oven one has. An oven with a self-cleaning mode is easiest, as one can simply run the self-clean cycle. An oven without this feature must be completely dismantled with each part heated up by blowtorch until it is red hot.
Plates and cups must be kashered in the same way as utensils, but ceramic and earthenware cannot be kashered. Glass does not need to be kashered, but can simply be cleaned thoroughly.


Something is rendered non-kosher by a transfer of taste. This happens only in the presence of heat, so two cold things touching remain kosher. For example, if a cold piece of cheese falls onto a cold piece of meat, they are still kosher. The side of the meat that touched the cheese must be removed, but the rest is kosher. The cheese must be treated in the same way.

The blessings have nothing to do with kosher status. Blessings are what allow us the interact with G-d's world. We say a blessing before we eat so that we are reminded that the food is from Him, and He gives us permission to interact with it.

brainstorm77
01-15-2010, 10:45 PM
This would be a great post for the food section on AW. Thanks for explaining.

semilargeintestine
01-15-2010, 10:46 PM
No prob. That's true. I can do a more detailed thread there if anyone is interested. This is just a very basic overview.

brainstorm77
01-15-2010, 11:04 PM
Go for it!

Adam
01-15-2010, 11:08 PM
Thanks, I'd wondered about what made something kosher. :)

So it mostly revolves around being sure the food is prepared hygienely and humanely, then?

semilargeintestine
01-15-2010, 11:40 PM
Yes, exactly. That and the separation between meat and dairy, which is very important.

bettielee
01-16-2010, 12:07 AM
and no bugs....

so no ketchup for my jewish friends?

It is the tomato bug that makes it taste good! :)

Thanks for posting. This was fascinating! I always wondered.... even the butcher has to be Kosher! Did not know that!

ad_lucem
01-16-2010, 12:11 AM
and no bugs....

so no ketchup for my jewish friends?

It is the tomato bug that makes it taste good! :)

Thanks for posting. This was fascinating! I always wondered.... even the butcher has to be Kosher! Did not know that!

Thanks Semi!

And, bettielee... that's just wrong. How wrong, I can't state, because it is *that* wrong.

backslashbaby
01-16-2010, 12:18 AM
Very interesting, yes!

What are the thoughts behind dairy and meat mixing, if there is a practical explanation there?

I'd be so bad at it! I do try the Greek Orthodox fasts for holidays, but I wish they weren't so long ;) :)

Shadow_Ferret
01-16-2010, 12:21 AM
Interesting. But you know, I'll forget it in just a few hours and someone will go, "What makes food Kosher," and I'll say, "Um, I think it has something to do with how it's blessed." :D

DeleyanLee
01-16-2010, 12:24 AM
Hmmm, since fish can touch meat and still be kosher, does that mean we can trout the ferret when he forgets?

Just askin'.

Shakesbear
01-16-2010, 12:29 AM
I grew up in a strictly kosher home and have not read such a succinct explanation before.

The milk/meat is about cooking a kid in its' mothers milk. Exodus 23:19, 34:26 Deuteronomy 16:21. Parev food is neutral, being neither milk nor meat.
Liver can be koshered either by a flame or by being dropped in boiling water. Both are messy!

semilargeintestine
01-16-2010, 12:40 AM
I grew up in a strictly kosher home and have not read such a succinct explanation before.

The milk/meat is about cooking a kid in its' mothers milk. Exodus 23:19, 34:26 Deuteronomy 16:21. Parev food is neutral, being neither milk nor meat.
Liver can be koshered either by a flame or by being dropped in boiling water. Both are messy!

You can also broil liver. That's the method most people use.

Also, what the hell is a tomato bug? Heinz is kosher, and I use it all the time. :D

semilargeintestine
01-16-2010, 12:43 AM
Very interesting, yes!

What are the thoughts behind dairy and meat mixing, if there is a practical explanation there?

I'd be so bad at it! I do try the Greek Orthodox fasts for holidays, but I wish they weren't so long ;) :)

Like the kosher rules, the meat/milk separation is a mitzvah that has no obvious explanation. It has something to do with spiritual health, but there is no direct reason given in the Torah. It is a mitzvah we do only for G-d.

lucidzfl
01-16-2010, 01:00 AM
Man what a bunch of fricking hoops to jump through for food.

I'm so glad I'm not tied down for any reason.

bettielee
01-16-2010, 02:39 AM
You can also broil liver. That's the method most people use.

Also, what the hell is a tomato bug? Heinz is kosher, and I use it all the time. :D

There was this ridiculous book back before there was the internet and fact checking. It claimed things like that half of McDonald's hamburger "beef" was eyeballs, and that there were 10 tomatoe bugs in every thing of ketchup.

http://organicgardensite.com/bugs-harmful/tomato-horn-worms/

must of this crap was debunked.

Silver King
01-16-2010, 04:43 AM
This would be a great post for the food section on AW...


... I can do a more detailed thread there if anyone is interested. This is just a very basic overview.
This would indeed be a great topic for the Cooking forum. And it would be a good idea to expand on what you've shared here so you wouldn't be posting the same thread in two different forums.

Very interesting topic, to be sure. And I wonder if when you buy something that claims to be kosher, whether there is any way to be certain it's been prepared and cooked to those exacting specifications, or if it's merely a matter of faith or trust in the source that produced the food?

MaryMumsy
01-16-2010, 06:37 AM
These days it is much easier for observant Jews to maintain kosher in the general community. Some 40 years ago, when I was in college, a dorm mate became severely malnourished because she was trying to keep kosher while eating in the college cafeteria. She was allowed to live off campus to restore her health. In those days (at our university) if you were female and under 21 you were required to live either in the dorms or sorority houses. She got a special decision to live in an apartment and do her own cooking.

MM

raburrell
01-16-2010, 06:51 AM
Semi, thanks for this - a great summary here, and it was nice of you to spend your time doing it.
eta: n/m, should learn to read more carefully.
One question - I always thought the prohibition against meat mixing with cheese had something to do with the cruelty of 'sauteeing a mother's kid in her milk' (or something like that).

Is that a myth?

Silver King
01-16-2010, 07:06 AM
...One question - I always thought the prohibition against meat mixing with cheese had something to do with the cruelty of 'sauteeing a mother's kid in her milk' (or something like that).

Is that a myth?
Shakesbear offered a reference earlier in this thread that might be helpful:

The milk/meat is about cooking a kid in its' mothers milk. Exodus 23:19, 34:26 Deuteronomy 16:21. ...

raburrell
01-16-2010, 07:13 AM
Shakesbear offered a reference earlier in this thread that might be helpful:

Doh! Thanks...

Silver King
01-16-2010, 07:25 AM
Doh! Thanks...
It still doesn't answer your question of whether it's a myth, though, and my guess is that we'll never know for sure, outside of faith in the texts.

pink lily
01-16-2010, 07:37 AM
There are a lot of myths about what makes something kosher. ... It is actually much more scientific and has virtually nothing to do with blessings.

Um... it is not scientific in any way whatsoever, it is a religious teaching.

Mac H.
01-16-2010, 08:40 AM
What about biting your fingernails ?

Mac

BenPanced
01-16-2010, 09:02 PM
Like the kosher rules, the meat/milk separation is a mitzvah that has no obvious explanation. It has something to do with spiritual health, but there is no direct reason given in the Torah. It is a mitzvah we do only for G-d.
Is that the reason for "no shellfish" or is it because many of them, such as clams, can still harbor sand no matter how thoroughly you think you've cleaned them?

semilargeintestine
01-17-2010, 07:14 AM
This would indeed be a great topic for the Cooking forum. And it would be a good idea to expand on what you've shared here so you wouldn't be posting the same thread in two different forums.

Will do.



Very interesting topic, to be sure. And I wonder if when you buy something that claims to be kosher, whether there is any way to be certain it's been prepared and cooked to those exacting specifications, or if it's merely a matter of faith or trust in the source that produced the food?

No. Kosher food has to have a certification on it. The certification means that there is a Shomer Shabbat (keeps the Sabbath) Jew observing the production of that product to ensure it is kosher.

In fact, the only person who is not an employee of Coca-Cola who knows the recipe is the Jew who supervises the production.


These days it is much easier for observant Jews to maintain kosher in the general community. Some 40 years ago, when I was in college, a dorm mate became severely malnourished because she was trying to keep kosher while eating in the college cafeteria. She was allowed to live off campus to restore her health. In those days (at our university) if you were female and under 21 you were required to live either in the dorms or sorority houses. She got a special decision to live in an apartment and do her own cooking.

MM

I'm glad they made accommodations for her.



Um... it is not scientific in any way whatsoever, it is a religious teaching.

Um... it is. The kosher laws are based in Torah, but we determine the kashrus of utensils based on their engineering and the chemical and physical properties of the materials they are made from. Depending on the material's ability to absorb certain chemicals, the product may or may not be able to be kashered, or it may not have to. For instance, metal must be kashered while glass does not have to be and ceramic cannot be.

But, I did not explain that much in my OP, so I can see why you wouldn't have gotten that.


What about biting your fingernails ?

Mac

Humans are not considered an animal by the Torah, so there is no prohibition against doing that or drinking breastmilk.


Is that the reason for "no shellfish" or is it because many of them, such as clams, can still harbor sand no matter how thoroughly you think you've cleaned them?

It has nothing to do with sand. It's because they are a sea creature that doesn't have fins and scales. The passuk (line in the Torah) says that "of the things that live in the seas, those that have fins and scales are for [us] to eat."

mario_c
01-17-2010, 10:36 AM
Interesting article. I'm a little sad at how un-kosher lasagna is - masses of cheese over meat, and the more elegant method has a egg cracked over the top. It's a seasonal treat and one of my favorites, but making it more kosher would be a structural challenge. :(

Mac H.
01-17-2010, 10:58 AM
I've often been fascinated how people who follow Kosher rules (or Sharia rules, or other religious rules invented before some modern inventions and discoveries) apply the laws when the world turns out to be more complex then it used to be.

For example - what about medicine (perhaps taken orally) that were originally extracted using animal proteins?

Is taking insulin extracted from animal proteins not-permitted, but once we create identical molecules using another process it is OK ?

If you are in hospital facing surgery, and the doctors want to give you an anti-clotting agent (such as Atryn) which is derived from animal proteins ?

How much do these rules change over time? For example, if you'd asked a Kosher expert three centuries ago whether animal based drugs would be permitted, would their answer been any different ? What about 3000 years ago ?

Over the past few decades, Jehovah Witnesses have changed their rules 360 degrees ... they started off saying blood plasma transfusions were bad, then allowed them during the 1970s (since they contained no red blood cells) and then disallowed them again. It gets even weirder when they don't even permit your OWN blood to be used to transfuse yourself.

The 'Shabbat' rules are even more fascinating. Some rabbis argue that changing the temperature of an oven is permitted, others argue not, others say you can - but only if the oven is designed to not reflect the change on the display !

Read this (http://www.theyeshivaworld.com/news/General+News/19228/Preventing+Transgression:+Gedolei+HaPoskim+Asur+Sh abbos+Mode+on+Ovens.html) for one group of rabbi's opinion on the subject. They argue that opening the door of an appliance is not permitted, if the product has a safety interlock which uses a switch on the door.

To quote:


In our opinion, pressing the keys on Yom Tov is strictly forbidden since pressing a key immediately closes an electrical circuit and instructs the microcontroller to carry out an action. Pressing the key is forbidden just as all manipulation of electricity is forbidden on Shabbos and Yom Tov ...

To quote another rabbi:

"Everyone who will tell you that his version is the only correct version. Everyone else is either a fanatic or a heretic."

Coping with a changing world is what all of our laws have to do .. look how much copyright law has changed over the past few centuries !

A fascinating area.

Mac
(PS:
It's interesting how people observing the same laws often contradict each other on what counts as 'kosher'. For example a local Rabbi was telling me how it was a myth that 'Kosher food has to have a certification on it.'

And the story about 'the only person who is not an employee of Coca-Cola who knows the recipe is the Jew who supervises the production' is just a silly story - it isn't true.

There was a rabbi in 1935 who certified it as Kosher, but the recipe has changed since then. In fact, since Coca-cola changed over to corn syrup in the 1980s (since it is a cheaper form of sugar than others) plenty of traditional Jews refuse to have Coca-cola during passover. (Apparently the chemical 'C6H12O6' counts as a non-approved grain, but the chemical 'C12H22O11' is OK)

Remember too, that the exact sugar used depends on the bottler. The Coca-Cola factory produces concentrate, and local bottlers mix it. This means that some areas use sucrose and others use fructose.

So even if a single bottler is 'Kosher' it wouldn't follow that other bottlers are 'Kosher' too ... since the sugar and other additives added might not be.

For example - generally in Mexico Coca-cola is made with Sucrose, but in the USA is made with fructose. And around passover, they sell the Mexican coca-cola with a special 'OUP' marking for a decent mark-up !

Given that there are thousands of Coco-cola bottlers around the world, it simply doesn't make sense that there is a single Jew who 'supervises the production' ! )

semilargeintestine
01-17-2010, 08:49 PM
Interesting article. I'm a little sad at how un-kosher lasagna is - masses of cheese over meat, and the more elegant method has a egg cracked over the top. It's a seasonal treat and one of my favorites, but making it more kosher would be a structural challenge. :(

There's such a thing as cheese lasagna, and I eat it a lot. :) Also, they make kosher meat that is not real meat, and it tastes just like ground beef.


I've often been fascinated how people who follow Kosher rules (or Sharia rules, or other religious rules invented before some modern inventions and discoveries) apply the laws when the world turns out to be more complex then it used to be.

For example - what about medicine (perhaps taken orally) that were originally extracted using animal proteins?

Medicines must be kosher if they are ingested orally. Most of them are I think. If they aren't, it is possible to get a special permission to take the medicine if it is something that is required for you to live.

The commandment to preserve life is one of the few commandments that overrides just about every other commandment. In a situation where life is in danger, the other commandments don't apply--they're suspended until the situation is resolved. So if you have to take a pill that is necessary for you to either live or live without being in pain or danger of illness, you can probably get a special permission to take it.



Is taking insulin extracted from animal proteins not-permitted, but once we create identical molecules using another process it is OK ?

If you are in hospital facing surgery, and the doctors want to give you an anti-clotting agent (such as Atryn) which is derived from animal proteins ?

Insulin is fine. Kosher rules only apply to things you eat. As such, it is possible to have a pig-valve inserted into the heart. This is falls under saving a life, but the kosher laws don't apply anyway because you didn't ingest it.



How much do these rules change over time? For example, if you'd asked a Kosher expert three centuries ago whether animal based drugs would be permitted, would their answer been any different ? What about 3000 years ago ?

There is a meeting of the chief rabbis around the world every year. They meet with engineers, doctors, scientists, etc. and go over all the new innovations that may or may not have halachic (jewish law) consequences. They then decide based on the Torah and current halachic principles what the new halacha should be.

For example, the Torah says nothing about driving a car on Shabbat. When they invented the car, an engineer explained how the car worked. The rabbis saw that you'd be violating at least 3 prohibitions by driving, so they said you can't drive on the Shabbat. It's the same with any law.



Over the past few decades, Jehovah Witnesses have changed their rules 360 degrees ... they started off saying blood plasma transfusions were bad, then allowed them during the 1970s (since they contained no red blood cells) and then disallowed them again. It gets even weirder when they don't even permit your OWN blood to be used to transfuse yourself.

We are not permitted to eat blood from any mammal. But we don't have a prohibition against using blood in surgery or medical procedures. Like I said, if it doesn't involve ingesting it, it's not an issue really.



The 'Shabbat' rules are even more fascinating. Some rabbis argue that changing the temperature of an oven is permitted, others argue not, others say you can - but only if the oven is designed to not reflect the change on the display !

No competent rabbi would tell you that you can change the temperature on an oven. By doing so, you would be intentionally turning the oven on or off, which violates the prohibition of extinguishing and kindling a flame. In addition, we are not permitted to adjust a flame, so that would be out of the question as well. The electronic display is another issue, but it has nothing to do with the actual oven.

On Yom Tov, we are allowed to cook and do work that involves cooking for that day. So, on Yom Tov, we are allowed to adjust the temperature of a flame. However, we are still not allowed to adjust the temperature of an oven, because we are still not allowed to start or put out a fire.



Read this (http://www.theyeshivaworld.com/news/General+News/19228/Preventing+Transgression:+Gedolei+HaPoskim+Asur+Sh abbos+Mode+on+Ovens.html) for one group of rabbi's opinion on the subject. They argue that opening the door of an appliance is not permitted, if the product has a safety interlock which uses a switch on the door.

To quote:



To quote another rabbi:

This article essentially agrees with what I just said. It is in no way permissible to change the temperature of an oven. The article is addressing the buttons specifically because it is the subject of the article--a special Shabbat mode oven.



Coping with a changing world is what all of our laws have to do .. look how much copyright law has changed over the past few centuries !

The laws don't change, but they do adapt. The Torah is a living document that is eternal. Everything that we invent or discover has aspects mentioned in the Torah, making halachic decisions possible.



It's interesting how people observing the same laws often contradict each other on what counts as 'kosher'. For example a local Rabbi was telling me how it was a myth that 'Kosher food has to have a certification on it.'

It is NOT a myth that kosher food must have a certification. The rabbi that told you that was one of two things:

1. Saying that it's a myth that ALL food must have certification, which is true. Certain foods do not need certification because of the laws of the country. However, not everyone follows that because it is a leniency. Most Orthodox Jews choose to be more careful.

2. Not an Orthodox rabbi, in which case it is likely he doesn't entirely keep kosher anyway, and his opinion is not valid.



And the story about 'the only person who is not an employee of Coca-Cola who knows the recipe is the Jew who supervises the production' is just a silly story - it isn't true.


I meant in a given plant, not in the entire world. Sorry for the confusion. Supposedly they don't let anyone know exactly how they make it. I was told this by numerous people (including people not Jewish).

But even if it isn't true, the point is what's important. The person supervising the production of the product must know the entire process so that it is assured the product is kosher.

Certification is not simply issued and the kept forever. It can be revoked at any time, and the certification is a guarantee that there is supervision of that company's production. It is a continual process that does not stop so long as certification is desired. If someone told you they just give the certification and send them on their way, you were horribly misled.

pink lily
01-17-2010, 09:02 PM
Oy vey! This makes me want to light some candles, turn my oven up, and eat a lasagna with bacon and shrimp in it.

semilargeintestine
01-17-2010, 09:04 PM
:ROFL:

It's a lot. Lucky for most people, only Jews have* to do it.



*On an interesting side note, I find that most of the Jews I've met who are becoming more religious finally decided to go kosher, they felt as though a weight has been lifted. It was the same with me. When I was becoming religious, I felt like I was doing all this stuff and completely ignoring something vitally important to my spiritual health. Except for a few, no commandment is more important than another, so there's not really any reason for this. It's just that kosher laws keep the soul healthy. Food is what keeps are soul and our body connected, so eating kosher ensures that connection is a good one (if you're Jewish that is, since non-Jews aren't required to keep any kosher laws except the prohibition of eating flesh from a live animal). When I finally went kosher, it felt so great.

Mac H.
01-18-2010, 08:54 AM
On Yom Tov, we are allowed to cook and do work that involves cooking for that day. So, on Yom Tov, we are allowed to adjust the temperature of a flame. However, we are still not allowed to adjust the temperature of an oven, because we are still not allowed to start or put out a fire.That's the bit I don't understand.

An electric oven has a thermostat that drives the element as a PWM (or perhaps a simple on/off controller) - so the 'fire' is turned on & off hundreds of times throughout Yom Tov, irrespective of whether the user touches the knob.

So the oven thermostat keep the temperature stable by turning the 'fire' on and off during Yom Tov. That's just the way PWM control works. It doesn't matter if you have touched the control on the Sabbath - by turning an electric oven on at a set temperature before Yom Tov, you are fundamentally choosing to turn the 'fire' on & off hundreds of time during Yom Tov!

Fundamentally any device which uses a PWM control will turn the 'fire' on and off during the Sabbath - irrespective of whether you touch the knob or not. PWM is an extremely common control method due to power efficiency.

Technically the only way around it would be to use a non-PWM method (which wouldn't work for a heater - you would be diverting the 'fire' to load resistor which would produce heat) or fake the results by dropping the 'fire' (electrical current) down to almost zero instead of actually zero.

However, that would be pointless - if you could accept that as turning the 'fire' 'down' instead of 'off' then you could use any electrical device - because leakages mean that there is always a tiny current in anything (Perhaps only a few fempto amps, but still a current)).

In particular, any modern touch screen device would be OK - because they use capacitive sensing. (Even the ones that use resistive overlays just change the impedance from Mega ohms to ohms - so you are never turning the 'fire' off')

I appreciate that we are talking about Orthodox version of Judaism here, not the more common version.

Mac

Rowan
01-18-2010, 07:11 PM
Interesting thread---thank you Semilargeintestine! I'm a pescetarian but my I do cook meat for my dogs. The chicken is organic but I believe the buffalo I buy is kosher (now I'm going to check).

I always wondered about the humane practices re: kosher meat..........

semilargeintestine
01-18-2010, 07:43 PM
That's the bit I don't understand.

An electric oven has a thermostat that drives the element as a PWM (or perhaps a simple on/off controller) - so the 'fire' is turned on & off hundreds of times throughout Yom Tov, irrespective of whether the user touches the knob.

So the oven thermostat keep the temperature stable by turning the 'fire' on and off during Yom Tov. That's just the way PWM control works. It doesn't matter if you have touched the control on the Sabbath - by turning an electric oven on at a set temperature before Yom Tov, you are fundamentally choosing to turn the 'fire' on & off hundreds of time during Yom Tov!

Fundamentally any device which uses a PWM control will turn the 'fire' on and off during the Sabbath - irrespective of whether you touch the knob or not. PWM is an extremely common control method due to power efficiency.

Technically the only way around it would be to use a non-PWM method (which wouldn't work for a heater - you would be diverting the 'fire' to load resistor which would produce heat) or fake the results by dropping the 'fire' (electrical current) down to almost zero instead of actually zero.

However, that would be pointless - if you could accept that as turning the 'fire' 'down' instead of 'off' then you could use any electrical device - because leakages mean that there is always a tiny current in anything (Perhaps only a few fempto amps, but still a current)).

In particular, any modern touch screen device would be OK - because they use capacitive sensing. (Even the ones that use resistive overlays just change the impedance from Mega ohms to ohms - so you are never turning the 'fire' off')

Let's talk about the Shabbat first, since that is the more common one. On Shabbat, it is permitted to benefit from a fire, but one may not kindle or extinguish one. One is also allowed to benefit from certain other devices so long as they are set before Shabbat. For instance, we may set a timer so that the lights go off or on at a certain time. Similarly, we may set the oven so that it continues to go on and off on a regular basis so that the temperature stays the same. While it is true that it is constantly going on and off, we are not actually causing that to happen. If one were to turn the knob on the oven, it would be with the intention to cause the oven to turn on or off so that the temperature would change, and we would then be messing with the fire.

Before modern ovens, they had ovens where the heat source was just a fire underneath with hot coals. It was forbidden to move the coals around because it could rekindle or do something to the fire. Changing the temperature on the oven is the modern analogue of that.

On Yom Tov, we can adjust a flame; however, adjusting the temperature of an oven isn't simply adjusting a flame, it is dafka starting and stopping a fire in order to change the temperature. Still not permitted.



I appreciate that we are talking about Orthodox version of Judaism here, not the more common version.

Mac

That's a different issue all together. Judaism and the Torah go hand in hand. If a Jew decides not to keep the mitzvot, she is not practicing another, legitimate stream of Judaism, she is choosing to not practice Judaism. Calling it by another name is just an attempt to make it seem legitimate.

And it's more common for now. In 3 generations, reform and conservative american Jewry will essentially be wiped out from intermarriage and a low birth rate. Orthodox Jews marry Jews 98% of the time, and the birth rate is 4.1 on average.

But that's a separate issue for a separate thread.


Interesting thread---thank you Semilargeintestine! I'm a pescetarian but my I do cook meat for my dogs. The chicken is organic but I believe the buffalo I buy is kosher (now I'm going to check).

I always wondered about the humane practices re: kosher meat..........

I have to admit, I had to look up the term pescetarian as I had never come across it before.

There are no less than 8 commandments that prohibit cruelty to animals, both domestic and non-domestic.



Animals are forbidden to do work on the Sabbath (Ex. 20:10)
We are forbidden to muzzle an ox while it is working to prevent it from eating (Deut. 25:4)
Animals are allowed to partake in the fruit of the fields during the Sabbatical year (Ex. 23:11)
We cannot plow using animals of different species together, as it would be a hardship for the animals (Deut 22:10)
We are required to relieve an animal of its burden, regardless of our opinion of the owner (Ex. 23:5, Deut. 22:4)
We are not permitted to slaughter an animal and its young on the same day (Lev. 22:28)
We are commanded to send the mother bird away when taking the eggs to prevent psychological damage (Deut 22:6-7)
A person must feed his animals before himself (Deut. 11:15)
We are permitted to break the Sabbath to a limited degree to save an animal or relieve it from pain, just like we are permitted to do so for humans
The Talmud relates the story of a rabbi who was punished with kidney stones and other painful problems for not showing compassion to a calf being led to slaughter; he was relieved of these problems when he began showing compassion for animals (Bava Metzia 85a)


ETA: I forgot to add that it's also forbidden to neuter or declaw your pet. It is permissible to own one that has already had this done, but one cannot do that to a pet or have it done. We also cannot put them down unless the quality of life has deteriorated, and only if it is painlessly done.

Komnena
01-18-2010, 09:08 PM
I can understand the prohibition against declawing but why the one against neutering? I suppose,though, it could be gotten around by adopting animals from groups that neuter before letting the animals go to homes.

lucidzfl
01-18-2010, 09:34 PM
Humans are not considered an animal by the Torah, so there is no prohibition against doing that or drinking breastmilk.

So I can eat humans then?

Religious Law Fail.

:D

semilargeintestine
01-18-2010, 09:40 PM
I can understand the prohibition against declawing but why the one against neutering? I suppose,though, it could be gotten around by adopting animals from groups that neuter before letting the animals go to homes.

It's forbidden to castrate the males of any species (including humans). Also, it is an unnecessary procedure that inflicts undue pain. But yes, you can adopt from a shelter or something if they already neutered them. That's not a problem.


So I can eat humans then?

Religious Law Fail.

:D

No. It's prohibited to both murder and eat something that died of natural causes, so you're screwed. ;)

raburrell
01-18-2010, 09:42 PM
No. It's prohibited to both murder and eat something that died of natural causes, so you're screwed. ;)

Just to be safe, might want to add the part about not eating anything alive either ;)

semilargeintestine
01-18-2010, 09:47 PM
Just to be safe, might want to add the part about not eating anything alive either ;)

I said that in the OP, but thanks. ;)

raburrell
01-18-2010, 09:48 PM
I said that in the OP, but thanks. ;)
Meant as a reminder to lucid :D

semilargeintestine
01-18-2010, 09:53 PM
:ROFL:

pink lily
01-18-2010, 11:21 PM
It's forbidden to castrate the males of any species (including humans).
Hahaha! Wait until my transgendered friend who had an orchi finds out that she isn't kosher!

semilargeintestine
01-18-2010, 11:33 PM
Like I said, humans can't have kosher status. If she's not Jewish and the doctor isn't, no one did anything wrong.

pink lily
01-18-2010, 11:52 PM
Like I said, humans can't have kosher status. If she's not Jewish and the doctor isn't, no one did anything wrong.
I guess if an orthodox Jew wants to transition from male to female then she is no longer considered an orthodox Jew?

Rowan
01-19-2010, 12:19 AM
I have to admit, I had to look up the term pescetarian as I had never come across it before.

There are no less than 8 commandments that prohibit cruelty to animals, both domestic and non-domestic.



Animals are forbidden to do work on the Sabbath (Ex. 20:10)
We are forbidden to muzzle an ox while it is working to prevent it from eating (Deut. 25:4)
Animals are allowed to partake in the fruit of the fields during the Sabbatical year (Ex. 23:11)
We cannot plow using animals of different species together, as it would be a hardship for the animals (Deut 22:10)
We are required to relieve an animal of its burden, regardless of our opinion of the owner (Ex. 23:5, Deut. 22:4)
We are not permitted to slaughter an animal and its young on the same day (Lev. 22:28)
We are commanded to send the mother bird away when taking the eggs to prevent psychological damage (Deut 22:6-7)
A person must feed his animals before himself (Deut. 11:15)
We are permitted to break the Sabbath to a limited degree to save an animal or relieve it from pain, just like we are permitted to do so for humans
The Talmud relates the story of a rabbi who was punished with kidney stones and other painful problems for not showing compassion to a calf being led to slaughter; he was relieved of these problems when he began showing compassion for animals (Bava Metzia 85a)

ETA: I forgot to add that it's also forbidden to neuter or declaw your pet. It is permissible to own one that has already had this done, but one cannot do that to a pet or have it done. We also cannot put them down unless the quality of life has deteriorated, and only if it is painlessly done.

I had no idea. :) If only all humans treated animals with such respect.

I do agree with the declawing issue but I'm a big advocate of neutering and spaying (so many unwanted animals euthanized daily at the shelters). On that note, how do you tackle the issue of unwanted animals in the shelters if euthanasia isn't a possibility (as that's what the shelters typically do; euthanize the ones deemed to old to adopt or just due to sheer numbers/overcrowding)?? I don't ask to be sarcy but because I'm genuinely curious.

semilargeintestine
01-19-2010, 12:45 AM
I guess if an orthodox Jew wants to transition from male to female then she is no longer considered an orthodox Jew?

Just because someone sins, that doesn't mean she isn't a Jew. Actually, the concept of transgendered individuals in Orthodox Judaism is an interesting one where people of that nature may or may not be violating anything (other than castration) by transitioning if they really do have that issue. Plastic surgery is allowed if it involves fixing a blemish that prevents you from properly serving G-d. If you're a female in a male body, the surgery to allow you to properly fulfill the commandments specifically geared for women would be allowed if you assume certain things. But there are also good arguments for why it's not allowed.

However, even if it is not allowed, doing it doesn't mean you're thrown out of the camp. It's not a sin punishable by death, and it isn't a sin that is punishable by spiritual excision, so it's just a sin that you'd have to live with. The problem is it's not a sin that you can make teshuvah for since you would never have an opportunity to be in the same situation and act differently. I think most rabbeim would encourage a person who feels this way to try and find another way to cope before getting surgery, since it's not entirely clear if it would be allowed or not (and in any respect, one would certainly be violating the prohibition against castration).


I had no idea. :) If only all humans treated animals with such respect.

I do agree with the declawing issue but I'm a big advocate of neutering and spaying (so many unwanted animals euthanized daily at the shelters). On that note, how do you tackle the issue of unwanted animals in the shelters if euthanasia isn't a possibility (as that's what the shelters typically do; euthanize the ones deemed to old to adopt or just due to sheer numbers/overcrowding)?? I don't ask to be sarcy but because I'm genuinely curious.

I said in a previous post that euthanasia is permitted so long as it is done painlessly.

Rowan
01-19-2010, 01:16 AM
Stated by semilargeintestine: We also cannot put them down unless the quality of life has deteriorated, and only if it is painlessly done.


I guess I misunderstood based upon your additional statement (above). Thank you for clarifying :) ... I just think spaying/neutering prevents unwanted litters and hence, unnecessary euthanizations.

ETA: But I understand (and respect) your stance based upon spiritual/religious observations! :)

semilargeintestine
01-19-2010, 02:46 AM
I guess I misunderstood based upon your additional statement (above). Thank you for clarifying :) ... I just think spaying/neutering prevents unwanted litters and hence, unnecessary euthanizations.

ETA: But I understand (and respect) your stance based upon spiritual/religious observations! :)

Yes, we cannot just put an animal down for no reason. We can own animals that have been neutered though, which is what most people do.

rugcat
01-19-2010, 03:16 AM
Yes, we cannot just put an animal down for no reason. We can own animals that have been neutered though, which is what most people do.Is the ordering of a neutering forbidden, or just the actual practice. Can you take your cat to the vet and ask that it be neutered or spayed (by a non jew) as long as you don't do it yourself?

Would this be analogous to the employment of a Shabbat Goy, and would the payment of a fee be problematical? What if the vet, although paid, believes strongly that the neutering is good for society and other animals, by preventing overpopulation?

semilargeintestine
01-19-2010, 04:01 AM
Is the ordering of a neutering forbidden, or just the actual practice. Can you take your cat to the vet and ask that it be neutered or spayed (by a non jew) as long as you don't do it yourself?

No, the prohibition extends to having someone do it for you. But, spaying a female animal is not prohibited. It is only neutering that is prohibited. As such, a woman may also have her tubes tied under the same principle.



Would this be analogous to the employment of a Shabbat Goy, and would the payment of a fee be problematical? What if the vet, although paid, believes strongly that the neutering is good for society and other animals, by preventing overpopulation?

We just bought two kittens from someone. That person is having the kittens spayed and neutered. Since we will be receiving the kittens after the male was already neutered, we did not do it ourselves and therefore did not violate the prohibition. The person who is selling them also isn't Jewish, so the prohibition doesn't apply to her. Everybody wins. :) (assuming the vet isn't Jewish either, lol)

A person can have pets not neutered and not contribute to overpopulation. I know plenty of people who have done it (we've always owned female pets, so it hasn't been an issue). But, like I said--if you believe in neutering your pets and want one that is neutered, go to a shelter or to a place that already has them neutered. That isn't a problem. It is only if you yourself neuter or cause your pet to be neutered.

analias
01-19-2010, 04:03 AM
I had no idea. :) If only all humans treated animals with such respect.

I'm always struck by the level of compassion, empathy, respect and equality that seems intrinsic to Jewish traditions and teachings.

semilargeintestine
01-19-2010, 04:14 AM
I'm always struck by the level of compassion, empathy, respect and equality that seems intrinsic to Jewish traditions and teachings.

Thank you. :) The Torah commands us to treat everyone with respect, including non-Jews and slaves. After G-d's Revelation at Mt. Sinai to the Jewish people and the giving of the Ten Commandments, the Torah starts off its list of commandments with the rights of the most easily oppressed citizen--a young maidservant working in the home.

There are 17 commandments that prohibit ill treatment of workers, servants and slaves--including freeing them after 6 years, not returning a runaway slave to his non-Jewish master, mandatory rest on the Sabbath, etc. In fact, in Judaism, there is really no such thing as a slave because no one really has true ownership of anything. Everything is G-d's, and we simply are allowed to use it for a time period. As such, even "slaves" are really just a form of indentured servant.

There are 14 commandments that prohibit dealing unfairly in business practices, including refusing to loan to the poor, charging interest on loans, forcing the poor to repay his loan, and taking a bond in the form of utensils and items from the person.

There are 3 commandments that require us to deal with and treat non-Jews in a friendly and fair way.

There are 13 commandments that require us to give charity to the poor, leave parts of the field for the poor, and not to afflict a widow or orphan.

There are literally hundreds of commandments that require us to treat people well, not embarrass people, put our lives at risk to save others, etc. People think that the commandments are mostly things that have to do with praying and sacrifices, but the majority of them pertain to treating people and animals with kindness and compassion.

Rowan
01-19-2010, 04:20 AM
No, the prohibition extends to having someone do it for you. But, spaying a female animal is not prohibited. It is only neutering that is prohibited. As such, a woman may also have her tubes tied under the same principle.


A person can have pets not neutered and not contribute to overpopulation. I know plenty of people who have done it (we've always owned female pets, so it hasn't been an issue). But, like I said--if you believe in neutering your pets and want one that is neutered, go to a shelter or to a place that already has them neutered. That isn't a problem. It is only if you yourself neuter or cause your pet to be neutered.

That is so unfair! :tongue Another issue w/not neutering (or spaying) === health issues but that's another thread. ;)


Posted by analias: I'm always struck by the level of compassion, empathy, respect and equality that seems intrinsic to Jewish traditions and teachings.

I agree! :)

semilargeintestine
01-19-2010, 04:28 AM
That is so unfair! :tongue Another issue w/not neutering (or spaying) === health issues but that's another thread. ;)


If not neutering your pet causes him to have an illness that causes him pain that can only be relieved by neutering, it is permissible to do so. It can't be done to prevent it though.

I dunno, this thread has sort of become an "all questions about Jewish law" sort of thing, so it's totally fine. I won't mind if you want to talk about something other than kosher laws.

Rowan
01-19-2010, 04:40 AM
If not neutering your pet causes him to have an illness that causes him pain that can only be relieved by neutering, it is permissible to do so. It can't be done to prevent it though.

I dunno, this thread has sort of become an "all questions about Jewish law" sort of thing, so it's totally fine. I won't mind if you want to talk about something other than kosher laws.

Thanks again, semilargeintestine. I've learned a lot! :)

semilargeintestine
01-19-2010, 04:45 AM
No problem. :)

Mac H.
01-19-2010, 05:39 AM
No competent rabbi would tell you that you can change the temperature on an oven. By doing so, you would be intentionally turning the oven on or off, which violates the prohibition of extinguishing and kindling a flame.This is the bit I don't understand.

On Yom Tov you can adjust a flame but not turn it on or off.

The thermostat (which you set before Yom Tov) is going to turn the heating element on & off during Yom Tov - perhaps 200 times over the 24 period. So by setting the thermostat on a Friday, you are deliberately choosing to turn the the 'flame' on and off 200 times DURING Yom Tov. That appears to be OK according to the rules.

So now (during Yom Tov) after your meal is cooked, you speak to the oven. (I'll design one with a voice control for you). As a result of your words, the oven will ensure the 'flame' is no longer turned on & off DURING Yom Tov.

Was it more sinful for you to utter the words during Yom Tov, or not ? By uttering them you are stopping the oven from turning its 'flame' on & off. Why would that be forbidden?

Mac

semilargeintestine
01-19-2010, 05:59 AM
This is the bit I don't understand.

On Yom Tov you can adjust a flame but not turn it on or off.

The thermostat (which you set before Yom Tov) is going to turn the heating element on & off during Yom Tov - perhaps 200 times over the 24 period. So by setting the thermostat on a Friday, you are deliberately choosing to turn the the 'flame' on and off 200 times DURING Yom Tov.

The reason we can do things on Yom Tov is we are allowed to do things that we couldn't do before Yom Tov for food preparation. Since one can set an oven before Yom Tov, we are forbidden from doing so.

But turning on an oven or setting a thermostat Erev Yom Tov/Shabbos is different than setting it on Yom Tov/Shabbos. Even though it will create/extinguish a "fire", we are not doing it directly. When you change the temperature on one of these things, you are causing it to do something. There are some authorities that permit raising the temperature of an oven on Yom Tov only if--and only if--you do so when the oven is already running and no electronic display will be affected by the change. The same would apply for lowering the temperature. However, I've never seen anyone actually do this, nor have I heard a rabbi ever actually say it was okay.

As an interesting side note, they make Sabbath mode ovens where the temperature can be adjusted (only on Yom Tov, ironically) because adjusting the dial doesn't directly change anything. The computer in the oven checks the setting at random times, so the odds are that when you set the temperature again, the computer won't be looking. Since you don't know when it will look, you are indirectly causing it to come on, which is okay. Again, some say this is okay, but the more strict among us would not do this because it violates the spirit of the Yom Tov. I don't know anyone who does this even if they own such an oven.



OK - Now you speak to the oven during Yom Tov (I'll design one with a voice control for you). As a result of your words, the oven will ensure the 'flame' is not turned on & off 200 times DURING Yom Tov.

I'm not sure what you mean. Does this thing turn the oven off during Yom Tov? How would the oven work without turning on and off?



Was it more sinful for you to have an oven turning the 'flame' on & off 200 times, or for you to utter the words which stopped it from happening ?

Mac

Breaking the Sabbath is breaking the Sabbath. It is a transgression punishable by spiritual excision and death. Of course, no one is actually killed for this because it has to be a very publish and intentional display of violation that occurs after being thoroughly warned of the consequences; however, intentional desecrations cut you off from the covenant unless you make teshuvah. So neither is worse--they're both bad (if it's an accident, you just have to make sure to be careful next time--neither of the above applies).

Mac H.
01-19-2010, 06:43 AM
I'm not sure what you mean. Does this thing turn the oven off during Yom Tov? How would the oven work without turning on and off?Ok - When the oven is running, it is turning itself on and off 200 times during Yom Tov.

I'm arguing that if you want to stop using the oven, you should speak the command when the oven happens to be off ... and it would not longer turn itself back on to maintain temperature.

Your words wouldn't have an immediate affect, because the oven would otherwise only be turning itself on in (perhaps) 3 minutes - you are simply disabling that feature at a future time.

So surely by uttering the phrase you are preventing the oven turning the 'flame' back on. Why wouldn't this be permitted ?


Of course, no one is actually killed for this ..Correction - nobody is killed for this ANYMORE.

We have an account of at least one person being killed for collecting wood on the Sabbath. It has happened in the past.

Today the rules might have been tweaked to avoid killing people for violating the law .. but the simple fact is that in the past people WERE killed for it.

Mac

semilargeintestine
01-19-2010, 06:59 AM
Ok - When the oven is running, it is turning itself on and off 200 times during Yom Tov.

I'm arguing that if you want to stop using the oven, you should speak the command when the oven happens to be off ... and it would not longer turn itself back on to maintain temperature.

Your words wouldn't have an immediate affect, because the oven would otherwise only be turning itself on in (perhaps) 3 minutes - you are simply disabling that feature at a future time.

So surely by uttering the phrase you are preventing the oven turning the 'flame' back on. Why wouldn't this be permitted ?

Like I said, some people permit this on Yom Tov as long as no electronic display is changed and the oven is already in the off position. But, I've never seen this actually done in practice.




Correction - nobody is killed for this ANYMORE.

We have an account of at least one person being killed for collecting wood on the Sabbath. It has happened in the past.

I'm sure people were killed, but the sanhedrin was not allowed to put people to death frequently. In fact, the Torah makes it nearly impossible for someone to actually be put to death unless they did something completely intentionally and publicly (which I'm sure has happened).

In order to execute someone for it, there has to be two kosher witnesses who not only saw it, but also warned the person about the sin and the penalty for it. Then, the sanhedrin has to find those two witnesses reliable.

So, while I was using hyperbole (apparently ineffectively), I'm curious as to whom you are refering.



Today the rules might have been tweaked to avoid killing people for violating the law .. but the simple fact is that in the past people WERE killed for it.

Mac

The rules have not been tweaked. The sanhedrin is not functioning in our times, so no one can be put to death for desecrating the Shabbat (or any other prohibition that requires death).

Only two people have been executed in Israel's modern history--one of them was a spy who was unfortunately executed without a fair trial (although many people think he was guilty nonetheless), and one of them was Adolf Eichmann, who I think everyone agrees deserved execution (for anyone who doesn't know, he was pretty much the architect of the Holocaust).

However, while I agree that Eichmann deserved death, I don't think they should have done that in the absence of the sanhedrin.

not_HarryS
01-19-2010, 07:32 AM
It is also not a myth that, if you order Kosher on international flights, not only will you receive your meal an hour or so before everyone else, but it will also be WORLDS more delicious than what otherwise passes for food on airplanes.

Seriously. I ate some of the best salmon I've ever had the pleasure of masticating on a flight to China last month. And I would like to take this opportunity to thank Talmudic Law and the Shomer Shabbat Jew who observed the flaying and roasting of that particular gilled morsel.

semilargeintestine
01-19-2010, 08:44 AM
It is also not a myth that, if you order Kosher on international flights, not only will you receive your meal an hour or so before everyone else, but it will also be WORLDS more delicious than what otherwise passes for food on airplanes.

Seriously. I ate some of the best salmon I've ever had the pleasure of masticating on a flight to China last month. And I would like to take this opportunity to thank Talmudic Law and the Shomer Shabbat Jew who observed the flaying and roasting of that particular gilled morsel.

:D

One of the benefits of being a Shomer Mitzvot Jew is that all my meals will taste relatively good while traveling--even on airplanes. The meals on El Al are awesome.

CatSlave
01-19-2010, 09:08 AM
Fascinating discussion. Thank you for sharing.