Clean And Unclean Meats

17. 10. 04
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Clean And Unclean Meats

By a ministry called Yah Saves


 One thing that stands out about the Jewish people is their eating habits and their refusal to

eat particular items. The world may think they carry this to the point of fanaticism.

Do they? Where did they get these restrictions? Is there scriptural basis? Do these restrictions

apply only to the Jews? Could they possible apply to any of us today? Does it have only

to do with good health, as some have claimed?

Any idea how far back these principles go? Probably back to creation. Because when

Adonai told Noah how many animals to put on the ark, he didn't say two of every kind as

most people assume. Look closely.

Genesis 7:2-3, 7-9

You shall take to yourself from every clean animal by sevens, male and female; and from

the animal that is not clean by twos, male and female. And take of the fowl of the

heavens by sevens, male and female, to keep alive seed on the face of the earth. And

Noah went in, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons' wives with him into the ark,

because of the waters of the flood. And they went in to Noah into the ark, male and

female of clean animals, and of animals that are not clean, and of fowl, and of every thing

that creeps on the earth. Two by two as Adonai had commanded Noah. "Two by two" -

meaning in pairs. This law was in place long before it was given to Moses!

In Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14, there are descriptions of animals and lists of

creatures, telling which are good for food and which ones Adonai considers an

abomination. It can also be considered an abomination to touch the carcass or to use a

utensil that has been touched by a forbidden creature.

Leviticus 11:2, 46-47

Speak to the sons of Israel saying, These are the living things which you shall eat out of

all the animals which are on the earth. This is the law of the animals, and of the fowl, and

of every living creature which moves in the waters, and every creature which swarms on

the earth. To make a distinction between the unclean and the clean, and between the

living thing that may be eaten, and the living thing that may not be eaten.

Leviticus 20:25

And you shall make a difference between the clean animals and the unclean, and between

the unclean fowl and the clean. And you shall not defile your souls by beast or by fowl,

or by anything which swarms the ground, which I have set apart to you as unclean.

Jewish Tradition

Let's look first at some references that describe the traditions these people have and how

they have applied these rules. Then we will see what Adonai's Word actually says

regarding foods.

From International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, volume 4, page 3036

"The law as to clean and unclean beasts is laid down in Leviticus 11:1-23. Notice that the

law does not extend to vegetable foods, as does a similar law in the Egyptian religion.

Four kinds of beasts are named as fit for food: (a) among quadrupeds, those that both

chew the cud and part the hoof; (b) among fishes, only those having both fins and scales;

(c) most birds or fowls, except, in the main, birds of prey and those noted for uncleanness

of habits are permitted; (d) of insects those that have legs above the feet to leap withal

(e.g. the cricket, the grasshopper, etc), but those that go on all four, or have many feet, or

go upon the belly (e.g. worms, snakes, lizards, etc), are forbidden."

From the Illustrated Dictionary of the Bible, Herbert Lockyer, Sr., editor, page 389

"Animals were divided into two distinct classes among the Hebrew people - clean and

unclean (Lev 11:1-47; Acts 10:9-15). The law governing this distinction dealt with fourfooted

animals as well as fish, birds, and insects. Only clean animals could be used for

food. Clean animals were those that chewed the cud and had divided hooves (Lev 11:3).

Pigs have divided hooves, but they do not chew the cud. Therefore, they were

ceremonially unclean and unfit for food. Camels chew the cud, but they do not have

parted hooves. So they could not be eaten. Camel's milk and cheese from their milk,

however, were not forbidden."

From The Torah, A Modern Commentary, edited by W. Gunther Plaut, page 808-809 –

"An animal designated for sacrifice is thereby set apart and may be eaten only by

specified circumstances. Otherwise, biblically prohibited foods fall into two classes: (1)

those which are restricted temporarily, such as leavened bread on Passover and untithed

produce and (2) foods designated as unclean and prohibited unconditionally except in the

direst emergency, to save the life of a sick or starving person."

"Currently, food permissible according to Jewish law is called kasher (kosher). The word

means 'fit,' 'proper'."

"The opposite of kasher in current usage is terefah (sometimes pronounced treif). The

word literally means 'something torn,' and in the Bible it refers to an animal killed by

another beast (Exod. 22:30)."

"The Talmud redefined the word terefah: it is an animal or fowl of a permitted species

which is suffering from a disease, defect, or injury that would cause its death within a

year. An animal of a permitted species killed by another beast is called in talmudicrabbinic

literature not terefah, but nevelah, literally 'carcass,' 'carrion.' The same term is

applied to an animal that has died of natural causes or has been improperly slaughtered."

"But today a perfectly healthy animal, bird, or fish of a non-kosher species might be

referred to as terefah, though the Bible and tradition literally designate such creatures as

tame, 'unclean.' "

"This word tame does not mean dirty; and the opposite, tahor, 'pure,' means much more

than physically clean. A creature is tame because the Torah forbids its consumption.

Similarly, the word sheketz,'abomination,' does not mean that the birds or fish in question

are 'not repulsive'; they are to be regarded as repulsive because a divine commandment

forbids them."

From The Frugal Gourmet Keeps the Feast, by Jeff Smith, page 45€“

"According to kosher laws, one is not to eat unclean animals or unclean creatures from

the sea such as anything that does not have scales or fins. That eliminates all shellfish,

crabs, and scaleless fish, all of which are bottom eaters and therefore unclean. They eat

garbage. This rule is easy to understand."

"The rule against pork is more difficult. Leviticus forbids the eating of any animal that

does not chew its cud and does not have a parted hoof. How did this rule come about?

Pork was forbidden but it could not have been because of trichinosis, a disease that we

did not even name until 1916. There is something more at stake here."

From Jewish Cooking Secrets, by Lorraine Gerstl, editor, page 10 -

"Most people know, without a second thought, that observant Jews do not eat pork. But

that is only one of the laws of kashrut (permissible foods). As stated in the Bible and

elaborated upon in the Talmud and subsequent legal codes, certain animals are

permissible to eat; others are forbidden. The Bible defines certain species as 'clean' and

others as 'unclean' (Lev 11, Deut 14:3-21). Today we call permitted foods kosher and

forbidden foods treyf."

"A kosher animal must be slaughtered in a ritually correct way - a way that truly is the

most humane - in order to remain kosher. And, harking back to the Biblical admonition

that 'A calf should not be cooked in its mother's milk,' it is forbidden to consume milk

and meat within six hours of one another. Thus among observant Jews, separate dishes

are used for milk meals and milk meals. Thus chicken (which is kosher) becomes treyf if

not slaughtered properly; even if beef is kosher, it can be made treyf by cooking it with

dairy products."

"Mammals: Those that have split hooves and chew their cuds, the two necessary signs

which render them 'clean,' include cattle, sheep, goats and venison, but Jews may only eat

from the front half of these animals. Thus, while chuck and flank are acceptable, sirloin

steak, alas, is not. Treyf include pig, rabbit, horse, bear, dog, cat and whale."

Birds and Poultry: The Bible does not stipulate identifying characteristics for birds, but

the Mishnah states that "a bird that seizes food in its claws is unclean , while one which

has an extra talon, a craw, and a peelable gizzard is clean" , (Hulin 3:6). Kosher birds

include chicken, duck, goose, pigeon, pheasant, quail, and turkey. Birds of prey are all


"Fish: According to the Bible, only fish that have both fins and scales are considered

'clean.' These include anchovy, bass, bluefish, carp, cod, flounder, fluke, haddock,

halibut, herring, mackerel, pike, red snapper, salmon, sardine, shad, sole, trout, tuna, and

whitefish. Catfish, eel, porpoise and shark may not be eaten. All shellfish are considered

treyf. Thus some favorite seafoods such as clams, lobster, oyster, scallops, shrimp, snail,

and squid are prohibited. There is a dispute concerning two species of fish because during

some parts of their lives they have fins and scales and during others they don't. Orthodox

Jews prohibit sturgeon and swordfish. Conservative and Reformed Jews permit them."

"Finally, although it seems disgusting and hard to believe, locusts, crickets and

grasshoppers are considered kosher! "

Where on earth would a people get the idea that they were only to eat the front part of an

animal? What could be wrong with sirloin? The beef is a clean animal, so what's the


From Biblical Literacy, by Rabbi Joseph Telushkin, page 515 –

"He lists the 613 laws or commandments that the Rabbis enumerated in the Torah. This

one is "The prohibition against eating an animal's thigh muscle (Genesis 32:33):

'Therefore, the children of Israel to this day do not eat the thigh muscle that is on the

socket of the hip [i.e. the sciatic nerve] since Jacob's hip socket was wrenched at the thigh

muscle' (when he fought with the angel). The thigh muscle includes the area known as

the 'sirloin.' Rabbinical law prohibited eating the peroneal as well as the sciatic nerve."

What does Adonai touching Jacob's hip have to do with prohibiting the eating of a part of

an animal? That didn't make anything clean or unclean. Besides, Jacob was a human, not

a creature of the cattle. Notice that it says "Rabbinical law", not "Adonai's law".

From To Be A Jew, by Rabbi Hayim Halevy Donin, page 97 –

"Kashrut is the Hebrew word that refers to the Jewish dietary laws. It is a variation of the

word kosher which means fit, proper, or in accordance with the religious law. Any food

that satisfies the requirements of Jewish law is fit for eating; it is kosher. The expression

kosher-style is misleading and deceptive. Kosher does not stand for an ethnic way of

cooking food nor for certain tastes. It is a religious term with very specific religious

meaning. Its applicability is determined by set religious criteria."

"…use the term trefah to designate everything which is not kosher (although in Jewish

law, the term is technically applied only to an animal whose organs are damaged or


Milk And Meat

There is another verse that the Jews expand on that determines whether or not they

operate a "kosher" kitchen.

Deuteronomy 14:21

"You shall not eat of anything that died of itself. You may give it to the alien who is

within your gates, that he may eat it. Or you may sell it to a foreigner. For you are a holy

people to Adonai your Elohim. You shall not simmer a kid in its mother's milk."

From To Be A Jew, by Rabbi Hayim Halevy Donin, page 112-113 -

"From the thrice-stated commandment in Scripture that 'You shall not boil a kid in its

mother's milk' (Ex. 23:19; 34:26; Deut. 14:21), The Oral Tradition derived the prohibition

against cooking meat and milk together, against eating such a meat and milk mixture, and

against deriving any benefit from such a meat and milk mixture."

"(Although milk that comes from a kosher animal is permitted, it is precisely this kosher

milk which, when mixed with the meat of kosher cattle, sheep, or goats that the Torah

forbids. Rabbinical ordinances were enacted as 'fences' to safeguard the observance of

this commandment, and these are reflected in the practices followed in a kosher


"Although fowl was not included in the Rabbinical prohibitions, Rabbinical decree

extended the prohibition of meat-milk mixing to include fowl as well. Use of the term

meat therefore refers also to fowl in all instances."

"The terms meat or dairy, for the purpose of these religious laws refer not only to the

actual meat and milk, and to products containing meat or milk ingredients, but also to

meat and milk fats and products made from them."

"A food product containing neither meat nor milk, nor derived from either is neutral. The

Yiddish word parev (parve) or the Hebrew word stam is used to describe this third

category. The neutral (parev) category includes (1) everything which grows from the soil;

vegetables, fruits, nuts, coffee, spices, sugar, salt, (2) all kosher fish, (3) eggs, and (4)

items manufactured from chemicals. Parev foods may be eaten or cooked with either

dairy or meat products."

Jewish homes with kosher kitchens have two sets of cookware and dishes. Since the milk

and meat products cannot be cooked together, they can't even be cooked in the same pots,

or served on the same dishes. If it is done accidentally, that a milk product and a meat

product has been cooked in the same pot, the pot becomes contaminated. Many have

separate basins to wash the cookware and dishes and even separate towels for meat or

dairy dishes. For dishwashers, it is allowed only if separate racks are purchased for each

set. But some even frown upon and prohibit that practice.

There are numerous other halakhik laws that control glassware, glass cooking utensils,

the purifying of pots and pans, the handling of cold and hot foods, eating out, etc. They

are interesting to read. But the laws here regarding the dishes and mixing of milk and

meat are not found in Scripture. They are all man-made, based on the Scripture that says

a kid is not to be cooked in the mother's milk. If you will notice in some of these quotes,

they are rabbinical laws and Oral Tradition. It is their interpretation of what Adonai said.


Leviticus 17:10-14

And any man of the house of Israel, or of the aliens who is staying in your midst, who

eats any blood, I will set my face against that person that eats blood and will cut him off

from his people. For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you on the

altar, to make atonement for your souls; for it is in the blood which makes atonement for

the soul. For this reason I have said to the sons of Israel, No person among you shall eat

blood; and the alien who is staying in your midst shall not eat blood. And any man of the

sons of Israel, or of the aliens who reside in your midst, who hunt game of beast or fowl

which may be eaten, then he shall pour out its blood and cover it with dust. For the life of

all flesh is its blood. And I say to the children of Israel, You shall not eat blood of any

flesh, for the life of all flesh is its blood; anyone eating it shall be cut off.

Genesis 9:4

But you shall not eat flesh in its life, its blood.

Leviticus 3:16-17

And the priest shall burn them as incense on the altar, bread of the fire offering for

soothing fragrance; all the fat is Adonai's. It shall be a never-ending statute for your

generations. You shall not eat any fat or blood.

Notice that. Fat is included by Adonai as well as the blood.

Leviticus 7:23-27

Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, You shall not eat any fat of ox, or of sheep, or of goat.

And the fat of a dead body, and the fat of a thing torn may be used for any work, but you

certainly shall not eat it. For whosoever eats the fat of the animal, of which one brings

near a fire offering to Adonai, even the person who eats shall be cut off from his people.

And you shall not eat any blood in all your dwellings, of fowl, or of animal. Any person

who eats any blood, even that person shall be cut off from his people.

The book To Be A Jew goes on to explain the various ways by which clean meats are

made kosher. Just because an animal is clean does not mean it is kosher. That is

dependent upon the way the animal and the meat are handled. It is to be first slaughtered

in a particular way that allows as much of the blood as possible to drain from the body.

Then the meat, like a roast or whatever, is washed under cold running water. Then it is

cooked on a grill or spit that allows any blood to drain off. Once it is done, the meat is to

be rinsed in cold running water again to remove any blood that clings to it. It can be

reheated and then served.


Last Updated on Friday, 07 November 2014 06:59