Kosher animals

Kosher animals

Kosher animals are those which comply with the regulations for Kosher food in Jewish religion. These food regulations form the main aspect of "kashrut", and ultimately derive from various passages in the Torah. Various modifications, additions, and clarifications, have subsequently been added to these biblical rules by "halakha" (traditional Jewish law).

Land Beasts

Leviticus 11:3-8 and Deuteronomy 14:4-8 both give the same general set of rules for identifying which land beasts (Hebrew: "Behemoth") are ritually "clean". According to these, anything which "chews the cud" and has a "cloven hoof" would be ritually "clean", but those animals which only "chew the cud" or only have "cloven hooves" would be "unclean" [] [] . The Hebrew term for this animal - "shaphan" - has been translated by older English versions of the bible as "coney"; the existance of the hyrax wasn't known to early English translators. The "coney" was an exclusively european animal, not present in Canaan, while the "shaphan" was described by the Book of Proverbs as living on rocks [] .
*The pig, for having cloven hooves without being a ruminant []

Unlike Leviticus 11:3-8, Deuteronomy 14:4-8 also explicitly names 10 animals which should be considered "clean":
*the ox []
*the deer []
*the "the'o" []
*the "camelopardalus" [] (Hebrew: "sheqets", sometimes translated as "abomination"; "abomination" is also sometimes used to translate "piggul" and "toebah"). Although these biblical rules do not specify the status of animals in "the waters" with fins but no scales, or vice versa, it has traditionally been assumed that these animals are also excluded from the ranks of the ritually "clean".

These rules restrict the permissable seafood to stereotypical fish, prohibiting the unusual forms such as the hagfish, lampreys, eels, and lancelet. In addition, these rules exclude non-fish marine creatures, such as sea cucumbers, crustaceans (lobsters, shrimp, barnacles, crab, prawns, etc.), water molluscs (squid, octopus, oysters, periwinkles, etc.), and the cnids (jellyfish etc.); other creatures living in the sea and rivers that would be prohibited by the rules, but are not normally considered seafood, include the Cetaceans (dolphins, whales, etc.), Crocodilians (Alligators, Crocodiles etc.), Turtles, and all amphibians.

Sharks are sometimes regarded as being among the ritually "unclean" foods according to these regulations, as they appear to have a smooth skin; however, sharks do have scales, they are just placoid scales, which are denser and appear smooth if rubbed in one direction, in contrast to leptoid scales, ganoid scales, and cosmoid scales. The Sturgeon, and related fish, are also sometimes included among the "unclean" foods, as their surfaces are covered in scutes, which are bony armoured nodules; however, fish scutes are actually just hardened and enlarged scales. These visual ambiguities have traditionally been dealt with by following [ [ Kosher Fish] at [] . Accessed 22 April 2007.] Nahmanides's interpretation of "qasqeseth" (the word which translates as "scales") to refer specifically to scales which can be detached, by hand or using a knife, without ripping the skin; in practice this excludes all but ctenoid and cycloid scales [Nahmanides, commentary to Leviticus 11:9] .

Sturgeon are also the source of minor controversy for another reason, which they share with
swordfish and catfish; they have scales that satisfy Nahmanides' rule while young, but the scales change, or are lost altogether, when they reach adulthood. Many Conservative rabbis view these fish as being kosher ["A Guide to Jewish Religious Practice". Isaac Klein. The Jewish Theological Seminary of America. New York and Jerusalem. 1979. p. 305 (in 1992 reprint).] , but most Orthodox rabbis do not [ [ Kosher Fish] at [] . Accessed 22 April 2007.] . The question for sturgeon is particularly significant as most caviar consists of sturgeon eggs, and therefore cannot be kosher if the sturgeon itself is not.

Traditionally "fins" has been interpreted as referring to translucent fins.


In regard to birds, no general rule is given, and instead Leviticus 11:13-19 and Deuteronomy 14:11-18 explicitly list the prohibited birds:The masoretic text lists the birds as:

The list in Deuteronomy has an additional bird, the "dayyah" [] ; the Hebrew term literally means "swallower". The Septuagint calls it an "attacos", the meaning of which is currently uncertain.
*"hargol" [).

Small Land Creatures

Leviticus 11:29-30 and 11:42-43, unlike the passages of Deuteronomy, specifies that every "creeping thing which creeps upon the earth" should be considered to be "filthy" (Hebrew: "sheqets") []
*"akhbar" [] ; this Hebrew term literally means "groaner"
*"ko'ah" [] ; this term literally means "blower"/"breather", this term also appears in the list of birds

The Septuagint's version of the list is:
*"galei"; a general term including the weasel, ferret, and the stoat
*"mus"; the mouse.
*"krokodelos-chersaios"; the "land crocodile", which is thought to refer to the monitor lizard, a very large lizard of somewhat crocodilian appearance.
*"mygale"; the shrew.
*"chamaileon"; the chameleon
*"chalabotes"; a term derived from "chala" meaning "rock"/"claw", and therefore probably the wall lizard
*"saura"; the lizard in general, possibly here intended to be the skink, since it is the remaining "other" major group of lizards
*"aspalax"; the mole-rat, although some older English translations, not being aware of the mole-rat's existence, have instead translated this as "mole"

ee also



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