Video:What Is Kosher Food?with Jana Singer
Jana teaches us what kosher means and how to follow the rules all throughout the year.See Transcript
Transcript:What Is Kosher Food?Hi, I'm Jana Singer for About.com. Today We're going to learn what makes food kosher.
The Kosher Diet Follows Thousands of Years of TraditionThe word "kosher", which is an English translation of the Hebrew term kasher, simply means "fit." When you're talking about food, that means food that is prepared in accordance with Jewish Dietary Law, or Kashrut. Jews have kept kosher for thousands of years for a variety of reasons. However the most common understanding of why to follow Jewish dietary law is simply "because the Torah says so."
There Are Three Basic Diet Rules to Keep KosherKeeping kosher is one of the many ways to show your faith and discipline towards Judaism. There are many different levels of observance associated with kosher food, but they all follow three basic rules:
The first is that certain animals may not be eaten at all. The Torah explicitly lists certain animals as impure such as pigs, bats, mice and eagles. Others are considered impure because of certain characteristics. For example, you can only eat mammals that have both cloven hooves and chew their own cud. You can only eat fish that have both fins and scales. In case you were wondering, you also can't eat cat, dolphin, iguana, rhino, magpie, or tasmanian devil.
The second rule of kosher food is that of the animals you can eat, they must be slaughtered in a specific way. Among other criteria, kosher slaughter must be done with a sharp, un-serrated knife to the throat to cause the least amount of pain to the animal.
The third standard rule of kosher is that you cannot mix meat and dairy products. Many observant Jews have separate dishes and utensils for the different kinds of foods and will wait anywhere from 1-6 hours after eating meat to eat any dairy products. Parve is a term that describes foods that are neither meat nor dairy, and so can be consumed with either.
During Passover, There Are Additional Rules for Keeping KosherThese three standard rules apply to all foods at all times, but there are additional rules that must be kept and different times of the year to remain kosher. During passover, r you must also not consume any bread products. Some people simply won't eat bread for the 7 or 8 days of the holiday, while other families will sell all of their grain products and symbolically hide, collect and burn bread the night before the holiday to make sure they do not have any bread in their house.
There are many more details about keeping kosher, but today we learned about the three main tennats. There are some animals that can never be eaten, such as pork and shellfish, while others that can be eaten must be slaughtered a certain way. And you can never eat meat with dairy. Thanks for watching! To learn more, visit us on the web at kosherfood.about.com.
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