From the Bible: Jewish gastronomic customs

Por: diácono Orlando Fernández Guerra

In the previous issue we spoke of the causes of legal impurity in Judaism, which did not belong, primarily, to the field of hygiene or morality, but to the liturgy. Impurity disabled the “impure” from worthily participating in divine worship. Therefore, people, animals, vegetables or objects used in daily life should be cleansed of any contagion caused by blood, genital fluids and corpses. Similarly, commercial and coexistence relations with the Gentiles were normized.
The fifth cause of legal impurity was related to dietary customs. Leaving nothing to chance, Jewish cuisine provided for everything related to food: which animals, vegetables and fruits should be eaten; who and how animals should be slaughtered or vegetables harvested; how they should be prepared or made and up to what mixtures should never be made. This is what is known as the Kosher Act.
In general, Jews cannot eat meat from any animal that chews their food bolus and has separate hooves (Lev 11.3). Derivatives of these animals, such as milk, cheese, yogurt, etc., can be consumed as long as they have been made with permitted seasonings or additives. Salt should be pure, without industry additions, such as iodine and fluoride. Animals – quadrupeds and birds – must pass for a ritual slaughter consisting of bleeding them well, even submerging them in a brine for several hours to drain all excess blood (Lev 7.26). All fat, skin and veins should then be removed (Lev 7.23). Ham and other sausages so common in our culture are made from lamb, never pork.
Among the birds are only edible goose, duck, turkey and chicken, that is, domesticated for centuries. The eggs of these birds can be eaten as long as they have no blood. The words “hunting”, “hunting” or “hunted” appear in the Bible on very rare occasions and almost always used in a metaphorical sense. The only mention of the hunting activity appears in the account of Esaú looking for a goat to make a stew for his father Isaac (Gen 27.7-38), an occasion Jacob took advantage of to steal his fatherly blessing.
Among the fish, only those with fins, scales and thorns are edible. They are common at the table, tilapia, sole, sardine, perch and a few others that meet these requirements, but molluscs (octopuses and squid) and shellfish (lobsters and shrimp) are strictly prohibited.
Here is a short list of unclean animals: clam, squirrel, donkey, eagle, eel, whale, vulture, horse, crab, kangaroo, zebra, crocodile, crow, chameleon, camel, snail, pig, stork, swan, rabbit, weasel, dolphin, elephant, cat, seal, cheetah, gull, hippo, ferret, lynx, hare, lion, wolf, parrot, flame, manta rays, jellyfish, monkey, bear, panther, dog, penguin, pelican, frog, rat, reptiles, rhinoceros, toad, snake, shark, tiger, turtle, , fox, etc. The ban not only refers to intake, but also to contact with them if they are dead.
Jews do not eat meat and dairy products in the same meal, based on the biblical prohibition against “boiling a child in their mother’s milk” (Ex 23.19; Dt 14.21). They will never eat dessert cheese, or any other milk derivative until at least three hours pass. They will also not eat meat or birds that have been cooked or served in pots or vessels used to make dairy products. Instead, the period is shorter after eating dairy because they require less time to digest them.
Fruits, vegetables, vegetables and cereals can be ingested without exception provided that care is taken not to eat insects or reptiles that are between their leaves and, of course, that they have not been treated with insecticides or be transgenic. The wine to be “kosher” must have been treated only with bacteria or enzymes allowed, never with blood, nor jellies or casein. Fermentation containers must be new and washed under supervision. It should be a safety that certain rules have been observed and respected during the harvest, fertilization and irrigation of the grapes.
Today they can be purchased in any market in the world, packages of vegetables, fruits, meats, fish and milk derivatives that have been certified as “kosher” for use by the Jewish community or anyone who likes them. Ω

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