World Faiths & Religions

Frequently Asked Questions

How did the laws of kosher and non-kosher animals emerge?

In Leviticus 11:3-12, there is an exhaustive list of animals that are permitted and forbidden to be eaten. The permitted animals are mammals with split hooves that chew their cud, fish with scales and fins, and birds which are hatched with feathers and are able to walk soon after being hatched. Why are certain animals permitted and others forbidden? No one knows. It is the endless subject of sermons, papers, and commentaries. Some say our ancestors knew that eating birds of prey could get one sick or that pigs have trichinosis. This is wishful thinking. For the Orthodox community the simple answer is that God commands us to eat certain things but to not eat other things.