Parshat Shemini Leviticus 9:1--11:47

Now let's talk about the birdies!  This one's easy. Does it eat other animals? No, then you can eat it! Like: Chickens and turkeys and hens.  What can't you eat? Well, eagles, falcons, hawks, ravens, seagulls, vultures, storks, bats, and pelicans.

Last category? Bugs. Yup, bugs. Gross. Though a few are allowed, most bugs are forbidden, and since we aren't positive which are acceptable, we don't eat bugs. That means you have to super wash all fruits and veggies and grains. Did you know there are bug pieces in your food? Not kidding! This year, for instance, there was no raspberry jelly for Pesach. Why? Bug infestation in the raspberries and the rabbis couldn't be sure the berries were bug free. I always soak my strawberries in water with a touch of dish soap to pull out the little green worms that get into strawberries sometimes. And we soak lettuce in a touch of vinegar.

A cocoon found among barleycorns in a commercially available bag of barley. Foods such as seeds, nuts, and vegetables need to be checked to avoid eating insects.

As for the other animals, not covered here... if it crawls on the ground, don't eat it. No snakes, mice, lizards, crocodiles, etc...

For more on kosher animals, click here. So there we go, basics of kosher animals. This is the basis for kashrut. Now things get more complicated when you talk about the slaughter and preparation of the animals, but we will leave it here for today!

Parshat Shemini from

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Talia Davis is the daughter, granddaughter, and great-granddaughter of rabbis. She directs the Jewish Portal at Patheos and manages the site's online community.

Image Credits:

1.) by James Tissot 1896-1900 via Wikipedia CC
2.) by James Tissot c. 1896-1902 via Wikimedia CC
3.) by DRosenbach via Wikimedia CC
4.) by Wpopp via Wikimedia CC
5.) by DRosenbach via Wikimedia CC

4/6/2010 4:00:00 AM
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    About Alonzo L. Gaskill
    Alonzo L. Gaskill is an author, editor, theologian, lecturer, and professor of World Religions. He holds degrees in philosophy, theology, and biblical studies. He has authored more than two-dozen books and numerous articles on various aspects of religion; with topics ranging from world religions and interfaith dialogue, to scriptural commentaries, texts on symbolism, sacred space, and ritual, and even devotional literature.