Mister Eclectic (howeird) wrote,
Mister Eclectic

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Kosher Rant

Elsewhere (I think it was on lisa_marli's pages) I promised someone a rant about Kashruth - the stuff around keeping kosher. Obligatory jokes:

1. I don't keep kosher. I gave it up for lent
2. I don't keep kosher - I give it away

If you read certain sections of Leviticus in the Bible, you will find some lists of things which God says are edible, and lists of things which are "unclean". There are no reasons given, it's something to be taken on faith.

My rant is not about those very specific rules - as far as I am concerned, if you have faith you follow the rules as they are written. I have no faith, and do not follow these rules, but I can understand those who do.

But then we get to rules which are made by taking Biblical missives to their logical conclusions, well beyond what God was telling us to do. On a daily basis, my pet peeve is the man-made rule to separate milk from meat. Orthodox Jews take this to incredible extremes, saying if you eat something made of dairy which is the size of an olive, you must wait several hours to touch any meat. And vice versa.

There is nothing in the Bible which prohibits having a glass of milk with your chicken sandwich, or making a cheeseburger. But this is deemed not kosher because some rabbis 1500 years ago saw a passage in the Bible and stretched it way out of proportion. The passage prohibits the barbaric practice of some of Israel's neighbors where a calf is sacrificed by boiling it in its mother's milk.

In order to not give the appearance of even thinking of doing this, the rabbis decided Jews should never mix meat and milk in the same meal.


Things get even more stupid around Passover. Again, there are some passages in the Bible which describe how the Jewish slaves in Egypt during the time of the pharaohs had to up and run in order to get out of there while God parted the waters of the Red Sea for them. Or Reed Sea if you want to be archeological about it. Whatever.

One thing it mentions specifically is they didn't have time for bread to rise, so they took along flat bread. This flat bread may very well have had yeast in it - the passage just says there wasn't time for it to rise. As a result, the rabbis decreed that to remember the struggle, Jews must not eat leavened bread during Passover. I'm fine with that, it closely follows the intent of the scripture.

What I'm not fine with is the rabbis have also decreed that anything made with any grain which may ferment when left in water for 18 minutes or more is forbidden. Corn syrup on its own won't ferment, but corn will, so corn syrup is forbidden. Rice is out. Beer is out, even though it's pretty certain Moses' followers had beer.

I'm also in WTF mode about some of the silly rules about keeping the sabbath, and wearing a beanie - but that's another rant for another day.

For those who celebrate it, have a happy Passover. If Elijah shows up, give him my regards. For the rest of you, it's a full moon Sunday, wear garlic and load up on silver bullets.

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