Many people fail to realise that dietary laws actually do exist in our society. In many religions there are great restrictions and guidelines that must be followed when it comes to food selection which dates back to the biblical era. Kashrut (the Jewish dietary laws) is a perfect example of these laws. There are however other issues that affect our choice in food including our moral and ethical values, health reasons, self discipline and of course social reasons.
What affect do dietary laws have on the food selection and consumption of Jews?
Definition of Terms
Affect- to act on or influence.
Dietary Laws- Laws (usually religious) that control and persuade a certain religion or race on their choice of food.
Selection- a choice
Consumption- the act of consuming
Consume- to use or absorb all of something
Jew- a person of Judaic race or religion
1. On Friday 5th February I searched the Internet for information on “Jewish Dietary Laws”.
2. On Saturday 6th February I searched the Internet for information on “Kashrut”.
3. On Monday 8th February I searched the Internet for information on “religion”.
4. On Thursday 11th February I searched the Internet for information
5. On Saturday 13th February I read through various Encyclopedias and dictionaries for meanings of words and to look up Judaism.
6.On Sunday 14th February I searched the Internet for information on Religious Practices and Beliefs and also on Kosher Restaurants.
Kashrut is the Dietary Laws of the Jewish. These laws come from the bible and have been elaborated on over the years. For those observant Jews, Kashrut controls the selection, consumption and preparation of all food.
When most people eat, it is an instinctive thing. Rarely do you think about it when you grab something to eat. Jews however who obey the Kashrut laws make regular choices about the food that they eat. Many believe that these Dietary Laws make you less instinctive because you are constantly contemplating everything that you do and therefore go through life as a more observant person.
Those practicing Judaism are allowed to eat meat as long as the animal has cloven hooves and chews its cud. This does not include pigs of course, rabbits, dogs, cats, horses and whales. The laws however allow them to eat lamb, beef, venison, mutton, goat, turkey, chicken and doves. The reason these animals are eaten is partly because of their symbolism. Animals with split hooves are seen as tranquil and domesticated with no natural weapons and these are the characteristics that the Jewish wishes to absorb when they eat. They refuse to eat scavengers, carnivores or birds of prey because they do not admire these characteristics. The Jewish Dietary Laws define food as either “kosher” (right, proper, fit) or “trefah” (torn, unclean, forbidden) . I believe that these would be the spiritual influences behind the Jew’s choice of food for they believe that they will absorb the animals good characteristics once they have
eaten the animal.
Milk dishes must also be cooked and eaten separately to meat dishes. It is not known why this is, but it states in the bible several times ” a kid may not be cooked in his mothers milk” It is believed that this is the reason why Hebrews did not participate in pagan rituals of animal sacrifice. Between a milk meal (a meal containing dairy products) and a meat meal a person MUST either rinse out their mouth or eat a morsel of bread. There is no waiting period for this but if the meat was consumed first then a person must wait at least three hours before consuming a meal containing milk.
In most homes there are two sets of utensils and dishes, one for milk meals and the other for meat. These are used, stored and cleaned separately as is the table linen as the bible says.
At any Jewish wedding alcohol has always been popular, traditionally being
a glass of wine or a glass of schnapps. The glass raised today however seems to be entirely different to that of the past. Now instead of simply wine and schnapps at weddings there are full bars with every type of alcohol imaginable. This would be a social reason that has expanded over the centuries influencing the Jewish on their choice of alcohol.
*Kashrus on the rocks
Rabbi Tzri Rosen
Vol. XVIII, No. 2, Summer 98
* Kashruth- An interpretation for the 20th century
National Jewish Outreach program
Last updated January 1999
* Glossary of terms related to Judaism
*Heinemann Australian Dictionary
Octopus publishing group Pty Ltd
Self-Discipline is also a great advantage of Kosher. Those following the Dietary Laws must have self-discipline to control themselves when it comes to food selection. The Dietary Law among other things restricts a person’s consumption of lollies and chocolates because the majority of confectionary are non-kosher products. I believe that it would also teach children greater self-discipline. If, for example, a mother and her child were shopping and the child asked for a lolly and the mother simply said to him ” you aren’t allowed to eat that because it’s not a kosher product” the child is unlikely to refute what his mother has said when he knows that it is his religion and he has grown up with those rules his whole life.
The main reason I think the Jewish are influenced by Dietary Laws is because of their religion and their beliefs. There are many advantages for those following a “kosher” diet including the enhancement of ones health, and self-discipline and also the development of their moral and ethical values. Social activities may play a slight role in a Jewish person’s choice of foods but I believe that their spiritual well being comes first and is the main influence on their selection of food.
Validity of data-
I believe that my data may not be accurate for the sole reason that it is all secondary information.