Keeping a Kosher Home: Or, Keeping a Biblically Clean Home
What does the word kosher mean?
Kosher : Encyclopedia: In Judaism the fitness of an object for ritual purposes. Though generally applied to foods that meet the requirements of the dietary laws (kashrus), kosher is also used to describe, for instance, such objects as a Torah scroll, water for ritual bathing (mikvah), and the ritual ram’s horn (Shofar). When applied to food, kosher is the opposite of terefah (forbidden) when applied to other things, it is the opposite of pasul (unfit).
What does Kashruth or kashrus mean: World English Dictionary: The condition of being fit for ritual use in general
The system of dietary laws which require ritual slaughter, the removal of excess blood from meat and the complete separation of milk and meat and prohibit such foods as pork and shellfish.
Literally: appropriateness, fitness.
As you can see, the traditions of Judaism have crept into the definitions of what makes food acceptable. We will just stick with the Torah laws found in Leviticus and Deut. We call it kosher just because most people are familiar with the term. We do not include the Talmudic kosher laws found only in the Talmud which was written between 200-500CE.
There was a time when all food preparations were done in the family's own kitchen. Back then, it was obvious that pig's feet were not kosher, and ice cream was. In the past few decades, however, there has been a revolution in the way we eat. Almost 90 percent of our food is now processed before reaching our kitchens.
The problem that many encounter, when they decide to start eating kosher, or even if they have been eating kosher for a number of years, is the many different ingredients that are listed on food products. It would almost require a person to have a degree in chemistry, to know the origin of most of those listed ingredients and the ingredients in a product can change periodically as companies strive to cut costs for the sake of profit. People who decide to keep kosher, after living a life as a “quote un quote” gentile, often feel that it is difficult. Actually, keeping kosher is not very difficult in and of itself; what makes it difficult to keep kosher is the fact that the rest of the world does not do so. One quarter we do get help from is the vegetarian market. They magnify our voice so to speak in the arena of ingredients that tend to fall on the kosher side.
What about all the other products we bring into our homes? It is much easier to keep a kosher home when we stick with single ingredient cleaners, such as baking soda, lemon juice, vinegar and salt. If we are bringing in other products, it is best to do a google or Wiki search for the origination of the ingredients in those products.
When we purchase any food in a grocery store, we do not know who is involved in its production, what their religious beliefs are or when they harvested the items included in it. We are almost to the point where we have no idea what is in it, including cells from other animals, organisms, (GMO), etc. I am sure you are all aware of the nightmare ingredients in some GMO foods now, which include, Soybeans, Cottonseed, Corn, Alfalfa, Hawaiian Papaya, Tomatoes, Rapeseed (Canola), Sugar Cane, Sugar Beet, Rice, Squash (Zucchini) and Sweet Peppers.
The following is from Wikipedia:
Genetically modified foods (or GM foods) are foods derived from genetically modified organisms. Genetically modified organisms have had specific changes introduced into their DNA by genetic engineering techniques. These techniques are much more precise than mutagenesis (mutation breeding) where an organism is exposed to radiation or chemicals to create a non-specific but stable change. Other techniques by which humans modify food organisms include selective breeding; plant breeding, and animal breeding, and somaclonal variation.
GM foods were first put on the market in the early 1990s. Typically, genetically modified foods are transgenic plant products: soybean, corn, canola, and cotton seed oil. Animal products have also been developed, although as of July 2010 none are currently on the market. In 2006 a pig was controversially engineered to produce omega-3 fatty acids through the expression of a roundworm gene. Researchers have also developed a genetically-modified breed of pigs that are able to absorb plant phosphorus more efficiently, and as a consequence the phosphorus content of their manure is reduced by as much as 60%.
Another area of recent concern has been the discussion of whether or not Torah observant people should purchase and eat things that are Halal. Halal means lawful or legal and is a term designating any object or an action which is permissible to use or engage in, according to Islamic law. The term is used to designate food seen as permissible according to Islamic law (Sharia). The opposite of this word is haraam. To discuss whether we should purchase and eat anything marked as Halal or perhaps dedicated to Buddah at a Chinese restaurant or any thing of this nature, we turn to the scriptures:
Please turn to 1 Corinthians chapter 8.
1 Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth.
2 And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know.
3 But if any man love Yahweh, the same is known of him.
4 As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other Elohim but one.
5 For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,)
6 But to us there is but one Elohim, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Messiah, Yahshua, by whom are all things, and we by him.
7 Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge: for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled.
8 But meat commendeth us not to Yahweh: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse.
9 But take heed lest by any means this liberty of your's become a stumblingblock to them that are weak.
10 For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol's temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols;
11 And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Yahshua died?
12 But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Yahshua.
13 Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.
Now, to me, this passage is saying, that if people know you worship Yahweh and accept the sacrifice of Yahshua, and they know you do not sacrifice to idols, yet they see you freely eating meat sacrificed to an idol because you know there are none - that a brother could misinterpret from that situation that it is ok to keep ones idols and sacrifice to them and eat the meat.
Here is another passage: 1 Corinthians 10: 27 If any of them that believe not bid you to a feast, and ye be disposed to go; whatsoever is set before you, eat, asking no question for conscience sake.
28But if any man say unto you, this is offered in sacrifice unto idols, eat not for his sake that shewed it, and for conscience sake: for the earth is the Yahweh's, and the fulness thereof:
29Conscience, I say, not thine own, but of the other: for why is my liberty judged of another man's conscience?
30For if I by grace be a partaker, why am I evil spoken of for that for which I give thanks?
31Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of Yahweh.
32Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the Assembly of Yahweh:
33Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.
Here again, we have Shaul telling us that if we eat at another’s house, we don’t have to insult them by asking if the meat was Halal or dedicated to Buddha (As long, of course, as it is a permissible meat to eat according to Torah!- we would never eat swine whether it was dedicated to Yahweh, Buddha or No One!).
So, if we are shopping in a store and we pick up a kosher product according to Torah, or we are in a restaurant and we order something kosher, Shaul is saying that it doesn’t matter if the thing was dedicated to a non existent idol. On the other hand, if you are at someone’s house and they make a point to tell you that the meat was dedicated to allah, then, Shaul’s advice to us is to refuse the meat, so that you do not confuse the person about what you believe! If you then eat the meat, he may think that you have sympathies that lie in the direction of believing in allah.
As we approach the Tribulation, it seems that it is going to get harder and harder to eat an acceptable diet, especially if we only continue to buy things from the corporately owned supermarkets. In our family we are planting a garden and buying more and more plants that will make us as self sufficient as we can be within our financial and physical limitations. We have heeded Yahweh’s instructions to store up food for the Sabbatical years and that is a way of life for us now. We also have a video that shows how to package food in mylar bags, add oxygen absorbers, seal the bags with heat and store in 5 gallon buckets with gaskets. There is also a man who sells barrels on Rte. 104 in Liverpool. You can also buy large quantities of grain from area feed mills. You will probably want to stock up on things that are being rapidly destroyed like rice due to the Mississippi flooding and of course Fukushima before that. Although we can not find a specific verse specifying that radiation is not kosher, unless we point to the wormwood verse, we can use our Yahweh given intelligence to understand that ingesting radiation is not good for our “Temples” so to speak. In the news we read that radioactive water was dumped into the Mississippi River by accident from the Grand Gulf Nuclear Plant in Mississippi. (See article). We are watching the fallout prediction maps for Fukushima and in order to avoid the bulk of the radiation, we are drinking milks that are somewhat protected from fall out in the almond and the coconut, which both have shells as a protection. When planting our garden, we have put off planting broad leaf vegetables such as spinach, which absorb radioactive rain. Root vegetables and narrow leaf vegetables do not get as much exposure. The radiation goes down through the dirt and is not absorbed as much by the plant. It goes without saying that we rely on Yahweh to protect us after we have obeyed everything we can in his Torah, such as the Sabbatical year injunctions to store up food, which was not contaminated, and doing our part to be as self sufficient as possible, as we read in 1st Thess. 4:11-12 And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you; 12 That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing. (Quiet is number 2270 and means refrain form meddlesome ness-which means to officiously intrusive which is to involve yourself in something in which you are not invited to be involved in.)
If we take this advice and are being diligent now, we will be able to help many and to continue to share the Good News with any who are seeking it and continue on with the Great Commission.