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Re: dietary restrictions

Posted by ayrity on December 3, 2002, at 1:00:51

In reply to Re: dietary restrictions coral, posted by NikkiT2 on December 2, 2002, at 8:52:29

Dinah's comments are right on-target. (Yes, I'm Jewish)

There are many seemingly burdensome and detailed rituals in Jewish religious obsevance. As Dinah wrote, the purpose of these is to sanctify all of life's activities and make them special and holy. If you search hard enough, in Judaism there is a blessing for just about everything you can imagine. This is the reason for the continuance of these obsevances, even though the original reasons (i.e. hygienic reasons for some dietary restrictions) have long since become obsolete. Another reason for these observences may have been to maintain and preserve the Jewish community from assimilation- until recently, Jews had to live close together as a community in the same areas to obtain kosher meat, be in walking distance from synagogue (driving is prohibited on the Sabbath), etc.

Some dietary restrictions have symbolic significance. A common practice among pagans in bibilical times was the boiling of lamb in milk; so as to separate Jews symbolically from "non-believers" the mixing of milk and meat was prohibited. Other restrictions have no logical explanation. Health reasons may or may not have played a role in the banning of swine as food, but this does not necessarily explain the prohibition against shellfish, fish without scales (eels) or non-ruminant quadripeds, etc. The Torah does not explain why these foods are banned, only that it is forbidden to eat them. The simplest explanation is that these restrictions are simply G-d's will and a means to an end- a way to sanctify life and provide a routine and ritual to everyday events in order to set them apart and remind one of the holiness of all of life's events, from the little moments to the big ones.

I'm no expert but I hope this helps.


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