Why do Jews not eat Pork?

Updated : Sep 01, 2019 in Articles

Why do Jews not eat Pork?


Jews are famous throughout history for not
eating pork, as well as other foods and this has made them stand out from many of the civilisations
around them. Even under persecutions, for instance under
the Seleucid empire (Antiochus IV) Jews accepted martyrdom rather than eating pork in public,
since they understood this action as a public renunciation of their faith. So why do the Jews not eat pork and what are
the other laws, well stick around to find out! Jews follow a series of laws known as “Kashrut”
a word which comes from the Hebrew root –(Kaf-Shin-Reish), meaning fit, proper or correct. It is the same root as the more commonly known
word “kosher,” which describes food that meets these standards. Contrary to popular belief, rabbis or other
religious leaders do not “bless” food to make it kosher. There are indeed some blessings and prayers
that some Jews recite over food before eating it, but these have nothing to do with making
the food kosher. Food can be kosher without a rabbi being involved
with it: for instance, the fruit and vegetables from your garden are undoubtedly kosher – unless
covered in bugs! So what foods are not kosher? Well we will take a closer look in another
video, but essentially it is scavenging animals, carnivores, fish which do not have both fins
and scales, meat with blood or meat and milk. The list of forbidden foods is found in the
Torah (or law, it is the first five books of the old testament) and begins with more
obscure delicacies like camel and rock badger before getting to the pig, which is the last
of the mammals to be mentioned. The verse which says pork should not be eaten
is found in Leviticus 11:7 and states “and the swine–although it has true hoofs, with
the hoofs cleft through, it does not chew the cud: it is unclean for you.” Of all the rules of kashrut, the prohibition
against eating pork has perhaps the deepest resonance for Jews. Historically, the refusal to eat pork has
been understood as a symbol of Jewish identity. Even today, many nominal Jews who do not observe
other dietary laws refrain from eating pork. but surprisingly, the pig is one of the lesser
offenders of the standards of kashrut compared to other animals. The Torah teaches that in order to be kosher,
animals must chew their cud and have cleft hoofs. The pig does not chew its cud, but it does
have cleft hoofs — so we might expect that it would be less offensive than animals that
meet neither standard. So why are Jews so against eating pork? Well there are a number of theories:
Richard W. Redding, a professor of anthropology (at the University of Michigan) recently published
a study attempting to decipher the historical origins of this middle eastern trend. He points out that between 5,000 and 2,000BC
domestic animals were common in the fertile crescent and were likely kept on hand for
food. But then, around 1,000 B.C. keeping and eating
of pigs sharply declined. He believes that because Pigs need a lot of
water, making moving hard. Because of this his research shows that people
began to keep chickens instead of pigs. There are a lot of reasons for keeping chickens
instead: for the amount of food eaten and water drunk, chickens produce more food:
chickens require 3,500 litres of water to produce one kilo of meat, pigs require 6,000. secondly, chickens produce eggs, an important
secondary product which pigs do not offer. Third, chickens are much smaller and can thus
be eaten quickly, meaning you don’t have to preserve meat: which was hard in the heat
of the middle east and without fridges! Finally, chickens could be used by nomads
as chickens are small enough to be transported. Redding states this explains why Pigs were
banned in middle eastern religions as: “If the pig had been integral to the subsistence
system in the Middle East, it would not have been prohibited” by religious edicts. A more traditional view is that there were
health benefits to the kosher laws – especially back in ancient times. For example, the laws about butchering animals
are so sanitary that kosher butchers are exempt from a number of regulations. Because of this many modern Jews think that
the laws of kashrut are simply primitive health regulations that have become obsolete with
modern methods of food preparation. But the simple answer to the question of why
the Jews do not eat pork and follow kosher is that the Torah says so. The Torah does not specify any reason for
these laws, and for a Torah-observant, traditional Jew, there is no need for any other reason. It is possible that following the laws was
simply to show obedience to God even though the reason is unclear. Maybe the laws were meant to teach self-control
or maybe they were for the purpose of identity or a lesson in holiness. Whatever the reason for the law, Jews do not
eat pork because the Torah says so.

4 Comments

  • Saying I did a video on why Christians eat pork I thought I should do one on why Jews don't. I did not really go very deep into their other food laws, but I am thinking of doing them in the future. As always thanks for watching!
    If you want to translate the show: http://www.youtube.com/timedtext_cs_panel?c=UCLzELCDHdDfPaJSZ-BJTawA&tab=2

  • The reason the Jewish doesn't eat pig it's in the Torah pig eat ravish it goes to the blood stream it's forbiten.and the Torah that God give to Jewish people.

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