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Avoid eating impure animals?
03-31-2017, 11:29 PM (This post was last modified: 08-16-2017 09:04 AM by Director Michael.)
Post: #1
Question Avoid eating impure animals?
Hello!

Is it alright according to Torah if I avoid to eat "unclean animals" like G'd spoke in Leviticus 11?
Even before Noah was on the Ark G'd spoke about clean and unclean animals, in Genesis 7,2.

I can imagine that trying to avoid these spiritually unclean animals can help to get a better relationship with G'd?

I feel better eating just animals which G'd called clean, is it okay if I do so?

Thank you!
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04-03-2017, 05:51 PM (This post was last modified: 11-15-2017 08:31 AM by Director Michael.)
Post: #2
RE: Avoid eating unlcean animals?
There is a problem here from the outset, in that you are basing your ideas on the Hebrew scriptures, but you are misunderstanding the meaning of what you're quoting. The problem arises because the Hebrew terms do not have any proper translation in any other language. In this context, the word mistranslated as "unclean" is really "tahmeh" in Hebrew. This refers to the spiritual source from which the animal is created. There are some spiritual sources which are off-limits to Jews because of the unique task that G-d assigned to the Jewish people in His covenant with them at Mount Sinai, that they have to be an "am kadosh," which means a [more] "separated nation." G-d also told them they have to be a "momlekhet kohanim," meaning a "kingdom of priests." When they unanimously agreed, G-d gave them 365 prohibitions of things they have to separate from doing, which is more that the 7 Noahide prohibitions that they had up until G-d acquired them as His own servants through bringing them out of slavery in their Exodus from Egypt.

Thus, in regard to all the creatures listed in Leviticus 11 that Jews are forbidden to eat, G-d said to the Jews (to whom the Torah was given): "It is 'tameh' TO YOU," meaning: "it is 'tameh' to you (the Jews) only, but it is not 'tameh' for the Non-Jews." Thus, all of these distinctions of kosher FOOD or not-kosher FOOD do not apply at all for Non-Jews (except for the prohibition of eating meat that was removed from a living animal, which is one of the 7 Noahide commandments).

This is actually clear from G-d's word to Noah when he left the ark, which is the first time that G-d permitted human beings to eat meat. G-d told him (Genesis 9:3), "EVERY moving thing that lives shall be yours to eat; like the green vegetation, I have given you EVERYTHING" (subject to the qualification to avoid eating anything that would be immanently injurious to one's physical health, i.e. it's poisonous, or he's allergic to it).

Therefore, it is not alright to take upon yourself the Jewish commandment to *ritually* separate yourself from eating "tameh" animals, because you would be making a new, ritual commandment for yourself (with no logical, practical benefit) that G-d did not command you, which is equivalent to creating your own new, man-made religion. That is forbidden, for G-d warned in the Torah that one should not add to, or subtract from, the Divine commandments that He gave (7 for Gentiles, and 613 for Jews).

(But if one of the Jewish commandments has a logical, practical or moral benefit for a person or for his society, it is good for him to do it as an upright practice for the sake of that benefit, but not with the idea that he is fulfilling it because it's commanded upon him by G-d. Examples would be giving charity to help poor people, and honoring parents. And G-d will bless the person for choosing to do the "good deed.")

There is a different reason why G-d spoke to Noah before the Flood in Genesis 7:2 about gathering extra pairs of animals and birds that were "tahor," which is MIStranslated as "clean." It means that they are the types of creatures that are not "tameh" (i.e., they are created from a different spiritual source). The reason became clear after the Flood, when Noah brought burnt-offering sacrifices to G-d from all the "tahor" animals and birds. This teaches that when a Gentile brings a burnt-offering sacrifice to G-d, it must not be a "tameh" animal. "Tameh" animals are permitted for Gentiles to eat, but they are not permitted for Gentiles to sacrifice to G-d.

Separate from this, in regard to land mammals and birds, there is a justification, but not a requirement, for a Gentile to voluntarily restrict himself to only eating Jewish-certified kosher meat:

A practical consequence of the Jewish kosher-slaughter method is that there is no possibility that it could be forbidden as "meat from a living animal." It is also a very humane method for slaughtering livestock and poultry. So a Noahide is permitted to choose to eat only kosher-certified meat, if he wishes to go "beyond the letter of the law" in the observance of his commanded prohibition against eating meat that was removed from a living land mammal or bird. (But it is recommended that if he chooses to follow that restriction, he would do so "without a vow," which he needs to state verbally and explicitly. And this reason does not apply at all to other types of creatures, like fish or shellfish, because the Noahide prohibition doesn't apply to them.)

But practically speaking, eating regular non-kosher meat that comes from the large slaughter houses in the United States is not a problem for Noahides. Although the U.S. government regulations don’t require guarding against the specific issue of “meat from a living animal” (which is prohibited for Noahides to knowingly eat, by Torah Law), the regulations and guidelines that are in place make it highly unlikely that it ever happens, since the animals are almost always properly bled-out between stunning and butchering. The animal’s heart stops beating when it is bled-out. Therefore it is very unlikely that any given piece of commercial meat in the grocery store or restaurant was cut from a still-living animal. Even a fully-observant Noahide can therefore go ahead and eat the regular non-kosher meat, because Non-Jews are only held liable for knowingly doing something that has more than a 50% probability that a transgression is being committed. But with major U.S. slaughterhouses, there is only a very small probability of any "meat from a living animal" making it into the commercial meat supply.

The other justification that an individual Gentile may have for not eating a particular type of animal, is if he dislikes the taste, or if it nauseates him, or he's disgusted by it. In regard to any food, a Gentile can choose on any particular day to eat what he enjoys, and not eat what doesn't enjoy, on account of his personal tastes and appetites at that time.
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11-15-2017, 12:52 AM (This post was last modified: 11-15-2017 08:33 AM by Director Michael.)
Post: #3
RE: Avoid eating impure animals?
(04-03-2017 05:51 PM)Director Michael Wrote:  The other justification that an individual Gentile may have for not eating a particular type of animal, is if he dislikes the taste, or if it nauseates him, or he's disgusted by it. In regard to any food, a Gentile can choose on any particular day to eat what he enjoys, and not eat what doesn't enjoy, on account of his personal tastes and appetites at that time.

I really appreciate the clarifications provided above. Especially regarding a Gentile being allowed to voluntarily restrict himself to only eating Jewish-certified kosher meat. Beyond this, I have some further queries that have been gnawing away at me:

Would a Gentile be justified in being disgusted to eat a particular type of animal, just because Hashem has singled the animal out as something to be avoided for Jews?

What I mean by this is that the Gentile would understand that they are not forbidden from eating the animal, only Jews are, but the mere fact that Jews have been advised by G-d to refrain causes a stigma in the mind of the Gentile against eating the animal. In his mind the gentile can not psychologically let go of this stigma being attached to eating it because of a negative implication that has indirectly been inferred. It's not that the Gentile craves eating the animal, and is only holding themselves back from doing so because they mistakenly think they are forbidden to, but the desire for eating it has been taken away by how it has been mentioned in the Torah. Is the solution that the Gentile should try cure themselves of this negative impression or they can continue to avoid those foods because of it? The Gentile would not think anything less of another Noahide for whom such a negative impression/distaste has not risen to the level that they avoid eating.

Secondly, there is scientific research that shows potentially hazardous health effects of eating non-kosher animals e.g mercury other contaminants accumulated in shellfish, trichinosis in pork. Certain websites and articles have specifically been created by Jews & non-Jews to highlight those aspects. If a Gentile finds this research convincing they may assume, perhaps wrongly, that there are secondary reasons (other than the primary spiritual reason) having to do with physical health that could equally apply to Jews & non-Jews, as shown in the research. However, I understand that if they are deciding based on health alone they should only make a decision with regards to this based on an objective evaluation of the scientific evidence. In such manner I understand that they may find a justification to avoid the non-kosher food for health reasons. However, this Gentile should not look negatively upon another Noahide if they are unconvinced by the scientific evidence, or find the pleasure of eating the non-kosher animal outweighs the health concern.

Would a Gentile be misguided in going out of their way to find health reasons to justify not eating non-kosher foods, in particular? Even if the original intention was misguided, if they are convinced they found a risk to health in eating the animal they can choose to avoid eating the animal for health? Would this be a form of hypocrisy though if the Gentile does not apply the same degree of scrutiny and research into the health risks of certain kosher foods, especially if they are not generally keeping a healthy regime by avoiding foods high in fat or sugar? I understand it could all be captured under the prohibition of self-harm 'But your blood of your [own] souls I will demand' Genesis 9:5

Would really appreciate your guidance on this.

Neil
Brisbane, Australia
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11-15-2017, 10:44 AM (This post was last modified: 11-15-2017 10:56 AM by Director Michael.)
Post: #4
RE: Avoid eating impure animals?
(11-15-2017 12:52 AM)Noahide Q Wrote:  
(04-03-2017 05:51 PM)Director Michael Wrote:  The other justification that an individual Gentile may have for not eating a particular type of animal, is if he dislikes the taste, or if it nauseates him, or he's disgusted by it. In regard to any food, a Gentile can choose on any particular day to eat what he enjoys, and not eat what doesn't enjoy, on account of his personal tastes and appetites at that time.

I really appreciate the clarifications provided above. Especially regarding a Gentile being allowed to voluntarily restrict himself to only eating Jewish-certified kosher meat. Beyond this, I have some further queries that have been gnawing away at me:

Would a Gentile be justified in being disgusted to eat a particular type of animal, just because Hashem has singled the animal out as something to be avoided for Jews?

What I mean by this is that the Gentile would understand that they are not forbidden from eating the animal, only Jews are, but the mere fact that Jews have been advised by G-d to refrain causes a stigma in the mind of the Gentile against eating the animal. In his mind the gentile can not psychologically let go of this stigma being attached to eating it because of a negative implication that has indirectly been inferred. It's not that the Gentile craves eating the animal, and is only holding themselves back from doing so because they mistakenly think they are forbidden to, but the desire for eating it has been taken away by how it has been mentioned in the Torah. Is the solution that the Gentile should try cure themselves of this negative impression or they can continue to avoid those foods because of it? The Gentile would not think anything less of another Noahide for whom such a negative impression/distaste has not risen to the level that they avoid eating.

It is a fact that some Gentiles a have natural sensitivity to this issue. A Gentile does not have to afflict himself, to force himself to eat some species of animal which he's permitted to, but which disgusts him for *whatever* reason. Noah received a general *permission* to eat any species of creature, but this was not a directive that he had to eat any particular species of creature. It was also limited by the precept that a person should guard his life and his health (for example, not to eat poisonous species of animals or plants).

This is a good example of the principle that in G-d's Law, there are some precepts in which a person is judged based on his *intention,* and not based on the physical action that was done or not done.
For example, if a Gentile needs to skip the opportunity to eat pork because it gives him a reaction of disgust, for whatever reason, that is permitted (and he should not expect or seek any reward from G-d because he didn't eat pork). Thus in his own mind, he leaves open the possibility that there may be a time in the future when he won't anymore be disgusted by it, in which case he then wouldn't mind eating it.
But if he has resolved not to eat it as a matter of spiritual conviction, he is transgressing by creating for himself a new ritual commandment that is not from G-d.

(11-15-2017 12:52 AM)Noahide Q Wrote:  Secondly, there is scientific research that shows potentially hazardous health effects of eating non-kosher animals e.g mercury other contaminants accumulated in shellfish, trichinosis in pork. Certain websites and articles have specifically been created by Jews & non-Jews to highlight those aspects. If a Gentile finds this research convincing they may assume, perhaps wrongly, that there are secondary reasons (other than the primary spiritual reason) having to do with physical health that could equally apply to Jews & non-Jews, as shown in the research. However, I understand that if they are deciding based on health alone they should only make a decision with regards to this based on an objective evaluation of the scientific evidence. In such manner I understand that they may find a justification to avoid the non-kosher food for health reasons. However, this Gentile should not look negatively upon another Noahide if they are unconvinced by the scientific evidence, or find the pleasure of eating the non-kosher animal outweighs the health concern.

Would a Gentile be misguided in going out of their way to find health reasons to justify not eating non-kosher foods, in particular?

Yes, that is scientifically misguided. "Kosher" does not mean healthy, and "Non-Kosher" does not mean unhealthy. Many things that are kosher are not healthy, and many things that are non-kosher are healthy. A Gentile should judge the healthiness of all foods, kosher or non-kosher, by the same standard. For example, it may be that both kosher and non-kosher sea creatures from one ocean suffer from contamination, and the same kosher and non-kosher species from another ocean do not have any contamination.

Rejecting pork (a non-kosher species) on account of the remote possibility of trichinosis is hard to justify if the person eats chicken (a kosher species) which has a comparatively higher risk of salmonella.

(11-15-2017 12:52 AM)Noahide Q Wrote:  Even if the original intention was misguided, if they are convinced they found a risk to health in eating the animal they can choose to avoid eating the animal for health? Would this be a form of hypocrisy though if the Gentile does not apply the same degree of scrutiny and research into the health risks of certain kosher foods, especially if they are not generally keeping a healthy regime by avoiding foods high in fat or sugar?

I understand it could all be captured under the prohibition of self-harm 'But your blood of your [own] souls I will demand' Genesis 9:5

Would really appreciate your guidance on this.

Neil
Brisbane, Australia

The obvious appearance of hypocrisy is probably an indication that the Gentile is overly scrutinizing a non-kosher species with the objective of covering over his underlying motivation, which is to take upon himself the Jewish ritual commandment (in whole or in part).
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11-15-2017, 11:48 PM
Post: #5
RE: Avoid eating impure animals?
(04-03-2017 05:51 PM)Director Michael Wrote:  For example, if a Gentile needs to skip the opportunity to eat pork because it gives him a reaction of disgust, for whatever reason, that is permitted (and he should not expect or seek any reward from G-d because he didn't eat pork). Thus in his own mind, he leaves open the possibility that there may be a time in the future when he won't anymore be disgusted by it, in which case he then wouldn't mind eating it.
But if he has resolved not to eat it as a matter of spiritual conviction, he is transgressing by creating for himself a new ritual commandment that is not from G-d.

Thank you for the detailed explanation. I understand that a key point is that the Gentile should not expect, or seek, any reward because they did not eat due to this type of disgust. Moreover, a Gentile would actually be misguided to feel disgust towards eating non-kosher just because of the existence of the mitzvah that only applies to Jews. It is hard to see how that would not actually in effect be creating a spiritual conviction for oneself (even when acknowledging the food is not forbidden on the theoretical level) when Kosher is in the realm of the supra-natural related to the spiritual effect on Jewish souls only.

It seems that the Gentile should try to correct/eliminate any sense of disgust based on the mitzvah for Jews. I find it interesting that for many people, the non-kosher foods of shell-fish and pork belly, bacon etc. are considered the most flavoursome delicacies. If one is able to find such pleasure in these foods then that is a blessing that Hashem would expect the Gentile acknowledge and give thanks to Him, without a guilty conscience?

(04-03-2017 05:51 PM)Director Michael Wrote:  Yes, that is scientifically misguided. "Kosher" does not mean healthy, and "Non-Kosher" does not mean unhealthy. Many things that are kosher are not healthy, and many things that are non-kosher are healthy. A Gentile should judge the healthiness of all foods, kosher or non-kosher, by the same standard. For example, it may be that both kosher and non-kosher sea creatures from one ocean suffer from contamination, and the same kosher and non-kosher species from another ocean do not have any contamination.

Rejecting pork (a non-kosher species) on account of the remote possibility of trichinosis is hard to justify if the person eats chicken (a kosher species) which has a comparatively higher risk of salmonella.

Thanks for the clarity on this. Those are really great examples. I understand then that there has to be a total de-linkage between the concepts of 'kosher' and 'health'. It is possible I guess that some Jews have tried to market the 'health' benefits of keeping kosher to encourage other Jews to start/maintain kosher observance to achieve the desired result of the positive effect on the Jewish soul? Some Gentiles may have therefore been confused into seeing a justification to keep kosher on some level due to perceived health benefits. But I see now that the Gentile should judge the healthiness of all foods, kosher or non-kosher, with the same scientific objectivity 'Scientific objectivity is a characteristic of scientific claims, methods and results. It expresses the idea that the claims, methods and results of science are not, or should not be influenced by particular perspectives, value commitments, community bias or personal interests, to name a few relevant factors. Objectivity is often considered as an ideal for scientific inquiry, as a good reason for valuing scientific knowledge, and as the basis of the authority of science in society .

(04-03-2017 05:51 PM)Director Michael Wrote:  The obvious appearance of hypocrisy is probably an indication that the Gentile is overly scrutinizing a non-kosher species with the objective of covering over his underlying motivation, which is to take upon himself the Jewish ritual commandment (in whole or in part).

As you have explained it this topic is a great example of the importance of proper intentions/motivations for Noahides. I think it is beneficial to bring out some of the internal deliberations a Noahide may have on this.

Thanks again
Neil
Brisbane, Australia
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