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Why did God make all plants, but only some animals, kosher? Sources, please.

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Not all plants are edible. There are some that are poison, or taste terrible, etc. – Gershon Gold Oct 10 '11 at 17:25
@GershonGold, correct, but all are kosher. – msh210 Oct 10 '11 at 17:39
@msh210 What do you mean by "kosher"? I do not think poison is "kosher". Also, can you cite a source that (a) God made (b) all plants and (c) not all animals kosher? The Torah implies otherwise. – WAF Oct 10 '11 at 23:50
@WAF: poison is forbidden, but under the heading of ונשמרתם מאד לנפשותיכם, not of kashrus. (Granted, the former is considered more stringent: חמירא סכנתא מאיסורא, cases involving danger are treated more strictly than ritual prohibitions. Nonetheless, they're two different categories.) As for your quotation from Bereishis - that is addressed to bnei Noach; for us Jews that is qualified by the lists in Vayikra 11 and Devarim 14. – Alex Oct 11 '11 at 2:12
@WAF, Alex addressed your points well, except "(a)", where you seem to be asking for a source for the fact that God made plants. (Are you thinking of hybrids?) But, anyway, I didn't mean in my question that God made (created) the plants, only that he made (deemed) them kosher. I hope this answers your concern, though I fear I may have misunderstood it, in which case please clarify. – msh210 Oct 11 '11 at 2:54

The famous saying "you are what you eat" may explain this. Plants do not tend to have any unruly behavior. However there are many animals that kill other animals and behave - in lack for a better term - animalistic. Hashem does not want us to eat from these animals, in order that it should not make us behave in the way they behave.

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For that matter, too, fishes' kashrus (unlike that of birds and land animals) doesn't depend on their behavior: carnivorous fish, such as tuna, are perfectly kosher. That, too, might be related to the fact that water creatures are so dissimilar to human beings that there is less likelihood of our absorbing their traits along with their flesh. – Alex Oct 10 '11 at 22:48
Does God want us to act like plants? – WAF Oct 10 '11 at 23:55
@WAF: sure, in some ways - כי האדם עץ השדה. But more seriously, Gershon's point is that eating plants isn't going to make us act like them, whereas eating animals (which are more biologically similar to us) may do so. – Alex Oct 11 '11 at 2:14
A relevant klei yakar supporting vegetarians: hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=14020&st=&pgnum=340 – YDK Oct 11 '11 at 4:21
Except doves, all birds are occasional carnivores, and so are cows. And venus fly traps are still kosher. – Adám Dec 22 '14 at 14:56

There are actually many laws that apply to plants, too, to make them "kosher", but they are all connected with/ apply in the Land of Israel. What makes a plant "kosher" is not the specific species of plant (which is what determines the kashrut of something from the animal kingdom), but how and where it was grown, and the laws that apply to it once you want to use it. All of these laws fully apply in the Land of Israel when there is a Temple standing. Some apply (sometimes in a more limited way) at all times in the Land of Israel. And a few (like orlah, challa, chadash according to some opinions) apply outside Israel too. (Some are rabbinic rather than Torah law today.)

  1. Fruit grown on trees that are under three years old are called orlah and are forbidden to be eaten. The fruit of the fourth year must be eaten under conditions (that we don't have now) in Jerusalem or redeemed.
  2. All produce grown in the Land of Israel must have tithes given to the priests and Levites and the poor (truma and trumat maaser, maaser sheni and maaser oni), and these laws still apply today.
  3. There are laws regarding the shemitta (sabbatical) year, and produce grown in a prohibited way during the sabbatical year may also be prohibited. Fruits that grow by themselves have holiness (kedushas shviis) and are subject to particular laws (not to waste them, to use them in the usual way, not to buy and sell them, etc.)
  4. A portion of our dough (challa) is given to the priest (kohen). Since the kohen cannot eat it today (because he cannot become ritually pure), it is separated and burned. But dough that didn't have challa separated is non-kosher.
  5. The "new" grain (chadash) cannot be eaten until the omer offering is harvested on the 2nd night of Pesach (Passover). Today, we must still wait for the 2nd day of Pesach until eating new grain.
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Hello Miriam, welcome to Mi Yodeya, and thanks for your first answer! It is a very nice answer although it doesn't really address the question (which was why only some animals are kosher). Maybe you want to rephrase your answer to say that not all plants are kosher, or show the parallelism between the need to kosher meat and to "kosher" plants. As it stands although correct/complete, it is a bit off vs. the question. Thanks again and I hope you'll look around and find other Q&A of interest and stay learning with us. – mbloch Apr 4 at 12:02
@Welcome Miriam. Your answer is well structured. Kosher animals too need a lot of preparation, shchita, melicha, nikur, not mixed with the milk. But there are species that are irremediably not kosher. You see the nuance? – kouty Apr 4 at 13:12
What about Kilayim? Some of that applies in the Diaspora too – Double AA Apr 4 at 14:00
@kouty - except fish. – Miriam Apr 4 at 14:33
@Miriam You mind that fish need no shechita. Right! – kouty Apr 4 at 14:36

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