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I have heard different theories about Kosher foods, such as

  • They sacrifice animal in a proper way
  • They recite God's name when sacrificing the animal
  • They only eat front limbs of animals. The rear limbs are not kosher.

My question is what is really kosher food that is meat. I am asking this question with respect to animal meat only.

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kind of similar judaism.stackexchange.com/q/20420/759 – Double AA Jan 4 '13 at 0:14
Rodny, welcome to Mi Yodeya, and thanks very much for bringing your question here! I hope you look around and find more that's of use to you. – Isaac Moses Jan 4 '13 at 5:53
When you say "sacrifice" do you mean "slaughter"? – Seth J Jan 4 '13 at 15:13
@SethJ The distinction is only meaningful in English where we distinguish between animal sacrifice and ritual slaughter. In Hebrew they are both called ז.ב.ח. – Double AA Jan 4 '13 at 16:51
@DoubleAA, I don't think that's relevant, considering that Rodny most likely doesn't speak Hebrew and is writing on an English-language website. I'm asking because, if he does mean only the killing method, as we refer to it, then I would edit (or suggest he edit) the language to reflect that. My concern isn't correctness, but clarity in the question. – Seth J Jan 4 '13 at 17:47
up vote 13 down vote accepted

To get Kosher meat takes three main steps: choosing the right animal, killing it in the proper way, and removing non-kosher parts from it. (This is all an oversimplification, of course.)

  • Choosing the right animal

Kosher land mammals are those who chew their cud and have split hooves. Kosher birds are those that aren't one of the ones listed as not kosher in the Bible. Note some avoid species of birds that we don't have a tradition are kosher, lest they be one of the non-kosher ones. Kosher fish have fins and scales. Kosher locusts...well, who wants to eat those anyway? Oh, and the animals can't be terminally ill; for certain species that often have issues in this regard, a post-mortem inspection is performed.

  • Killing it in the proper way

Fish and locusts can be killed in any way. Mammals and birds are killed by slicing the throat with a sharp, perfectly non-serrated knife using a slicing motion not a chopping motion. This is done by Jews who are experts trained in the specifics of the laws of slaughtering, known as Shochtim. A short blessing is recited prior to killing the animal as before all Mitzvot, but it is not an essential part of the process.

  • Removing non-kosher parts from it

There are three parts of an animal which may be non-kosher. In birds and land mammals, the blood is not kosher so it is drained, and further removed by salting the meat to draw out the blood. In land mammals, the sciatic nerves are not kosher. In domesticated land mammals, certain fats in the rear of the animal are not kosher as well. These last two problems can be removed, but it takes a lot of time and effort so in countries with a sizable non-kosher meat market, the back half of domesticated mammals is often just sold away.

For everything else, bon appétit!

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And don't eat it with milk. – Michoel Jan 4 '13 at 0:32
Also, kosher slaughter isn't "sacrificing". Sacrifices (korbanot) are only possible when we have the temple and may or may not result in food. (Some are burnt entirely.) – Monica Cellio Jan 4 '13 at 0:54
"A short blessing is recited prior to killing the animal as before all Mitzvot, but it is not an essential part of the process." How come this is the case? I thought saying God's name was necessary when slaughtering an animal. Is it the same for a sacrifice? – Fixed Point Jan 4 '13 at 8:17
Also, I know that the mixing of meat and dairy is prohibited because one should not cook a child in its mother's milk but what about non-dairy products like soy/almond/coconut milk? Has this issue been brought up in the Jewish community? Any rulings by the religious bodies on this? – Fixed Point Jan 4 '13 at 8:20
@Rodny Indeed it is. The Shochet (slaughterer) must be a believing and practicing Jew. In fact, classically, a way to call someone's belief system heretical was to rule that his slaughtering is invalid. – Double AA Jan 4 '13 at 14:16

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