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I've heard several stories of people who ate something, realized it was non-kosher, and therefore induced vomiting. Is this halachically required? Recommended? Does it accomplish anything? (If not, how should it be viewed?)

If I recall correctly there was a speaker from ... I think the OK; he said there's a story circulating that R' Moshe Feinstein vomited upon realizing he'd eaten non-chalav yisrael milk. The speaker then said that this story is 100% FALSE.

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Even if the story is true, it could be more about a visceral reaction than a deliberate one. –  Isaac Moses Feb 7 '11 at 15:38
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Again, I was told on very good authority that the Rav Moshe story is not true. The other stories I've heard have usually been about ordinary people, not big rabbis. (There's also the difference between spontaneously vomiting as a reaction, and choosing to induce vomiting.) –  Shalom Feb 7 '11 at 16:11
    
I was told on very good authority that the Rav Moshe story is true. (It happened in Telshe Yeshiva in Cleveland. A talmid who witnessed it first hand told me about it.) –  NBZ Feb 6 at 16:03
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3 Answers

While there may not be any further violation of halacha, there are other aspects to consider.

Many commentaries talk about eating non-kosher and the affect it has on the person. This article lists many, but here are several:

  • Ramban (Vayikra 11:13) says that the Torah forbade certain birds because they are cruel and consuming them would put cruelness in our hearts.

  • The Misillat Yesharim (Chapter 11) says that forbidden foods are much worse than other things that are forbidden, because actually enter a persons body and become his flesh.

  • Devarim 8:3 says: "...man does not live by bread alone; rather, by all that proceeds out of the mouth of G-d does man live." In Kabbalah, it is explained that food sustains us because of the spiritual G-dly spark in the food, which nourishes our soul. (See here for more detail).

    In Tanya (Chapter 7), the Alter Rebbe of Lubavitch explains that when we eat food and use the energy it gives us to serve G-d, we elevate that spark of G-dliness that was in the food, thereby elevating the animal the spark was originally clothed in. This is only the case with Kosher animals, which can be elevated. The spark of G-dliness that gives life to the Non-Kosher animals is tied up in impurity, and cannot be elevated by us (except with extreme levels of Teshuva).

    Elsewhere (I have to find a source) it is explained that not only can the impure animal not be elevated, but even the service of G-d that we do with the energy our body received from non-kosher food is stuck in the forces of impurity and cannot be elevated. (Fruit of the poisonous tree, if you will.)

If so, one should consider not just whether halacha requires you to purge your system of the food, but also consider what leaving the food in your system will do to you.

As always CYLM (Consult your local Mashpia - Spiritual Adviser).

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...or mashgiach (in y'shivos outside Chabad). –  msh210 Jul 17 '12 at 19:41
    
    
@DovF: Nice. I deliberately did not bring any of the sources that discuss Timtum Halev because it could be argued that it is the actual act of eating the forbidden food that causes the Timtum, and not the assimilation into the body. (The same could be said about the Ramban brought in my answer). –  Menachem Jul 17 '12 at 20:07
    
@Menachem I would agree with that. –  Dov F Jul 17 '12 at 22:17
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A major condition in food being non-kosher is its flavor. If it is dry as a bone and cannot impart any flavor it cannot be non-kosher (YD 99 Taz 1 et al). If it is revolting or tastes bad or even just gives a bad flavor to the mixture it is added to (even though by itself it tasted good), it is similarly kosher (YD 103). These and other rulings suggest that the primary factor of the prohibition against the consumption of non-kosher items is not the fact that it physically passes through the person's mouth and digestive tract, but rather the taste one feels while it does so. Once the taste is gone, the food in the person's stomach is of no Halachic relevance. In fact, on the contrary, if one were to cut open the person's stomach and remove whatever non-kosher food was left, it would surely be permitted for consumption at that point (ignoring for a moment a possibly applicable prohibition against doing disgusting things), because of how revolting it is.

Therefore IMO it does not make sense to induce vomiting after consuming non-kosher food, because right now the food in the person's system is not there in violation of any prohibition.

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A possible application? –  Double AA Jun 24 '12 at 3:15
    
Heh heh, you caught that. I guess I was leaving room for some people who might find it normal, or such a community if that's necessary. –  Dov F Jun 24 '12 at 3:16
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I don't have sources, but logically:

On a purely halachic level, the prohibition is "eating" and your eating is done. It is a m'uvas lo yuchal liskon (Kohelet 1:15).

One can argue that as long as the treif is in the system, there remains a kabbalistic issue of timtum halev, that the treif spiritually affects the body. However, this is not clear since the forbidden act is over, perhaps whatever effects the treif would have are in the proverbial rear-view mirror.

Also, in a case of self induced vomiting, one must balance the non-halachic issues with Kavod haAdam.

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When you eat something, it becomes part of your flesh and blood. It is not just that you have the treif in your digestive tract, but that it becomes part of you and dulls your spiritual sensitivity. It is possible that the effect of non-kosher food never really leaves you. see ok.org/Content.asp?ID=22 and askmoses.com/en/article/205,88501/… –  Menachem Jun 3 '11 at 20:42
    
YDK, you've taught me something new. I've never heard of the term "Kavod haAadam." I've often encountered the term kavod ha-b'riyot, but never kavod ha-adam. Are these two different concepts? If so, why would self-induced vomiting NOT be covered under the rubrik of kavod ha-b'riyot and therefore require a seperate category of kavod ha-adam? –  Shemmy Apr 2 '12 at 2:34
    
@Shemmy, same thing. Kavod habrios is the talmudic reference. Kavod haadam is a more modern term. Both mean human dignity. –  YDK Apr 2 '12 at 14:24
    
@Menachem, while I alluded to such an idea (followed by a suggestion that that is nevertheless inconsequential), I don't know what the source for this idea is. You quote 2 "sources", but askmoses claims this idea as a "fact" without a source ("The fact is that any food or drink we consume almost immediately becomes part of our flesh and blood.") –  YDK Apr 2 '12 at 14:37
    
@Menachem OK bases this idea on an Ari which only says (based on OK's text) that physical matter has spiritual effects that in turn sustain the world. I don't know that the Ari would apply this to kosher like the OK. ("The Divine energy in the food is thus the actual source of its ability to sustain and nourish the body"). I would appreciate if you could find a significant source for this widely quoted "dictum". –  YDK Apr 2 '12 at 14:42
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