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Are animal crackers that depict animals such as swine, lions, and camels treif?

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Welcome to mi.yodeya! Thanks for the question and for registering! Please click here (mi.yodeya.com/users/edit/406) and give yourself a name! – Isaac Moses May 8 '11 at 15:01
Speaking of Animal Crackers, I once ate an elephant under strict rabbinical supervision. Why those Rabbis were in my house that night, I'll never know! – YDK May 9 '11 at 2:17
Similar: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/30648 – msh210 Aug 19 '13 at 23:50
up vote 20 down vote accepted

Not because of its shape.

The laws of kashrus are concerned (in the case of cookies) with the ingredients and processing of the food. The shape is [literally] immaterial to this set of concerns and therefore does not affect the status of the cookie as edible according to Jewish law or not.

Also notable is the fact that the term "treif(a)" to refer to anything other than an animal whose life expectancy due to a wound is shorter than 12 months is somewhat of a misnomer.

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It may be a misnomer in hebrew, but it's the common usage, a usage that's probably inherited from yiddish. – Chanoch May 8 '11 at 15:40
@Chanoch - No offense, but in this instance doesn't "inherited from Yiddish" just mean misborrowed from Hebrew? – WAF May 8 '11 at 16:14
@PeterOfTheCorn - Yes, that is correct. The shape of the food is not what makes it (un)_kosher, but the ingredients and processing. – Moshe May 10 '11 at 20:37
Daniel ben Noach, yes indeed; you'll in fact find plenty of chocolate rabbits with kosher signs on them, such as OU-D (as you'd find on almost any Hershey's chocolate anyhow, including their Halloween candy). There may be separate issues if you chose to use that rabbi to observe a non-Jewish holiday, but from a strict kosher perspective, shape is irrelevant. – Shalom May 11 '11 at 2:43
@Shalom typo: rabbi > rabbit (an interesting typo in the circumstances). – TRiG May 31 '11 at 17:33

Even food that is made to resemble non-kosher food can be kosher; see, for example, the hechshers on fake bacon bits, fake crab, Morningstar Farms fake sausage, etc. If these foods are still kosher, how much the more so for animal crackers which are clearly not actual animals?

(For reasons of marit ayin (giving the wrong impression), however, you should be careful in how you serve the convincing fakes.)

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Technically, shape does not determine kashrus. An lion shaped animal cracker is not a lion, just some wheat in the shape of a lion (it's like saying that one who eats cookies in the shape of a person is commiting cannibalism).

However, according to Kabbalah, non-kosher animals come from the three impure klippos (shells). Therefore, The Lubavitcher Rebbe and here (a long interview on this subject is also here) made a campaign against having children seeing pictures of not-kosher animals as they are growing up. Therefore, perhaps one should avoid giving children such cookies, not because of kashrus.

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Although the confection itself might be Kosher, I would not drink it with milk lest I make light of a mitzvah or diminish the importance of its underlying ethical precept.

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yonkeltron, your logic is backward. Firstly, not eating milk and meat at the same meal is a rabbinical restriction protecting us from cooking the 2 together. We don't extend those prohibitions to areas that don't fit the concept. Secondly, the sages never restricted eating impure animals and milk together since the animal is biblically restricted anyway. If you have a personal preference for over-restricting so that you don't make light of mitzvos, don't eat the cracker! – YDK May 11 '11 at 15:45
Though you may disagree with me, my logic in intact. Kashrut is in fact a mitzvah d'oraisa though much implementation is d'rabbanan. I hold with the midrash tankhuma (vayishlakh) when it indicates "The heart of Judaism is ethics" a principle which, combined with the philosophical stance of Rambam, confirms that every mitzvah is an embodiment of an ethical/moral precept. Given opportunities to employ our ethics, do we not have an obligation to take advantage of chances to honor a mitzvah? However, glad to see that within an hour of joining here, different opinions are rewarded with downvotes. – yonkeltron May 11 '11 at 19:51
How do you honor a mitzvah and thereby employ a higher ethical standard without identifying what that ethical conduct is before making applications. Your applications would go against this Midrash Tanchuma in which Hashem emphasizes allowances which are similar to restrictions: hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=14123&st=&pgnum=306 – YDK May 12 '11 at 18:14
I didn't down-vote you because I don't agree, I did so because your answer doesn't align with classic Jewish thought and needs a well grounded source. – YDK May 12 '11 at 18:27
Yonkeltron, I didn't mean to insult you, just drag you into a healthy debate. I appologize. While this sight weighs heavily to the side of traditional Judaism, it is far from close minded. However, a poster is expected to bring sources when his answer may be controversial. – YDK May 16 '11 at 16:25

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