I'm not Jewish so please be patient with me :)

I've been seeing a lot of news about an upcoming cicada emergence, including talk of how delicious they are, and it got me wondering if they are kosher or not.

I've seen a few articles talking about locusts being kosher in the context of a cicada emergence, but nothing explicitly stating that cicadas are kosher themselves.

Is there any official teaching on this, or a generally accepted position?


2 Answers 2


Good question, but no. Leviticus 11:22 allows only four species of locust. No other insects are kosher. Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan (who was also a scientist) translated them as follows:

"the red locust, yellow locust, spotted gray locust, and white locust."

He noted: Some sources (King James; JPS) translate chargol as cricket, but this is incorrect, because the cricket is wingless, and the Talmud clearly states that all permitted locusts have wings that cover the body (Chullin 59a).

The murky territory is how certain we can be that we've got those translations right, and thus many don't eat any locusts at all. Rabbi Dr. Natan Slifkin feels quite confident about Scistocerca gregaria, and maybe Locusta migratoria, as being included in those four species. Many Jews of European ancestry don't eat any at all, to play it safe.

But no one would claim cicadas are one of those four kosher species.


Cicadas are not kosher, no one eats them. The Torah permits some species of Grasshoppers but many do not eat them anymore.

וּבַחֲגָבִים, כֹּל שֶׁיֶּשׁ לוֹ אַרְבַּע רַגְלַיִם, וְאַרְבַּע כְּנָפַיִם, וְקַרְסֻלַּיִם, וּכְנָפָיו חוֹפִין אֶת רֻבּוֹ. רַבִּי יוֹסֵי אוֹמֵר, וּשְׁמוֹ חָגָב. וּבַדָּגִים, כֹּל שֶׁיֶּשׁ לוֹ סְנַפִּיר וְקַשְׂקָשֶׂת. רַבִּי יְהוּדָה אוֹמֵר, שְׁנֵי קַשְׂקַשִּׂין וּסְנַפִּיר אֶחָד. וְאֵלּוּ הֵן קַשְׂקַשִּׂין, הַקְּבוּעִין בּוֹ. וּסְנַפִּירִין, הַפּוֹרֵחַ בָּהֶן:

"And with regard to grasshoppers, whose signs were also not stated in the Torah, the Sages stated: Any grasshopper that has four legs, and four wings, and two additional jumping legs, and whose wings cover most of its body, is kosher. Rabbi Yosei says: And this applies only if the name of its species is grasshopper."

Since the Torah states that there are 800 non-kosher species of grasshopper and only 8 species that are kosher, we are no longer able to tell which species are kosher and which aren't. As far as I know no one eats cicadas as part of the 8 species that are kosher.


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