The recent snow storm got me thinking about this. So are you allowed to eat snow? What about icicles?


3 Answers 3


I wish that I could locate a definitive source to answer your question, but, in a way, the answer seems a rather obvious "yes it is kosher. My deduction:

Almost all drinking water occurs "naturally". If you or anyone else has hiked into a forest or anywhere that has a spring, esp. in the beginning of the Spring season, that water originated from snow that melted and seeped into the ground or flowed into a stream or river. Along the way, who knows what else may have gone into that stream - traces of animal feces, microorganisms (amoeba, hydra, etc.), perhaps traces of non-kosher pork chops from a camper's barbecue next to a stream somewhere. People either drink from the stream directly, or if buying bottled water, they're drinking that.

If you're wondering why does bottled water have a heksher, I asked someone from the OU a while ago and he explained that it has to do with the processing plant which may process other non-kosher products in the same plant. But spring water itself needs no heksher.

If you drink tap water, there's no heksher on that. (Yes, I know that there have been attempts to get one on NYC tap water, but so far, those efforts failed.)

I'm trying to make a "kal vachomer" in a way. If you're essentially drinking melted snow without a heksher, I think that whole unmelted snow doesn't need one. Granted, I don't recommend eating "dirty" snow from the street and certainly not from the road. Personally, the concern with such dirty snow is not its heksher but far worse - I don't recommend drinking a slush mix of gasoline and calcium chloride.

  • 6
    אל תאכל שלג צהוב as they say.
    – Double AA
    Jan 28, 2015 at 1:07
  • 1
    @DoubleAA - I don't know who says that, but, yes, yellow snow is probably not kosher except for the one who made it yellow.
    – DanF
    Jan 28, 2015 at 1:14
  • @DanF I think it was Frank Zappa who popularized that phrase, but in English, not Hebrew.
    – Mike
    Jan 28, 2015 at 3:08
  • @DanF the one who made it yellow is allowed to drink / eat it ?
    – Shababnik
    Feb 18 at 6:32

There is textual rabbinic evidence for the consumption of snow, and therefore its permissibility.

Eikhah 4:7

זכו נזיריה משלג צחו מחלב אדמו עצם מפנינים ספיר גזרתם

Her Nazirites were purer than snow, whiter than milk; their appearance was ruddier than gems, their form, a sapphire

Eikhah Rabbah 4:10 writes:

זכו נזיריה משלג אלו שהיו שותין את השלג

Her Nazirites were purer than snow for they would consume snow.

The Meshekh Hokhmah explains:

מדרש זכו נזיריה משלג אלו שהיו שותין את השלג. פירוש שהיו נשמרין לאכול על טהרת תרומה טהרת הקודש... והשלג אינו מקבל טומאה שאינו אוכל ולא משקה כמפורש פ' כל היד (נדה י"ז ע"א), לכן שתו השלג.

The Midrash stating "Her Nazirites were purer than snow for they would consume snow" the explanation for this is that they were careful in their consumption 'al taharath terumah taharath ha-qodesh... and impurity does not devolve upon snow, since it is neither food nor drink as is explained in Pereq Kol ha-Yad (Niddah 17a), accordingly they would consume the snow.

See also H. Tumath Okhalin 1:22

From the fact that a Nazir, whose diet is even more restricted than most, we see that consuming snow is not only permissible but under certain halakhic circumstances may even be preferred.


Just to add a source to the excellent answers above: Iyov 9:30 seems to make the point that snow is kosher, and especially pure:

‘Even if I bathed in liquid snow, and were pure down to my hands, You would plunge me into the pit until even my clothes detested me.’ (Koren translation).

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