The leviathan seems to be a unique sea creature, which I've always pictured as some sort of sea serpent. This is consistent with Yeshayahu 27:1's description of it as a snake (nachash). An answer to this question suggests that it's a fish (and doesn't address Yeshayahu). We know from the midrash that at the end of days the righteous will feed on it, whatever it is.

One could argue that because the righteous will feed on it, it must be a kosher fish. Or if the leviathan is a serpent, one could argue that when God holds this end-of-days banquet He can declare anything He wants to be permitted, culinarily speaking -- the laws of kashrut as we know them don't apply. (I've no idea if such an argument would be, err, kosher.)

Do any sources say if the leviathan is kosher by the laws of the torah?

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    I've heard that even if it were considered kosher, there are bound to be a group of people that won't trust G-d's kashrut standards :-)
    – DanF
    Commented Feb 18, 2015 at 3:46
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    The assumption that this concept is physically literal is a debated one. Maharal for example holds it is figurative. Commented Feb 18, 2015 at 4:05
  • @DanF sure, somebody's going to stick to the fruit plate. But I meant in general. :-) Commented Feb 18, 2015 at 4:33
  • see: judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/2668/if-a-pig-was-genetically-modified-to-chew-its-cud-would-it-be-kosher. Menachem's answer there quotes an Ohr Hachaim (Vayikrah 11:7) who says that the pig will develop kosher signs in the future. Perhaps the same would apply to the leviathan Commented Feb 18, 2015 at 18:16
  • @DanF Oh Gee...
    – Adám
    Commented Nov 2, 2016 at 15:41

1 Answer 1


The medrash tanchuma on parshas Shmini #7 takes the opinion that at that great feast of Beheimos and Leviason, the mitzvos which until now were only to purify/smelt the people with will no longer apply. The proof is that the Beheimos will not have a proper slaughtering, but will rather be killed by the Liviason. The medrash goes on to prove that Liviason is an abnormal strong creature, capable of killing Beheimos.

But throughout the entire discussion of proving that slaughtering will become obsolete, the medrash does not entertain the idea that Beheimos or Liviason are not kosher.

The Vayikra Rabba in chapter 22 states explicitly that it is kosher.

The Bavli in Chulin 67b says it is a kosher fish. The Maharsha asks would Hashem ever feed his Tzadikim nonkosher fish? He answers that the gemara is clarifying that Liviason is in fact a fish and not some other creature like a bird. The Iyun Yaakov answers this question by pointing to Yalkut on Shmini 535 and on Tehilim siman 146, that in fact in the future Hashem will allow what was not allowed beforehand and a New Torah will be given from Tzion. The Aruch ערך גא says the gemara needed to tell us it was kosher because it is mentioned along with a snake, so as to preclude the assumption that it is not kosher like a snake, we have the drasha in the gemara.

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    I thought I remembered the Yerushalmi says it is nonkosher, but I cant find that now.
    – user6591
    Commented Feb 18, 2015 at 1:49

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