In Vayikra (11:23) it says:

But all winged swarming things, which have four feet, are a detestable thing unto you.

On which Rashi (quoting the Sifra aka Toras Cohanim) says: Go and learn if there was 5 legsit is pure.

How about 6 legsNowadays, most flying insects have 6 legs, so are they also kosher (i.e. they have more than 4 legs)?

  • Also in The RamBam's Misneh Torah (Forbidden Foods 1:22) he brings down simanim to classify what "seems" to be for all flying insects (not just locusts) and which would invalidate all non-locust like flying insects, so he seems to have some reason/mesorah to invalidate 6 "legged" flies and the like, which could be for the same reason as I listed below.
    – warz3
    Apr 23, 2015 at 21:11

2 Answers 2


"Rav D.Z Hoffman raises the difficulty that all insects have six legs, not four. He explains that they have 4 legs that are used for simple walking, while the other two are used for jumping." (From English Artscroll Chumash)

Therefore in the context of the question, the midrash is stating that if they had "5 legs" specifically for walking, (i.e. 7 in total) they would be kosher.

  • "i.e. 7 in total": or six total, including [at least] five for walking, perhaps.
    – msh210
    Apr 26, 2015 at 5:40
  • Is that accurate though? According to Wikipedia, "Houseflies walk with a common gait on horizontal and vertical surfaces with three legs in contact with the surface and three in movement."
    – YSR
    Apr 16 at 3:21

It continues, "up to anything with lots and lots of legs", which Rashi says is a centipede.

The point is that all insects are not-kosher, with the rare exceptions of a few types of locust.

  • 1
    I think that part is talking about non-flying insects
    – warz3
    Apr 19, 2015 at 17:03
  • 1
    "It continues" No. It does not continue thus. You're referencing a verse 19 verses later.
    – Double AA
    Apr 21, 2015 at 17:15

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