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

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    – Isaac Moses
    May 8, 2011 at 15:01
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    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, 2011 at 2:17
  • Similar: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/30648
    – msh210
    Aug 19, 2013 at 23:50

4 Answers 4


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, 2011 at 15:40
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    @Chanoch - No offense, but in this instance doesn't "inherited from Yiddish" just mean misborrowed from Hebrew?
    – WAF
    May 8, 2011 at 16:14
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    @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, 2011 at 20:37
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    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, 2011 at 2:43
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    @Shalom typo: rabbi > rabbit (an interesting typo in the circumstances).
    – TRiG
    May 31, 2011 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.)

  • Would we have to leave the packaging on the table when eating what appears to be non-kosher food (a la leaving fish scales in fish blood)?
    – rosends
    Aug 13, 2019 at 15:16
  • @rosends I've been at meals where the fake bacon bits were on the otherwise-formal table in their original packaging. (Also margarine at meat meals.) I don't think anybody's going to be confused by animal crackers. :-) Aug 13, 2019 at 15:42

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.

  • AFAIK it's not only the Lubavitcher Rebbe. Chasidish children generally don't get non-kosher animal toys (may vary by chassidus and family), although they are allowed if made to be defective, i.e. by cutting off an ear
    – SAH
    Aug 3, 2017 at 17:18

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, 2011 at 15:45
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    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, 2011 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, 2011 at 18:14
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    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, 2011 at 18:27
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    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, 2011 at 16:25

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