I am Sephardi, and being adventurous in the kitchen I occasionally like to prepare non-standard organs: lungs, hearts, spleens, etc.

Occasionally I've had objections from Ashkenazi friends or relatives: "we don't eat hearts", "we don't eat spleens", etc.

I've done a lot of Google searching and haven't found any source that said Ashkenazim can't eat any of the above (or other internal) organs. Are there actual, known minhagim related to these? Or are my guests just making excuses to avoid eating something they find too weird?

(To clarify: I'm not referring to the laws of cutting open hearts/liver and roasting them before cooking and various other restrictions - I'm referring to a blanket prohibition.)

  • Hi Daniel, and welcome to the site. You might be interested in this related question: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/78181/3 .
    – WAF
    Jan 18 '17 at 13:17
  • Hmm - another Daniel joining the site. Welcome from one Daniel to another! I'm Ashkenazi and I can say that when I was a lad (once I was that!) my family ate lungs each Shabbat. I haven't seen them in decades, and I assume that this may have been influenced by the Glatt Kosher industry to a large extent. We also ate hearts. I don't think any butcher sold spleens, brains, or "Rocky Mountain oysters". I'm unaware of any prohibition against any of these. I think that there may not be much of a market for these items in most U.S. communities. I can't say why. Maybe people are squeamish?
    – DanF
    Jan 18 '17 at 14:17
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    @DanF My Father-in-Law, A"H, told me that the reason lungs ceased to be generally available was because of USDA issues, not kashrut supervision. In 1971 the USDA issued a ruling that livestock lungs shall not be kept for food. They are reported to be very particular with lung because of potential infection problems. Jan 18 '17 at 14:54
  • Also, regarding Rocky Mountain Oysters, wouldn't that fall under the general kashrut practice in the US that anything coming from loins requires a shochet with trabering certification? For many years, the hind quarters are simply sold to non-Jews because it is too expensive labor-wise to process the carcass. Jan 18 '17 at 14:59

Ashkenazi males don't eat heart as it leads to forgetfulness.

  • user6591 is right, I'm not sure why we are careful about heart and not liver. my butcher is quite knowledgeable (Hacker in Yerushalem) and he ever said anything when I buy brain. Jan 18 '17 at 20:07
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    Please show the source of this. Jan 18 '17 at 20:44
  • @sabbahillel (+1) (source for you) Really it is the same with the brain and liver (and olives) but according to my poor understanding of the mogain avrohom 170.19 (an Ashkenazi) that is only if the eater is an am haaretz and eats without kavono , but if he eats with kavono he can eat anything that leads to forgetfulness Exept the HEART ( beta.hebrewbooks.org/tursa.aspx?a=oc_x985 )
    – hazoriz
    Jan 19 '17 at 2:30
  • @sabbahillel a different link for the same source sefaria.org/Magen_Avraham.170.19?with=all&lang=bi
    – hazoriz
    Jan 19 '17 at 2:33
  • @sabbahillel more sources with reasons yeshiva.org.il/midrash/pdf/pdf278/kaved75.pdf
    – hazoriz
    Jan 19 '17 at 2:53

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