i was always told that inedible things are kosher (from the verse of sending the nivaila to the ger (bais yosef yd 103.1 מדכתיב לא תאכלו כל נבלה לגר אשר בשעריך תתננה ואכלה נבלה הראויה לגר קרויה נבלה ושאינה ראויה לגר אינה קרויה נבלה
(בכורות כג, ב)))

but today i read

Mishneh Torah » Sefer Kedushah » Ma'achalot Assurot - Chapter 4 - 18

When a person eats the skin, the bones, the sinews, the horns, or the hoofs of a nevelah, a trefe, or a non-kosher domesticated animal or wild beast, from the nails of a non-kosher fowl in the places where blood would spurt through when they are cut off, or from their placenta, although this is forbidden, he is not liable.

does everyone agree that it is forbidden to eat bones (without marrow) from a not kosher animal? (what is the final ruling? (theoretical question))

what i the source and reason for this prohibition?

  • 1
    Check out Yabia Omer YD 8:11:6 who permits gelatin from bones bc the ShA doesn't rule like the Rambam and holds bones are kosher.
    – Double AA
    Commented Jan 24, 2017 at 0:41
  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – msh210
    Commented Jan 25, 2017 at 16:40

2 Answers 2


This is the source with regards to nails in Chulin 121a תבן התם י החרטום והצפרנים מיטמאין ומטמאין ומצטרפין חרטום עץ בעלמא הוא אמר רבי אלעזר בחרטום תחתון תחתון נמי עץ בעלמא הוא אמר רב פפא תחתון של עליון צפרנים אמר רבי אלעזר מקום המובלעים בבשר קרנים אמר רב פפא במקום שחותכין ויוצא מהן דם The rambam seems to make a common denominator that any inedible animal parts where when taken off afresh blood spurts out, it has tumas ochel(food) because it is edible for some people, and therefore must not be eaten. This Gemora mentioned the nails which has to come of fresh with blood and the same goes with any dry part e.g bones horns hooves sinews. The skin and amniotic sac are also mentioned as contracting tumah because of being edible to some people in rashi quoting Chullin 77a.

Rashi also explains why they are tamei:כל מידי דמצי למיכליה ואע''ג דלאו אורחיה כדאמרן בפרק בהמה המקשה (לעיל דף עז:) עור ששלקו ושליא שחישב עליה מטמא טומאת אוכלין ונהי דתו לא הדר הוי בשר לענין טומאת נבלות דהא נעשה עור בבטולו הראשון אבל לאוכלו מיהא הוי לטמא טומאת אוכלין אם נגע בשרץ Since its possible to eat them as it says in chullin 77b Skin that was stewed, and an amniotic sac that one thought about eating, they contaminate other food with tuma of food (they are considerred Velad hatuma which can contaminate only other food), even though they don't contaminate people or vessels (this is a higher level of tuma called Av hatuma) with tumas neveila ( only completely edible parts have tumas neveila). This is because one nullifies the status of the skin as food when separating the meat out for consumption initially(showing that only the meat is the real food not the skin).The skin still has a lesser degree of tuma since some will still eat it so when it touches a sheretz it is tamei.


There is an excellent discussion of the Kashrus of gelatin here. Here is a summary of the section that relates to your question, and I have looked through most of the sources, and can confirm that they are accurate:

There is a discussion in Beis Yosef and Shulchan Aruch YD 99, as to whether or not in a case of Bittul, we will count dry bones (or the bone part minus the marrow part) of the non-kosher component as kosher or not. Shulchan Aruch paskens (based on Ran, Rashba, Rosh, Rash, etc. mentioned in Beis Yosef there), that the dry bones count as part of the kosher component to help be Mevatel the non-kosher component. Rema agrees in principle, but advises one to be Machmir if possible or if there is no major loss (he quotes a few opinions in Darchei Mosheh that would support such a view, such as Or Zarua, etc).

Deciding on this Halacha was (and still is, to some extent) a major source of controversy as it relates to gelatin, as gelatin can be made from non-kosher dry animal bones. Various Poskim and Kashrus organizations have expressed their views. The OU claims claims that the consensus in the United States was/is that such gelatin is considered "non-kosher". The current discussion relates to other gelatin sources and production methods.

The opinion of the Rambam (Maachalos Assuros 4:18) is unclear, based on what you wrote above. The main approaches outlined in the article are:

  1. Magid Mishna there - the Gemara (Chulin 117b) quotes a Beraisa that the bones (similar to the skin, horns and other dry animal parts with no flavor) are not "Mekabel Tumas Neveilah", meaning, the rule of Neveilah (and by extension, non-kosher animals, as specified in the Rambam there) only applies to the edible, meat parts of the animal, not to these parts (although according to that Beraisa they are still considered food, as they are "Mekabel Tumas Ochlin"). Thus, the Rambam is referring to dry bones, and still says that they are not allowed to be eaten, likely for some Derabanan reason. (Note that the OU, in the article quoted above, Paskens like this understanding.)
  2. Rabbi Chaim Ozer Grodzinski (Achiezer 3:33:5) understands the Rambam as referring to bones with some marrow traces, and as a result, understands that for completely dry bones, (even) the Rambam would Pasken that it is completely permitted to eat them (against the question's assumption). There is less of a question why the Rambam would write that they are prohibited according to his reasoning.

The article does not discuss (in detail) reasons for why dry bones would be Assur or Muttar according to the Rambam. Here are a few of the suggestions made by various mefarshim as I understand (see Frankel Sefer Hamafteach for sources):

  • No flavor (not Nosein Taam), thus Assur Miderabanan
  • Considered Assur, but not a full Shiur (this is not the time and place for a discussion of Chatzi Shiur...)
  • Not considered edible/food at all (the question's original assumption)
  • Not considered to be "meat" and thus does not become Assur as meat

In summary, it is clear that many Poskim say that even dry bones of a non-kosher animal, such as a pig, are not to be eaten. Even within the opinion of the Rambam there are a variety of understandings and final conclusions, as noted above. The final ruling seems to be that it should be avoided for serious Halachic reasons, although there have certainly been Poskim who have permitted it in the past.

(For further reading, with an emphasis on the 20th Century Teshuvos published on this topic, see here.

  • Are there any Jewish groups that allow the eating of kosher food that contain gelatin from dry bones of non-kosher animals?
    – ninamag
    Commented Dec 19, 2017 at 16:30
  • 1
    @ninamag Yes. The Rabbanut in Israel does IINM, though they mark foods with gelatin as "made with gelatin" so that those who wanted to be strict can be.
    – Double AA
    Commented Dec 19, 2017 at 16:32
  • I was just about to note that, sourced here: jpost.com/Jewish-World/Judaism/Ask-the-Rabbi-Kosher-conundrums Although there may be other halachic reasons that may play a role in their Heter, meaning not JUST because of the dry bones discussion... Commented Dec 19, 2017 at 16:33
  • 1
    There are also a number of authorities noted in the Tnuvah article who permitted it, as well as in other articles on this topic available on the Internet, such as torahmusings.com/2014/07/gelatin-halacha-recent-developments. Commented Dec 19, 2017 at 16:37

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