What is the biblical or talmudic prescribed punishment for knowingly eating meat of a non-kosher animal. I seem to recall some kind of distinction in punishment between eating out of indulgence or lack of willpower (lesser punishment) vs in defiance of Torah (harsher punishment).


1 Answer 1


The prescribed punishment for intentionally eating meat of a non-kosher animal (e.g. pork) is lashes.

Rambam writes in Hilchot Maachalot Assurot 2:2:

כל האוכל מבשר בהמה וחיה טמאה כזית לוקה מן התורה

Anyone who eats an olive-sized piece of the meat of an impure [i.e. 'non-kosher'] domesticated or wild animal is biblically liable to receive lashes.

Note that in the absence of properly constituted Jewish courts this is never carried out today. Even when it was carried out in practice, the punishment was only imposed if two witnesses testified to the offence, and the perpetrator had been warned prior to committing it.

Your recollection about a distinction in punishment depending on the motivation behind the offence is less relevant to any punishment carried out by a human court, and is more to do with heavenly punishments.

Rambam writes in Hilchot Teshuva 3:6, that apostates (among others) have no share in the World to Come, but are instead:

נכרתין ואובדין ונידונין על גודל רשעם וחטאתם, לעולם ולעולמי עולמים

cut off and destroyed, and are judged for the magnitude of their evil and their sins, for all eternity.

In 3:9 he defines one category of apostate (the 'apostate for a single prohibition') as follows:

זה שהחזיק עצמו לעשות אותה עבירה בזדון ונתפרסם בה והורגל ... ונמצא כאילו בטלה מצוה זו מן העולם אצלו הרי זה משומד לאותו דבר והוא שיעשה להכעיס

This is an individual who performs a transgression intentionally, publicly and habitually ... so that it is as if that commandment does not exist as far as he is concerned. Such a person is an apostate with regard to that matter as long as he does so in order to anger [G-d].

So, if an individual were to act as if the prohibition against eating non-Kosher meat does not exist, and does so in order to anger G-d (as opposed to for reasons of taste or cost or convenience) such a person loses his share in the Word to Come.

  • Notably, there are non-Kosher foods of different types which can have more or less severe punishments.
    – Double AA
    Apr 25, 2018 at 23:37

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .