Expectations for kashrut to meet individual and contemporary norms

At the origin of man the Divine Creator provided a world full of plants useful as food. Man was not so happy with it and wanted more variation and meat. God allowed such things but warned them about the good and bad meat or fish. God also gave man mitzvoth so that they could measure their wrong goings and should have a guide for their life. In his effort to play for God man has tried to muddle with genes and to create new hybrids. The understanding on genes and genomes, and ways to manipulate them has given many scientists extreme ideas, tending to distort and exaggerate the results or waving away the possible dangers for the next generations of plants and animals. Different kinds of risks, real benefits, aims and control systems are complicated and genuine discussion between people with different backgrounds is essential and should have to think very cautiously, wondering if we are not going to far. Not only genetic manipulation but also transporting food all over the world and producing it on industrial level should worry us and should make us to take the proper choice to protect the environment. Let us not forget that the Elohim wants us to be healthy – inside and out, living in a healthy clean environment always to know that a person is that what he eats.

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Reform Judaism, the religious movement that has modified or abandoned many traditional Jewish beliefs, laws, and practices in an effort to adapt Judaism to the changed social, political, and cultural conditions of the modern world, has gone around the block on the subject of kashrut. Notwithstanding biblical and Talmudic rules, and laws about what is “fit” for personal consumption, Reform Judaism has sought an authentic response to expectations for kashrut that would meet individual and contemporary norms.

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Old Jerusalem, Cardo 16, “Kardo keyad hamelech” restaurant, a lot of places in israel, but particularly in the jewish quarter of the old city, the restaurants were labeled “meat restaurant” or “dairy restaurant”, in compliance with kosher rules prohibiting meat and dairy to be served together. Kosher Jewish restaurants tend to be *either* meat or dairy, giving a very different mix of foods from a typical Arab Muslim or Christian-style menu. Jerusalem

Several Jews recognize in the Mosaic legislation a system of training the Jewish people for its mission during their life. They accept the Mosaic Laws to elevate and sanctify their lives. We may not forget that the Elohim provides us with that what we need. He gives us the possibility to have something to eat. But we do have to be careful what we eat. We have to be aware that we should consume our worldly needs or food in the manner which is showing respect to the Divine Creator.

For all lovers of God the Torah should remain the dynamic source of their life. Each age has the obligation to adapt the teachings of the Torah to its basic needs in consonance with the genius of Judaism. We all should know that we are connected to this temporarily worldly system and should show others that we always should respect mother nature.

Everything what we want to eat should be properly gained. We should try to avoid food which is produced in a way that brings damage to the earth or ecosystem.

Synagogues, organizations, and at home, lovers of God have taken responsibility to define for themselves what the standards for kashrut would be. In the last twenty years, the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) applied a standard for its affiliates and, in particular, its summer camps, to avoid pork and shellfish, and to separate milk and meat. Likewise, many Reform synagogues adopted this as a standard baseline, though some would choose to do more or less. The latest significant publication on the matter is the book The Sacred Table, which collected opinion pieces from rabbinic and other Jewish authorities for discerning progressive Jews (non-Orthodox) who seek to transform the mundane task of eating into a sacred duty, a mitzvah.

Each day when we want to eat something we have to praise the Elohim for providing us with our nourishment. We should be aware what aspects of eating connect us to God or make us more aware of the world around us. Everything offered in the supermarket, we should know, is not the right food to choose. Mankind perhaps does not mind to manipulate with given elements of nature, but we should know that genetic manipulated material [Genetically modified organism (GMO)] does not belong in a kitchen of a lover of God. Man does not have to play for god and does not have to play with nature in such a way that he could imbalance the food-chain.

Jeshuaism and Judaism are religions of action; therefore, it’s imperative that actions follow ideas on principles that shape our lives. When a person belongs to a group which has a belief in a higher One Spirit Being and Divine Creator, he should live accordingly.

The Sacred Table: Creating a Jewish Food Ethic is an anthology of diverse essays on Jewish dietary practices. That book presents the challenge of navigating through choices about eating, while seeking to create a rich dialogue about the intersection of Judaism and food. That book supplies the basic how-to’s of creating a meaningful Jewish food ethic and incorporating these choices into our personal and communal religious practices. Picture a beautiful buffet of choices from which you can shape your personal kashrut.

When loving the Adonai we also should love the creation and in such way should show our respect to creation and creatures. This means we should make food-related resolutions! Today we should incorporate new conscious eating choices into our eating practices, i.e. less meat, less fish, more vegetables, by preference locally grown only, sustainably grown etc., with each new-year, new season, eating the products of the season. It is very important that we choose foods and quantities that reflect our concern for the environment, justice, health, and so on. As lovers of God we have that responsibility.

The 14th-century rabbi and commentator, Bachya ben Asher, wrote about the benefits that accrue to those who, by means of intelligence, overcome competing interests in the world that — unfortunately– are in great supply. His wisdom is timeless. He taught:

“Sanctify yourself through the practice of the commandments and thus you will become holy. Such observance will help you to gain self-control so that your intelligence can govern your appetites. For our intelligence is doubly handicapped in this struggle: We have the appetites from birth, while intelligence develops slowly; and, our environment encourages us to yield to urges, whereas intelligence is a lonely stranger in the world.” {W. Gunther Plaut, gen. ed., The Torah: A Modern Commentary, rev. ed. (NY: URJ Press, 2005), p.727}

We should know that the Elohim wants the best for His creatures. To help and guide them He has given the mitzvoth. The Law is given as a sign of the covenant that God made with the nation of Israel and we should take it at heart. Its purpose was more to protect people than to make people super perfect to bring them to salvation. It is true that when we do follow the Law we can feel closer to God and it helps us to live righteous lives and giving us the feeling of that great connection with the Elohim. But we  must not think that is to be the standard by which people are measured for salvation. The most important reason we do have to keep in our head is that it is the sign of God’s covenant with Israel.

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The front of a “Halal meat store and groceries”, in Texas. This is where muslims buy their version of “Kosher” food, as seen by the ad on the wall as well.

In the godless world where we have to try to survive we should take into account that sometimes we shall need to carefully read between the lines. Depending on the country where we live we should also remember that we always should give the Caesar what belongs to the Caesar and may not go in against the countries laws except when they totally go in against the laws of God. In Belgium now it being prohibited to have kosher or halal slaughtering we must be aware that certain provisions would be to limited to provide for enough meat for those people who want kosher or halal meat in Belgium. Bringing the kosher slaughter of animals, or “sh’chita”, which has been practised for several thousand years, to a ban, makes that lots of people can not use meat according to the mitvah and interpretations of the laws governing Jewish practice. The outside world should remember that we consider those rulings to be provided by the Elohim Most High God, and being part and parcel of the Jewish and several others their faith, which they are commanded to keep (although the liberal Reform denomination of Judaism does not keep the ritualistic aspects of certain of these commands — but, this is a small number of the totality of all Jews). Too many Belgians and other people do forget that the expert Jewish butcher, or “shochet” kills the animal in such a way that it suffers not much and that it suffers much less than in those industrial slaughterhouses. Therefore it is incredible that such killing of animals has become forbidden in our country and in Denmark, Switzerland and New Zealand, as if to say that all those people who still want to live according to their kosher killings have to go and  live somewhere else. The ban on circumcision is the next step the Belgian governement wants to be voted for. It is an easy way to get certain Jews, Messianics, Jeshuaists, Muslims out of the country.

Several rabbi’s know this problem of not getting sufficient kosher products any more, plus know about financial limitations, and therefore allow their members also to buy treif or non-kosher food.

When looking at the Holy Scriptures we can see that throughout the ages the Elohim acted differently to His People. As such we may state that the Loving God has an eye and understanding for the times His People are living and is willing to adjust or to take that in account. We also should always remember that it is not the strict “Letter of the Law” that saves us, but our real relationship with the Elohim and His creation.

Before the Law was given people sinned already, but now the Law was given, people could recognise for what they went wrong and how they did injustice to their Creator. Sin not being charged to a person’s account when there is no law could now being charged. The Law revealed to the people of Israel just how rebellious they were as people against God and today it is not different. If the Law stood as a witness against Israel, it also stands as a witness against the rest of the world. The Law does not bring about salvation. It makes evident the sin that is in our lives. And that should make us think about what we do and how we live.

Dietary laws are given to distinguish between pure and impure animals, birds, fish, and insects. (Wayyiqra 11:1-47) We should take it as a guide but also should remember times have changed and when looking at the food in the supermarkets we should question how does that still relate to the Will of God, before buying it. When we notice too much plastic around it, or coming unnecessary from too far away places, we should leave it and choose some other vegetable or other food product to bring us the necessary vitamins and minerals. We also should question if it is fairly produced, not having slaves involved or not demanding too much of the grounds where it is planted.

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While certain mainstream rabbis have touted the potential for lab-grown meat, even “pork,” to be kosher, Messianic leaders across the globe have called it an “unpardonable sin.”

The Elohim has not changed but has an eye for our weaknesses. Though He would love to see that we do find the moral and ethical courage to give up those things which are not produced along the lines or Will of the Most High. Let us not forget that the HaShem’s original plan was for humanity to sustain itself by only consuming the wide variety of fruits and vegetables found in the beautiful gan that is our world.  (Bereshith 1:29).

Each of us is responsible himself or herself to help to create a better world and in that world we have to take care to consume the proper food.

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Preceding

A Tool to shed light over the qualities in our life 2 Jews for a Messiah

Torah hanging on two commandments and focussing on a Mashiach

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Additional reading

  1. Summermonths and consumerism
  2. One can buy a lot in the supermarket, but not hope
  3. Welfare state and Poverty in Flanders #9 Consumption
  4. Exceptionalism and Restricting Laws
  5. Green Claims in Europe
  6. Multiculturalism Search for truth and stimulator to find innovation and to create
  7. Africa’s human existence and development under threat from the adverse impacts of climate change
  8. Time to consider how to care for our common home

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