By : Solomon Schechter Julius
H. Greenstone Emil G. Hirsch Kaufmann
Milk and Eggs.
Prohibition of Blood.
Seething Kid in Mother's Milk.
—From the Traditional Point of
Alleged Reasons for Laws.
—Considered Historically and from
the Critico-Historical and Reform
Point of View:
Priestly Sanctity of the Nation.
Blood, Fat, etc.
Haggadic and Halakic Views.
Attitude of Reform Judaism.
and rabbinical regulations concerning
The ancient Israelites lived chiefly
on vegetable food and fruit, upon
which the Bible places no restrictions
(Gen. i. 29). With the development
of the sacrificial system certain
restrictions were placed on the
use of the portions belonging
to the priest, the Levite, and
the poor (see Priestly Code; Charity).
Besides these there were also
some laws concerning vegetable
and tree growths.
The fruit of a tree was forbidden
during the first three years after
its planting (Lev. xix. 23-25).
In the fourth year the fruit was
brought to Jerusalem and eaten
there amid songs of thanksgiving
("neta' reba'i"). Those
who lived at a distance from Jerusalem
might redeem the fruit and bring
the money to Jerusalem, and spend
it in a similar manner. The law
of 'orlah applied to all times
and places ('Orlah iii. 9; ?id.
38b et seq.; Maimonides, "Yad,"
Ma'akalot Asurot, x. 9-18; Shulhan
'Aruk, Yorch De'ah, 294). See
The eating of new corn was forbidden
until the second day of Passover,
when the "'omer" was
offered in the Temple (Lev. xxiii.
9-14). This prohibition also was
extended to all times and places
(?id. l.c.; Men. 70a; Maimonides,
l.c. 2-5; Yoreh De'ah, 293).
reason for these laws seems to
be contained in the sentence "The
first of the first-fruits of thy
land thou shalt bring into the
house of the Lord thy God"
(Ex. xxiii. 19).
use for any purpose whatever of
the produce of two species of
corn or of other vegetables sown
in a vineyard was forbidden (Deut.
xxii. 9). The sowing of mixed
seed in gardens or in fields was
also prohibited (Lev. xix. 19);
but, if so sown, the produce was
only forbidden in the case of
a vineyard ("kile ha-kerem").
This prohibition applied originally
only to Palestine, but was later
extended by the Rabbis to all
lands and times (?id. 39a; Maimonides,
l.c. 6-8; Yoreh De'ah, 295-297).
Among the early Hebrews animal
food was partaken of by the common
people only on festive occasions,
usually in connection with sacrifices.
The permission given to Noah and
to his children to eat animal
food (Gen. ix. 2, 3) was conditioned
upon the abstinence from blood
(see Blood). Some of the Tannaim
were of the opinion that during
their journey through the wilderness
the Israelites were permitted
to eat the meat only of such animals
as had previously been sacrificed,
some portions of which had been
burned on the altar, and some
given to the priests; others thought
differently (Hul. 17a; compare
Ex. xvi. 3).
The Bible, in its legislative
portions, makes explicit provisions
for the distinction between clean
and unclean animals mentioned
earlier in connectionwith the
Flood (Gen. vii. 2, 8). See
and Unclean Animals.
Forbidden as being unclean is
also that which comes out of the
unclean (Bek. 5b). This principle
applies not only to the young,
but to all animal products.
It is therefore forbidden to use
the milk of unclean animals or
of animals which suffer from some
visible malady which causes them
to be legally unfit ("?erefah")
for food. When, after the ritual
slaughtering, an animal, apparently
sound during its life, is found
to have been diseased, its milk,
or cheese made of its milk, is
forbidden as food.
adult may not suckle from the
breasts of a woman, although,
if placed in a vessel, woman's
milk. is not forbidden. A child
may suckle until the end of its
fourth year if healthy, or until
the end of its fifth year if sickly.
If, however, it was interrupted
after the second year for three
consecutive days with the intention
of weaning it, it is not permitted
to suckle again (Ket. 60a; Bek.
6a; Hul. 112b; Maimonides, l.c.
3; Yoreh De'ah, 81).
Eggs of unclean birds, or of birds
suffering from a visible sickness,
which makes them ?erefah, are
forbidden. The following signs
were laid down by the Rabbis,
by which eggs of clean birds could
be distinguished from those of
unclean. If both ends of the egg
are sharp or round, or if the
yolk is outside and the white
inside, it is of an unclean bird.
If one end is sharp and the other
round, and the white is outside
and the yolk inside, reliance
may be placed on the testimony
of the seller, who must say of
what species of birds it comes.
As a rule, however, since most
eggs sold are those of chickens,
ducks, or geese, no questions
need be asked (Hul. 64a; Maimonides,
l.c. 7-11; Yoreh De'ah, 86).
drop of blood found on the yolk
of an egg is considered an indication
that the process of hatching has
already begun, and the egg is
therefore forbidden. It is not
necessary, however, to examine
eggs before using them to see
whether they contain any blood
(Yoreh De'ah, 66, 2-8).
The roe of unclean fishes is also
forbidden. Pickled fish may be
eaten, though preserved together
with unclean fish ('Ab. Zarah.
40a; Maimonides, l.c. 20-24; Yoreh.
De'ah, 83, 5-10).
The honey of bees is permitted,
since it is merely the secretion
of the flower gathered by the
bee and then discharged, and contains
no portion of the insect. There
is, however, a difference of opinion
regarding honey produced by other
insects (Bek. 7b; Maimonides,
l.c. 3; Yoreh De'ah, 81, 8, 9).
The ancient Israelites looked
with horror upon the custom prevalent
among the surrounding nations
of cutting off a limb or a piece
of flesh from a living animal
and eating it. Its prohibition
is one of the seven Noachian laws
(Sanh. 56a). If the limb was still
partly attached to the body, but
could never grow again, and the
animal was legally slaughtered,
this limb had to be thrown away
(Hul. 101b; Maimonides, l.c. 5;
Yoreh De'ah, 62; see also Cruelty
An animal that has died a natural
death, or has been killed in any
way other than that prescribed
by the law of ShekI?ah, is called
"nebelah," and makes
impure all persons or things that
it touches (Deut. xiv. 21). One
torn by beasts (Ex. xxii. 30 [A.
V. 31]) or subject to some mortal
disease is called ?erefah. Both
of these are forbidden as food;
"for thou art a holy people
to the Lord thy God." The
laws of ?erefah are given in Hul.
iii.; Maimonides, l.c. 5-11; Yoreh
De'ah, 29-60. See Carcass and
V. Blood, which is supposed to
contain the vital element (Gen.
ix. 4), is repeatedly prohibited
in the Bible (Lev. xvii. 11;
Deut. xii. 16). It must not be
eaten by Jews at any time or
place (Lev. iii. 17). Not only
blood itself, but flesh
containing blood is also
forbidden (Gen. ix. 4; see
Blood). For the laws of blood
111a, 117a; Ker. 2a, 20b; "Yad,"
Ma'akalot Asurot, vi.; Yoreh De'ah,
prohibition applies only to the
blood of mammals or of birds,
not to the blood of fishes or
of locusts. Only the blood which
is contained in the veins, or
congealed on the surface of the
meat, or which has begun to flow
from the meat, is forbidden; as
long as it is a part of the meat
it may be eaten. See Meli?ah.
VI. The fat ("heleb") of
ox, sheep, or goat is forbidden
(Lev. vii. 23-25). The punishment
decreed for transgression of this
law is "karet." The
fat of birds or of permitted wild
animals is not forbidden. The
fat of the young found within
the womb of the mother after the
latter has been legally killed,
and its sinew "that shrank,"
are permitted. See Fat.
VII. The custom of refraining
from eating the sinews of the
hind legs of an animal arose,
according to the Biblical
narrative (Gen. xxxii. 32), from
the incident of Jacob's
wrestling with the angel,
through which the patriarch
became lame. It is not put in
the form of a prohibition in the
legal portions of the Bible,
although the Rabbis considered
it of Mosaic origin (Hul. 100b). Birds are
excluded from this law.
Kid in Mother's Milk.
The threefold repetition of the
commandment prohibiting the seething
of a kid in its mother's milk
(Ex. xxiii. 19, xxxiv. 26; Deut.
xiv. 21) is explained by the Rabbis
as referring to three distinct
prohibitions: cooking meat and
milk together; eating such mixture;
and deriving any benefit from
such a mixture (Hul. 115b). See
In almost all cases of forbidden
food, the transgressor was liable
to punishment only when the portion
which he ate was at least as large
as an olive. The prohibition,
however, extends at times farther
than that (Yoma 73b, 80a), in
some cases even to the taste and
the odor. Hence, if a forbidden
object falls into a boiling pot
of permitted food, all the food
contained in the pot is forbidden,
unless no taste of the forbidden
object can be detected in the
food of the pot.
It is forbidden to derive any
benefit from objects used for
idolatrous purposes. Meat consecrated
to an idol, wine of libation,
spices, or anything else used
in the idol's service is prohibited
('Ab. Zarah 29b); in fact, any
animal slaughtered or wine touched
by an idolater was prohibited
to the Israelite, because it was
supposed to be consecrated to
his idol; and theseprohibitions
applied not only to eating or
to drinking, but to any benefit
derived from it. Even after the
practise of idolatry lapsed, these
prohibitions remained in force
as rabbinic institutions; wherefore
the wine of a non-Jew is forbidden.
account of the apprehension of
intermarriage, the Rabbis also
prohibited eating the bread of
a non-Jew, or a dish cooked by
a non-Jew ('Ab. Zarah 35b, 38a).
It is permitted, however, to buy
bread of a non-Jewish baker. If
part of the cooking was done by
an Israelite, the dish may be
eaten. Non-Jewish servants may
cook for the families which they
serve, for since they are in the
house of the Jew, it is assumed
that one of the household gives
occasional assistance. Some authorities,
however, object to permitting
non-Jewish servants to cook (Yoreh
De'ah, 113, 4, Isserles' gloss;
compare "Sifte Kohen"
and "Ture Zahab," ad
non-Jew's testimony regarding
these matters can not be relied
upon, since he does not know the
import of these laws to the Jew;
wherefore not only meat, but also
milk and cheese bought of a non-Jew
are forbidden, because it is assumed
that, by some carelessness or
by a desire to improve, the milk
may have been mixed with some
forbidden ingredient. A Jew is
therefore required to be present
at the milking, and at the preparation
of the cheese. Different customs
prevail regarding butter bought
of a non-Jew; and in regard to
milk and cheese the later authorities
are more lenient ('Ab. Zarah ii.;
Maimonides, l.c. iii. 13, xi.-xiii.,
xvii. 9-26; Yoreh De'ah, 112-115,
"Sakkanah," or danger
to life, is given by the Rabbis
as a reason for a number of prohibitions
included in the dietary laws.
An animal that ate poison is forbidden
on account of sakkanah (Hul. 58b).
Meat and fish should not be cooked
or eaten together; for such a
mixture is supposed to cause leprosy.
It is therefore the custom to
wash the mouth between eating
a dish containing fish and one
containing meat (Pes. 66b; Yoreh
De'ah, 117, 2, 3). Water that
was left uncovered overnight was
not permitted as drink in olden
times, because of the apprehension
that a serpent might have left
its venom in it. Where serpents
are not found this prohibition
does not exist (Jer. viii. 4;
Yoreh De'ah, l.c. 1).
the custom to refrain from meat
and wine during the first nine
days of the month of Ab or from
the seventeenth day of Tammuz
till the tenth of Ab, see Fast-Days;
see also Passover.
Hamburger, R. B. T. I., s.v. Speisegesetze;
C. G. Monteflore, Mrs. M. Joseph
and Hyamson, in Jew. Quart. Rev.
S. R. Hirsch, ?oreb, Altona, 1837;
Friedländer, The Jewish Religion,
pp. 455-466, London, 1900.S. S.
J. H. G.
the Traditional Point of View:
the point of view of traditional
or conservative Judaism, the dietary
laws are divinely ordained, and
the rejection of the yoke of these
laws is tantamount to a rejection
of the belief in Israel's redemption
from Egypt (Sifra, Shemini, xii.,
based upon Lev. xi. 44-45)., To
eat pork was, therefore, considered
as equivalent to apostasy in the
Maccabean time and later (II Macc.
vii. 1 et seq.; IV Macc. v.; Philo,
"In Flaccum," §
11). One should abstain from it
not only from personal aversion,
but because "our Father in
heaven has decreed that we should
abstain from it" (Sifra,
?edoshim, xi.). "God showed
to Moses the different species
of animals, and said: 'These may
ye eat, and these not'" (Sifra,
Shemini, ii.; Hul. 42a)."
The many rules regulating the
Jew's diet are intended to test
his piety and love for God"
(Tan., Shemini, ed. Buber, 12,
13). "There is no other reason
for all the dietary laws than
that God gave them" (Samson
Raphael Hirsch, "Horeb,"
1837, p. 433). Thus says Lasch
("Die Goettlichen Gesetze,"
1857, p. 173) in regard to the
dietary laws: "He who truly
fears God will observe His laws
without inquiring into the reasons
for them." Any question regarding
the historical development of
these laws is obviously excluded
from the standpoint of traditional
Judaism. "The dietary laws,"
says M. Friedländer ("The
Jewish Religion," p. 237,
London, 1891), "are exactly
the same now as they were in the
days of Moses."
a rational interpretation of the
Biblical and Mosaic laws has at
all times endeavored to find the
dietary laws prophylactic of diseases
of both body and soul. Indeed,
many statisticians have declared
that the observance of the dietary
laws has greatly contributed to
the longevity and physical as
well as moral power of the Jewish
race (see H. Behrend, "Communicability
of Diseases from Animals to Man,"
the other hand, the cabalists
hold that whosoever eats of the
forbidden food becomes imbued
with the spirit of impurity and
is cast out of the realm of divine
holiness (see Zohar iii. 41b).
As to the aversion of the Jew
to the eating to pork see Swine.
Reasons for Laws.
Historically and from the Critico-Historical
and Reform Point of View:
to Gen. i. 29, the human race
was originally allowed to eat
vegetable food only; after the
Flood, however, animal food was
permitted, but on condition that
blood, which is the soul (Gen.
ix. 3, 4), should not be partaken
of. The people of Israel were
forbidden to eat the flesh of
beasts found torn or that had
died a natural death, as well
as all kinds of animals declared
unclean; the stated reason being
that Israel should be "a
holy people unto the Lord,"
"distinguished from other
nations by the avoidance of unclean
and abominable things that defile
them" (Ex. xxii. 30 [A. V.],
31; Deut. xiv. 3-21; Lev. xi.
43, xx. 24). Various other reasons
have been alleged by ancient and
by modern writers: (1) hygienic
("Moreh Nebukim," ii.
48; Samuel b. Meïr on Lev.
xi. 3; Michaelis, "Mosaisches
Recht," iv. 202)—e.g., the
sturgeon and various scaleless
fishes and the pig are instanced
as producing diseases; (2) psychological,
presupposing that the animals
thus prohibited appeared loathsome;
or that they, and more especially
the carnivorous beasts and birds,
beget a spirit of cruelty in persons
that eat them (IV Macc. 5; Na?manides
on Lev. xi.); (3) dualistic, holding
that, like the Persians, the Israelites
ascribed all the unclean animals
to an evil power (Origen, "Contra
Celsum," iv. 93; Bohlen,
"Genesis," p. 88: De
Wette, "Hebräische Archäologie,"
p. 188; Lengerke, "Canaan,"
i. 379); (4) national, maintainingsimply
that the Israelites should be
secluded from all other nations
(Spencer, "De Legibus Hebræorum,"
1732, p. 121; Michaelis, l.c.).
None of these alleged reasons,
however, can be considered as
Scriptural. Really, the animals
forbidden in the Mosaic law are
almost the same as are prohibited
to the priests or saints in the
ancient Hindu, Babylonian, and
the "Laws of Manu,"
v. 7, 11-20 ("S. B. E."
xxv. 171 et seq.) carnivorous
birds—those that feed striking
with their beaks, or that scratch
with their toes, or live on fish
or meat—fishes that eat any kind
of flesh, five-toed animals, and
strange beasts or birds are forbidden;
domestic animals that have teeth
in one jaw only, except the camel,
are eatable; also the porcupine,
hedgehog, rhinoceros, tortoise,
and hare are allowed; the village
cock is forbidden, as is the milk
of one-hoofed animals. In the
"Laws of Apastamba,"
i. 5, 29-39 (ib. ii. 64), one-hoofed
animals, camels, village pigs,
and cattle are forbidden; also
car nivorous birds that scratch
with their feet, or feed thrusting
forward their beaks, and the cock.
Five-toed animals (with the exception
of the boar, porcupine, rhinoceros,
and hare), and misshapen and snake-headed
fish or such as live on flesh
only, are prohibited. Similarly,
the "Laws of Vasishta,"
xiv. 38-48 (ib. xiv. 74), and
those of Bandhayuna, i. 5, 12
(ib. xiv. 184).
?aranians may eat all animals
that chew the cud, with the exception
of the camel, and, with the exception
of doves, all birds that are not
birds of prey (Chwolson, "Die
Szabier," 1856, ii. 7, 102).
The Egyptian priests abstained
from eating fish, one-hoofed quadrupeds
or such as had more than two divisions
in their hoofs and no horns, and
all carnivorous birds (Porphyrius,
"De Abstinentia." iv.
7). The law of Zoroaster contained
probably the same prohibitions
as the Hindu law, but the books
are lost; and the classification
of animals in "Bundahish,"
ch. xiv. ("S. B. E."
v. 47), has no bearing on forbidden
the theories suggested for these
various prohibitions of animals
(see Porphyrius, l.c. i. 14; Spencer,
l.c. pp. 82-92; and Sommer, "Biblische
Abhandlungen," 1846, pp.
271-322) only that proposed by
W. Robertson Smith ("Kinship
and Marriage in Early Arabia,"
1885, p. 306; idem, "Rel.
of Sem." p. 270) seems to
offer a plausible explanation.
In view of the fact that almost
every primitive tribe holds certain
animals to be tabooed, the contention
is that the forbidden or tabooed
animal was originally regarded
and worshiped as the totem of
the clan; but the facts adduced
do not sufficiently support the
theory, especially in regard to
the Semites, to allow it to be
more than an ingenious conjecture,
though Stade, "Gesch. des
Volkes Israel," i. 485; Benzinger,
"Arch." 1894, p. 484;
Jacobs, "Studies in Biblical
Archæology," p. 89;
and Baentsch, "Exodus and
Leviticus," 1900, p. 355,
have adopted it (against Nöldeke,
in "Z. D. M. G.," 1886,
pp. 157 et seq.).
Sanctity of the Nation.
is certain that the conception
of clean and unclean animals did
not originate with the Hebrew
law-giver, but, in accordance
with Biblical tradition, goes
back to prehistoric times, the
distinction being assumed as existing
in the days of Noah. These unclean
(or tabooed?) animals were to
be avoided by all those persons
who laid special claim to holiness;
wherefore the priests and saints
of all ancient nations were commanded
to shun them. Samson's mother,
when she was to give birth to
a Nazarite, was warned against
eating anything unclean (Judges
xiii. 4, 7, 14). The idea that
the people of Israel were "a
kingdom of priests and a holy
nation" (Ex. xix. 6) could
not be more impressively set forth
than by laws which extended the
universal priestly prohibition
of unclean food to the entire
people. This priest-idea is the
only possible meaning of Lev.
xx. 25, 26 (R. V.): "I have
separated you from the peoples,
that ye should be mine."
precept given by the angel to
Samson's mother shows, however,
that the people in general did
not heed the dietary laws. The
same may be inferred from Ezekiel's
words concerning himself as priest:
"Ah, Lord God! behold my
soul hath not been polluted: for
from my youth up even till now
have I not eaten of that which
dieth of itself, or is torn of
beasts; neither came there the
flesh of a sacrificially loathsome
thing ; A. V. "abominable
flesh"] into my mouth"
(Ezek. iv. 14; compare Hul. 37b,
where the rabbinical interpretation
of the passage is given). In fact,
Ezekiel desires the prohibition
of Nebelah and ?erefah to be applied
to priests only: "The priests
shall not eat of anything that
dieth of itself or is torn, whether
it be fowl or beast" (Ezek.
xliv. 31; see Men. 45a, "The
prophet Elijah shall some day
explain this problematic passage").
Thus it is simply an extension
of the priestly law to the whole
nation, as "holy to the Lord,"
which underlies the prohibition
of nebelah and ?erefah (Ex. xxii.
30 [A. V.], 31; Deut. xiv. 21;
Lev. xvii. 15, xxii. 8).
the other hand, the prohibition
of blood and fat (Lev. iii. 17,
vii. 24-27, xvii. 10-14; compare
Gen. ix. 4) rests on different
grounds. Maimonides ("Moreh,"
part iii., ch. xlvi., xlviii.)
gives a rationalistic explanation.
"Blood and fat belong to
God, and must be brought upon
the altar" (Targ. Yer. to
Lev. iii. 17); they are divine
property; neither Israelite nor
non-Israelite is allowed to eat
thereof; and the penalty for violation
of this law is excision ("karet").
Therefore, the blood of every
animal, even when it is unfit
for the altar, must be "poured
out . . . as water" (Deut.
xii. 24), and the fat of the nebelah
and ?erefah is forbidden (Lev.
vii. 24). In Deuteronomy (xii.
23 and elsewhere), however, fat
is not mentioned (see Geiger,
"Urschrift," p. 467,
and Karaites). To the same category
seems to belong also the ancient
prohibition of the sciatic nerve,
or rather the gluteal muscle ("sinew
of the hip," ), which is
upon the hollow of the thigh (Gen.
xxxii. 32, R. V.; see Gunkel's
commentary to the passage). This
part, as representing the locomotive
and, therefore, vital power of
the animal, could easily be regarded
as sacred to the Deity, just as
the brain and the heart, and other
vital parts of animals, were avoided
by the Greeks (see Sommer, l.c.
pp. 348, 349). The prohibition
of eating together meat and milk
is probably older than the rabbinical
interpretation of the law, "Thou
shalt not seethe the kid [feeding]
upon its mother's milk (so the
p. 240; Geiger, "Gesammelte
Schriften," iii. 305; and
Luther; A. V. "in its mother's
milk," Ex. xxiii. 19 and
parallels; see Dillmann's commentary
ad loc.). It seems to rest on
Temple practise, which avoided
the mixing of dishes that required
a different treatment from the
Levitical point of view (Men.
73a). Hence as early as the schools
of Hillel and Shammai the question
was discussed whether cheese and
fowl might be brought together
on one table (Hul. viii. 1; 'Eduy.
v. 2; compare Pes. 30a, 36a).
and Halakic Views.
these dietary laws, however, intended
to give to the Jew the character
of priestly sanctity, were declared
to be "?ukkim" (divine
statutes), to which "the
evil spirit ["yezer ha-ra'"]
and the heathen nations object"
(Sifra, A?are, 13). The allegorical
interpretations followed by the
Alexandrians (Aristeas' Letter,
140-170) are proof of a prevailing
tendency to treat the dietary
laws lightly; but the Maccabean
reaction against Hellenism lent
new importance to them (II Macc.
vi. 18; IV Macc. l.c.; Sifra,
?edoshim, 11). At the same time,
the view is expressed by the Rabbis
that the forbidden meat shall
again be allowed to Israel, as
indeed it was believed to have
been eaten by the Israelites before
entering the Holy Land (see Midr.
Teh. to Ps. cxlvi. 7; Lev. R.
xiii.; Hul. 17a). The very fact
that the whole list of forbidden
animals is allegorized in the
Midrash (Lev. R. xiii.) places
the dietary laws in a peculiar
light, and forcibly recalls their
treatment in the patristic literature.
See Clean and Unclean Animals.
Halakah recognized the maxim to
abstain from whatever savored
of any possible approach to the
forbidden diet; the prohibitions
became ever more numerous, so
as to make the wall of separation
between Jew and non-Jew well-nigh
insurmountable. It is to be noted
that those Jews who refused to
accept these rabbinical prohibitions
fled to the Samaritans (Josephus,
"Ant." xi. 8, §
7). The rabbinical principle was
consistent in so far as it tended
to keep the Jew isolated from
his idolatrous surroundings by
prohibiting even the meal cooked
by the heathen ('Ab. Zarah 38a),
as well as the wine served on
the table (Shab. 17b; See Heathenism;
Worship, Idol-), and eating at
the same table with them (Book
of Jubilees, xxii. 16). In this
the Pharisees had the scrupulous
piety of the Jewish woman as their
main support (Josephus, l.c. xvii.
2, § 4).
the Middle Ages the dietary laws
became the chief mark of distinction
between the Jew and the Christian,
whose antinomic maxim was: "There
is nothing from without the man
that going into him can defile
him: but the things which proceed
out of the man are those that
defile the man" (Mark vii.
15, R. V.; compare "Matt.
xv. 10-20; Acts x. 15; I Cor.
viii. 8), in all probability borrowed
from the Gnostic teaching: "We
are as little defiled by meats
as is the sea by tainted influxes"
(Porphyrius, l.c. i. 42; Bernays,
"Theophrast's Schrift über
Frömmigkeit," pp. 15
of Reform Judaism.
Judaism claims that those laws
affect differently the social
position of the modern Jews, living
in a world which is no longer
idolatrous or hostile as in former
days. They are no longer regarded
as a symbolical expression of
his being the consecrated priest
or Nazarite among the nations,
since the priests and saints of
no other nation observe these
laws as in Mosaic times. On the
contrary, they tend to keep him
from associating with his fellow
citizens with the view of presenting
to them his religious truth as
"the light" and "the
covenant" of the nations.
Whether justified in doing so
or not, the great majority of
West European Jews have broken
away from the dietary laws; and
the question for the Reform rabbis
of the nineteenth century was
whether the religious consciousness
of the modern Jew should be allowed
to suffer from a continual transgression
of these laws, or whether the
laws themselves should be submitted
to a careful scrutiny as to their
meaning and purpose and be revised—that
is, either modified or abrogated
by the rabbinical authorities
of the present time. A proposition
to this effect was made at the
Rabbinical Conference of Breslau
(see Conferences, Rabbinical),
and a committee consisting of
Drs. Einhorn, Holdheim, A. Adler,
S. Hirsch, and Herzfeld was appointed
to report at the next conference,
which, however, was never held.
Dr. Einhorn's report, on behalf
of the committee, was nevertheless
published in "Sinai"
(1859 and 1860). Its leading idea
is that the dietary laws, with
the exception of the prohibition
of blood and of beasts that have
died (or die) a natural death,
are inseparably connected with
the Levitical laws of purity and
the priestly sacrificial laws,
and are therefore of a mere temporary
ceremonial character and not essentially
religious or moral laws.
Wiener in an exhaustive work of
524 pages, M. Kalisch, and K.
Kohler have pleaded for a revision
of the dietary laws. S. R. Hirsch
and M. Friedländer have written
in favor of the full retention
of the laws (see bibliography
below). Sam Hirsch gives a symbolic
and allegorical interpretation
of these laws in his Catechism,
2d ed., pp. 55-64, Philadelphia,
1877. As a matter of course, this
question of revising or abrogating
Biblical and rabbinical laws has
no bearing upon the majority of
Jews, who believe in the immutability
of the Law, both the written and
the oral. See Abrogation of Laws;
Articles of Faith; Reform Judaism.
Wiener, Die Jüdischen Speisegesetze,
K. Kohler, in The Jewish Times,
German section, Aug.-Sept., 1872;
idem, Die Speisegesetze, in Allg.
Zeit. des Jud. 1895, pp. 245-269;
S. R. Hirsch, Horeb;
Versuche über Israel's Pflichten,
1837, pp. 374-378, 410-433;
M. Friedländer, The Jewish
Religion, pp. 455-466, London,
M. Kalisch, Historical and Critical
Commentary: Leviticus, ii. 1-113,
Geiger, Gesammelte Schriften,
i. 253 et seq., Berlin, 1875;
Zapletal, Der Totemismus und die
Religion Israels, pp. 81-91, Freiburg,