Why Keep Kosher?

Surprising survey results.

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Comments (42)

(41) תומר, February 27, 2015 10:58 PM

Good lesson, but misleading about the survey.

The kosher industry survey in question did not use an exclusively Jewish sample. What's surprising isn't that 15% select kosher foods because of religious reasons, considering that there /may have been no Jews in the sample whatsoever/, but that a whopping 15% /do/. The overwhelming majority of people who specifically shop for kosher foods are not Jewish. This video leads with the assertion that Jews are eating kosher foods because they're healthier, or what have you, and then admonishes those who are making kosher selections "for the wrong reasons" to change their perspective. The majority of kosher consumers are not /technically/ bound by the strictures of kashrut, but rather they respect the standard of kashrut (a phenomenon which should be considered for its own implications).

(40) rivkah, June 16, 2011 12:51 AM

I eat kosher because that is what HASHEM wants us to do.

By accepting the Torah at Moubt Sinai we obligated ourselves to accept all 613 Mitzvos. We cannot be "pick and choose Jews". We do what we are supposed to do because that is what Hashem wants from us. that is how we become closer to Hashem which is the reason we are here.

(39) Anonymous, May 4, 2010 6:22 PM

To #27

A righteous person sins 7 times a day. God wasn't saying we are w/o sin. When we stay connected to God, while keeping kosher, we should not become holier than thou attitude. Even if you keep kosher 100%, God will be dealing with us on something else we need to grow in. When we do what God says, it puts us in right relationship with him. Open to more of what God wants to say to us, bless us with,(speaking of spiritual blessings) and what he wants us to do. This applies to all people. As explained by others, non-Jews do not have to abide by all 613 mitzvahs to be in right standing with God, only the 7 Noahide laws. (we are on the right path when we have not closed the door to God, saying we won't, but open to God in helping us to keep them) I'm finding my way in keeping kosher. It's not all or nothing--my goal is to be 100% keeping kosher. All of God's commands, illustration: keeping kosher, is just one of the many factors that unites us; on common ground all over the world. Gives us unity in belonging to a universal family. We are not isolated, even though distance separates us. It keeps us together as a unit of believers, in like minded faith.

Anonymous, June 22, 2011 10:12 PM

Correction

The statement "A righteous person sins 7 times a day" is probably meant to quote Proverbs 24:16. Please forgive me but the way it is stated is totally false. It implies a leeway of 7 times sinning a day (!) for "otherwise" righteous people (whatever that might mean). The real quote and its simple meaning is as follows: "...For a righteous person MIGHT fall/ 'stumble' EVEN 7 times, but still will arise, whereas an evildoer will fall/'stumble' (only) once and remain as such" A beautiful explanation is that one sees himself as a righteous person, although he may have erred, he has the self-esteem to pick himself up and keep on trying, and doesn't give up. This is similar to a young child that is not embarrassed when falling learning to walk. However when one sees himself as wicked he''ll just give up and won't make the effort to overcome his failings.

(38) Anonymous, May 4, 2010 6:13 AM

To all the rest answering "Because I said so"

Thanks! We shouldn't be robots, we must know and understand the depth of God's word. Trust can be an intellectual belief which is enhanced in knowing God who we are putting our trust in. Moreover, is to rely on God in a way that God approves. That we trust and rely on him in all matters of life, like explained by Loren #32. We can not compromise over the commandments, like all of you have explained in your commentaries. Thanks alot for explaining why God said so. And Guy#35, love your honesty! I have learned alot and have been encouraged by all that has commented. Thank-you!

(37) Anonymous, May 3, 2010 5:21 PM

To CR #36 from Anon #9

Thanks CR! I like to go deeper with God; to look beyond the face value of what God says. Your response was excellent, and I thank you for responding. If I eat pork, I could become lazy, like a pig. See, this goes deeper than just don't eat pork. God does have reasons why he "says so." God is patient with me in my quest. In seeking, in wanting to know the "why's" I did find out this past week, mixing milk and meat causes gas. God may have a deeper reason behind telling us not to mix the two; but that reason satisfied me as good enough. Someday I may explore more deeper into the spiritual concept of that. But I did find out God cares about our bodies on that fact; and he doesn't want us going around letting off hot air. (not trying to be crude here) I do understand we are to obey God, because he is God. I'm not "trying" his Authority, not at all. He is to be obeyed, I know. (or there is consequences which is a fact) Also benefits like you said. You also brought up because God loves us is why he gave us his commandments, a divine reminder. Thanks again CR, your response has been very helpful!

(36) CR, May 3, 2010 8:54 AM

Response to #9: "Because G-d said so."

G-d created us, including our intertwined physical, emotional and spiritual systems, their makeup and their needs. Keeping G-d's commandments (the 7 Noahide laws for non-Jews and the Torah laws for Jews) "because He said so" fulfills our needs at all levels. We can try to explain some possible reasons for some of the commandments (called ta'amei hamitzvot), but that is not the reason to keep them. If you trust in a benevolent G-d who knows you better than you know yourself, then believe that these commandments are to your benefit, whether you understand it or not. It is said in Jewish sources that eating non-kosher "metamtem et halev" i.e. spoils the good nature of one's heart. One possible explanation I read years ago (NOT the reason to keep kosher!) is that an animal's nature is incorporated in its blood, ("hadam hu hanefesh" - the blood is its life/character) so eating animals that are cruel, aggressive or have other negative traits, will negatively affect the person ingesting them. Just as you cannot understand Einstein's thought processes as he came to develop the Theory of Relativity, but it doesn't bother you because you trust that his intelligence is far superior to yours, so too can you trust that our loving G-d - whose intelligence dwarfs Einstein's beyond our imagination - has reasons for His commandments and that they are for our benefit even if it entails challenges of self-control.

(35) Guy, May 2, 2010 6:16 PM

I try?

We all can say, "I tried!" or "Sometimes", but 100% of anything right? Nope, not me..... I do in fact have my seperate dishes, bought for me by my mother, as well as pots and pans, snd silverware from my grandmother(actually handed down). But, do I keep a TRUE Kosher home, no.... I am so guilty of many times eating the wrong mixes or certain foods that are not to be mixed or even together. I am lazy, pure and simple. A few months ago, Rabbi Smelt had a wonderful little chat about being Kosher, hoe many are, how many even actually practiced Shabbos! it was startling to see the hand NOT go up.... Many folks do not keep a Kosher home, and many also do not even take the time for Shabbos.... I know that it is commanded of us, Hashem has put it clearly to us, but, for me, I suppose I could use a little more pushing... I just saw a show called something like, Chefs of Beverly Hills, cute reality show, well, this one chef got sent to prepare a Kosher meal for the entire family of his new bride. Confused, you should have seen his face when a Rabbi was in the kitchen to approved EVERY single thing he was to prepare and HOW to prepare it and the difference of the two sinks, silverware, utilsils....... you get the picture... I need a BIG push.....I just can not get my lazy butt to get better..... I do however have a wonderful Shabbos every week, even if only me, as I live up in a Volcano in n. California, but, I still do wonderful steps..... It brings me peace, now If I could just get Kosher too, WOW!!! Great video!!!!! Guy in Mt Lassen..... :)

(34) Leah, May 2, 2010 2:11 AM

I keep Kosher because I am commanded to

I know HaShem wants only what is pure for us because we are His people. Kosher food is pure. The animals and seafood we are forbidden to eat are scavengers. Doesn't that say something about why He doesn't want that for us? Even without a reason, we must keep His commandments because He said so.

(33) Marc, April 30, 2010 4:06 PM

Yes

YES - because hashem, the creator of the world, king of kings, master of the universe said so. He knows what is best for me so i'll do exactly as he says. Who begs to differ?

(32) Loren, April 30, 2010 2:32 PM

because G-d said so

Before I became observant, there was nothing I enjoyed more than a succulant lobster dipped in butter or veal parmesan or pepperoni pizza. I always said I would NEVER keep kosher. Now I always say, "Never say never". Then, I gave myself the chance to learn more, and I began to see that there really is a G-d, who runs the world, loves us and knows what's best for us. Even when I had my doubts I figured it was better to err on the side of G-d than not to follow in His ways and, in the end, to find out I was wrong. So, I gave it all up. And I do mean "ALL". I dress modestly, keep the laws of family purity, keep kosher, cover my hair and sent my children (the oldest beginning in High School) to yeshivas. People ask if I miss it. Sometimes I do - but so what? I feel I'm living a holier life. Because G-d said so. And, if I'm wrong - I've lived a more spiritual, ethical life, and raised my children to be moral, responsible and respectful young adults, focused on helping others. No one was hurt, and the world is a better place because of it. But, in the end, I am doing it because I believe it is G-d will.

(31) avigail, April 30, 2010 12:51 AM

Ksoher food can be unhealthy!

I keep kosher because G-d said to. I laugh when people say its more healthy. There's tons of kosher junk food, snacks, desserts etc. to be had!

(30) Alan Drake Tyree, April 29, 2010 8:44 PM

Kosher For Religious Reasons

I am a Noahide, that's wanted to be jewish since 2004. I first stopped eating pork, to try to be more kosher. I must admit, even back then, I found it hard to explain to people around me, who are all Christian, why I stopped eating pork simply because G-d said so. When they believe you not only can, but should eat everything that has a face. I read in R' Benjamin Blech's book, The Idiots Guide To Understanding Judaism, that two cheif rabbi's of Israel are/were vegetarian, and that inspired me. So in about the year 2006 or 2007 I became a vegetarian to be even more kosher, and to fall into the footsteps of these great rabbi's. Since then I have become a vegan, and I've been one for almost a year now. It's still easier to say that I'm a vegan to be healthier, or to lose weight, (which I have lost over 50 pounds already, and I used to be overweight by 20 pounds), or I don't like meat, to avoid an argument where they always think they've won, because their "New Testament" says you don't have to eat meat that's strickly kosher. I've found it easier for them to understand why I want to be kosher now that I wear my Israeli Amry Kippa all the time, (which I got from aishshopping.com, by the way). Now they just think I'm Jewish and don't want to argue with me. I wish I was 100% kosher, but my family is not, that means the dishes, pots, and pans are not, my town (Piedmont) isn't, my state (Alabama) isn't, and I'm pretty sure most of all the South is not kosher. I do plan to move to Israel one day and then surely I can be 100% kosher for the right reason. That's not only something I can think about but it's something to dream about. Next year in Jerusalem! As is said at Passover.

(29) Debora, April 29, 2010 9:31 AM

Kosher is way to go!

I am actually vegetarian, fruit and vegetables are kosher. And when it comes to food, I was DEFINITELY inspired by Bible! Sometimes is hard to explain to ppl that I do it coz G-d says so, they are more likely to accept reasons that include 'it is healthier', or 'better quality' bit.... but yes it is tastier with much blessings!

(28) Melissa, April 29, 2010 7:13 AM

Reason I Keep Kosher

I eat kosher because it is a mitzvah. Before I became a Jew (yes, I am a Jew by choice) I was a vegetarian going through the process to become a vegan. I actually started to eat meat again to keep fully kosher because I felt it more important to keep the mitzvah fully than to be a vegan or vegetarian. I do agree that kosher food is of a higher standard, but I just take it as another perk of fulfilling this mitzvah.

(27) Anonymous, April 28, 2010 6:45 PM

chosen people?

My understanding of the reason for keeping kosher is that we are a holy people as chosen by God, and kashruth reminds us of our holiness every time we eat. I don't buy that. No people are holier than others, any more than certain races are superior to others.

(26) Sydney S. Richman, April 28, 2010 4:03 PM

I found the video very interesting

I keep kosher but it isn't easy. The price of our meat is rediculous here and my husband only likes meat. We ship in from Atlanta but it is still very high.

(25) Anonymous, April 28, 2010 3:16 AM

the torah says so

i eat kosher food because its a mitzva

(24) Anonymous, April 28, 2010 2:49 AM

Kosher is healthier!

Kosher is the way to eat right. G-d didn't suggest that we eat that way, it is a command. And if we remove the fat from the meat and don't eat blood we'll be healthier. Fat does not make the meat better.

(23) Joanne, April 28, 2010 12:34 AM

Like Shabbos kept the Jews, so did Kashrus

If we wish to observe the mitzvos of kashrus, we eat kosher at home and away from home as well. So we eat with other Jews, in kosher homes and restaurants and shuls. This is not for our physical health. To paraphrase an internet joke, there is no Jewish holiday that requires light snacking or healthy eating. Often, it seems quite the opposite. At a recent Passover at a fancy hotel, the food was strictly kosher, but the quantities were obscene, the choices overwhelming. Also, the prices of kosher for Passover food were in the stratosphere. If some many non-Jews are eating kosher food, why do the prices remain so high?

(22) Debbie Litwack, April 27, 2010 10:00 PM

Obesity, CAD and kosher food

Personally I think the kosher food industry is racking in the dough offering us way too many unhealthy things to eat and Shabbas and simchas are only 2 excuses to "pig out" (pardon the words). Look around at your "15%" who eat kosher food because we're observant. There is SO much obesity, coronary artery disease, etc ...we are NOT being observant! Hashem wants us to take care of our bodies that house our souls. Food can be delicious and healthy at the same time. I could go on, but you get the point.

(21) SusanE, April 27, 2010 8:26 PM

Esty... I Did Too.

esty, Thats what happened to me too. I cut out much meat so keeping Kosher was easier. Cholesterol dropped by 32 points and weight came down 27 pounds in two years. I was surprised. Never dieted or restricted intake or amounts. I also ate Mormon for one of those years. No coffee, no alcohol, no tea, so I cut WAY down on sweets and sugars and milk. Sweets were not good without coffee. I used real butter, whole organic milk, and good eggs, and real cheese for those two years. G-d knows us pretty well.. I kept on Kosher for another 3.

(20) rose fishman, April 27, 2010 6:20 PM

fantastic article about keeping kosher

I KEEO KOSHER BECAUSE IT IS G-D'S WILL, AND MINE. I LEARNED THIS FROM MY MOTHER AND HAVE KEPT IT SINCE CHILDHOOD,EVEN THO I WAS THE ONLY JEW IN MOST PLACES THAT I LIVED. THRU HARDSHIP AND IN NEED, FOR ME THERE IS NO OTHERWAY. I AM 80 YEARS YOUNG, AND WILL DO SO UNTIL THE END OF MY TIME. MY KIDS KNOW, AND DO AS THEY PLEASE,BUT THEY KNOW..

(19) bj, April 27, 2010 5:54 PM

I eat kosher for religious reasons

I am trying to keep kosher, being in the stage of buying kosher food but not yet having kashered my kitchen. I do it because G-d said to. I also do it because I feel closer to G-d when I do. With so many mainstream brands being kosher, it is not very hard nor very expensive, especially since I am mostly a vegetarian. All fruits and vegetables are kosher if they are fresh, another thing that makes this easy while feeling good and making me feel connected.

(18) Rabbi Jeffery Feinstein, April 27, 2010 5:05 PM

Why eat Kosher Food

There are several ways to keep mitzvot. The highest level is to do so because G-d told us to. The three things Rabbi Salomon mentions: healthier, better quality, and safety are only benefits derived from observance. If those benefits help us to follow the commandments, B'H.

(17) rivke channaCO, April 27, 2010 4:57 PM

Misleading survey use

as pointed out earlier, this survey was with purchasers of kosher products, not Jews, let alone religious Jews, specificallally. I understand newspeg as jumping-off point for an opinion piece, but this use is misleading. the survey was for processors and packagers and purveyors of kosher food. I do admit I laughed when I read about the survey. Healthier? HA! Coca Cola is kosher. Crisco, transfat in a can, is kosher. I admit I buy tofu that is not kosher, but I have other ethics that come in, buying in the local economy, meat free, (hey, go vegetarian and the milk/meat issue vanishes), and I buy the majority of my food as non processed whole food. (not the grocery) What would be very interesting is a survey of practising Jews and buying habits. (this would have to be with receipt collection rather than self-reporting) in the wake of Agriprocessors, we should look to the real-world meaning of kosher: a rabbi inspects the joint.

(16) buz whelan, April 27, 2010 4:12 PM

You don't have to be Jewish...

I prefer Kosher products because of perceived quality. I'm not Jewish and don't keep Kosher. But I lived my early years in a Jewish neighborhood and through friends learned to love Jewish food. Okay, I eat traif too, I'm not perfect. But give me a kosher chicken, brisket or hot dog.

(15) tali, April 27, 2010 4:12 PM

I eat kosher food because i trulybelieve it cleans out all the junk from my head and makes me see things clearer as a jew. It is a true test for me since i love food and i work in a non jewish environment. I always see non kosher food and as hard as it is for me, i do it because this is part of who i am as a jew and makes me different from others.

(14) miriam, April 27, 2010 3:32 PM

A gradual process

I began keeping a kosher home for my husband who grew up kosher, but I continued to to eat traif in restaurants. As time went by, I graduated to eating kosher-style when eating out. My move to being fully kosher happened suddenly--as an epiphany so to speak. It's not an intellectual "being commanded". More like an emotional awakening. By the way, I have Christian friends who look for kosher foods for personal reasons: they're vegetarian or they're lactose intolerant or have allergies, and need be assured that food does not contain dairy or meat products.

(13) Marlene, April 27, 2010 3:20 PM

think about what you eat

Kosher means 'fit to eat' - keeping kosher can involve thinking ethically about what you eat: having respect for the earth and the lives of animals. God says he loves Israel but he loves the land more. We should regularly leave the land fallow and take care of our beasts. This is part of my interpretation of Kosher. The other part is self-awareness as a Jew.

(12) Rochel, April 27, 2010 3:02 PM

really ksher?

eating kosher meat and cheese together isn't kosher after all! The survey is about what foods they're buying-which isnt always kosher results!!!!

(11) Anonymous, April 27, 2010 2:06 PM

The 7 Principles of blessings in store for those who follow God's commands

I am one of the 15% who is trying to keep kosher for spiritual reasons. If others are trying to keep kosher for other reasons, it doesn't bother me. Honestly, those 70% who are doing this because of health reasons; if they, who don't have to are keeping it, it keeps me on track. I haven't seen any commercial promotions on kosher or billboards advertizing a product or company. This circulates within religious circles. Yes, even non-Orthodox ones. Here is a few reasons why I keep God's commandments: 1) you draw near to God, by keeping his commandments. 2) you keep close family ties (your not cut off from your kin) 3) for God to show himself Holy to you. 4) to be Holy as the Lord God is Holy. 5) you will be set apart for God's purpose by not copying the practices of the foreign land you live in. 6) His Glory is made manifest through you. 7) that the presence of the Lord may appear to you. WOW huh? Yelp! God has blessings instore for us, who follow his commandments. And these are just a few.

(10) esty, April 27, 2010 2:24 AM

I agree with SusanE BUT..

I have been much healthier and lost weight since I begain keeping kosher, or maybe its all those works on shabbos??

(9) Anonymous, April 26, 2010 6:54 PM

"Because I said so"

"God, why can't I eat porkchops? "Because I said so" God why can't I eat BLT's? "Because I said so" God why can't I eat a cheeseburger? "Because I said so" Doesn't God give an explanation besides, because I said so? Iris, I would like to hear what you told the class, hopefully something more spiritual than because God said, "Because I said so" You captured the attention of probable non-Jews, please write.

(8) Iris Moskovitz, April 26, 2010 2:08 PM

Interesting topic choice

I remember from many years ago, my speech teacher in college, who was a devout Catholic, only ate kosher meat and chicken. He had informed the entire class of a very good kosher deli ,and long and behold, a student rose up and announced, "I work there. The food is delicious." I just chuckled inside. I thought the whole scenario was hysterical. I soon revealed that I also ate only kosher as well, because I am an Orthodox Jew, and am commanded to do so. The rest of the class time was a complete discussion about eating kosher, led by yours truly. The entire class found the whole subject very interesting and informative.

(7) TB, April 26, 2010 4:57 AM

RIGHT THING TO DO

I keep kosher. I do it because it is the right thing to do; Hashem commanded us to eat only clean food. The other reasons are nice, and I am sure in commanding us to keep kosher, Hashem knew what was best for us, as we tell our children to eat healthy food and not junk food all the time.

(6) Andy, April 26, 2010 12:33 AM

big scam

as you said the correct reason to eat kosher is because the Torah commands Jews to do it. Advertising has conned many into believing that kosher is healthier or that greater safety standards are enforced. One look at the former Agriprocessers plant will show the falseness of that reasonong. I suspect many of the folks who buy kosher produicts for reasons other than that they are commanded to do so are non Jews who fall for the advertising campaign. As far as I am aware the Torah sages claim no physical benefits to eating kosher and spiritual ones apply solely to Jews

(5) Chavi, April 25, 2010 10:18 PM

Who are the respondents to the survey?

I am quite certain that many (most?) of the respondents to the survey are not even Jewish, so they are not required to eat kosher.They have other, personal considerations in buying kosher products. Jews, however, should do things primarily(exclusively) because it is G-d's will, and not because it makes sense. We do G-d's will even when it does not make sense to us.

(4) SusanE, April 25, 2010 10:17 PM

It's Not Better Food, or Cleaner or Healthier. It's Kosher.

I just told my Dr. that I kept Kosher and he said Kosher diets are filled with fats and cholesterol. (he is Jewish) I don't eat much meat or processed foods so I'm OK, but I didn't know that when I began. I wasn't eating it for nutrition or for good health. I did it because G-d said.. Do this. - - -- - - - - - I think you will find that for the people mentioned in your video, it is the current 'thing' to do, much like people who began running around sucking on a bottle of water a few years ago. The rumor has it Kosher food is better, sort of like the 'organic' food people who think they will eat organic live forever. They don't know exactly what Kosher is and actually they dont care.

(3) Anonymous, April 25, 2010 4:01 PM

Kosher foods popular even with non-Jews

When I go to the supermarket, I do look for the K or U on products. I don't do this for healthy foods only, though they are healthier, but to connect to the Torah. Connecting to God in all his wisdom, when he said what is or what is not kosher. Back then, that is what kepted them alive, strong and healthy. We have came a long way since then, with the processing of foods. However, the wisdom of God is still the same. He says what he says for a very good reason. Companies that process foods that are kosher, I want to support by buying their products, they care what the Torah says and goes to great lengths to abide by it. A Rabbi has to come into the factory and inspect it, to give his approval they are processing the foods kosher. This says alot about those companies! They get my business!

(2) L.S., April 25, 2010 12:36 PM

right reasons!

I agree with you, Rabbi Solomon! However, I feel as if keeping commandments is also easier when there are less stumbling blocks in our path. I find my willpower is stronger in places where there are kosher markets and more kosher restaurants, etc. Also--where in the Torah does it distinguish between kosher and glatt kosher?

(1) s, April 25, 2010 8:33 AM

taking care

Someone along while asked me why to keep kosher if many things are clean now. I said that it's really more for our spiritual health. Anyway, just like there are things that are physically not good for us, there are also things that are spiritually not good for us. Mitzvos help us to connect to G-d, where as sins disconnect us

 

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