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Honey

Since honey is produced by bees, and bees are not a kosher species, how can honey be kosher?

The Aish Rabbi Replies:

The Talmud (Bechoros 7b) asks your very question! The Talmud bases this question on the principle that “whatever comes from a non-kosher species is non-kosher, and that which comes from something kosher is kosher.”

So why is bee-honey kosher? One answer offered by the Talmud is because even though bees bring the nectar into their bodies, the resultant honey is not a 'product' of their bodies. It is stored and broken down in their bodies, but not produced there. (see Shulchan Aruch Y.D. 81:8)

A second answer offered by the Talmud is that it is simply a Torah decree – which may be inferred from the wording of Leviticus 11:21. In other words, although bees do contribute to the honey-making process, by transforming the nectar into honey, the Torah explicitly permits honey regardless.

By the way, the Torah (in several places such as Exodus 13:5) praises the Land of Israel as "flowing with milk and honey." But it may surprise you to know that the honey mentioned in the verse is actually referring to date and fig honey (see Rashi there)!

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