The following is the first of a series of articles which will appear from time to time in this section, discussing Kashruth in all its phases.
A discussion on kashruth should first find explanation as to the meaning of the word.
Kashruth is a Hebrew term pertaining to a general condition that finds its basis in the word kosher-meaning pure. Freely translated it stands for the Jewish Dietary Laws, and a complete form of a condition surrounding the ritual observance of laws, in which a kosher food, product, vessel, establishment, etc., is used. For instance, it is to be understood that when buying kosher meat the animal must first be slaughtered in accordance with prescribed laws, which are the most humane, and before the meat may be sold by the butcher, it must undergo thorough examination for freedom from disease. The butcher must know how to remove carefully the trefa veins. This process is called “triebern” or “porchening,” Should the meat remain unsold for more than forty-eight hours, it must be washed. This is known as “begiessen.” When bought by the Jewish housewife, it must be koshered before being cooked. It must be soaked, salted and then thoroughly washed, according to prescribed laws, to remove the blood. Then the meat is kosher, and marks the fulfillment of a strict observance of kashruth.
The literal meaning of the word kosher can not be properly translated into any language. It implies purity and cleanliness.
In the slaughtering of animals or poultry, in the production of wines, the production of certain foods, the supervision of butcher shops, restaurants, catering establishments, etc., rabbinical supervision is necessary in order to mark the individual object as kosher.
There are various objects or religious customs which are described as kosher, some of which are:
The script on a parchment such as a Sefer Torah, Megillah or Mezuzzah, must be perfect. The Tzizith or Kanfoth must be of a prescribed length and number, and should one strand by missing the article would be “possul” nonkosher.
The script in the Botim (boxes) of Tephillin must be perfect, the Botim must be sewed and blackened with kosher ink, as must the leather strips.
A Sukkah must be covered properly and the building must be done according to prescribed regulations. The Arbah Minnim Lulav and Esrog, etc., must be perfect to be called kosher.
A suit of clothes must be made free of Shatness, a law forbidding linen and wool together.