What is The Purpose of Kashrut?


What is The Purpose of Kashrut?

Traditional and modern commentators have offered various explanations as to why particular fish, poultry, and animals are considered tahor (“ritually pure”) and therefore acceptable to eat.

What is The Purpose of Kashrut?

But perhaps more important than the meaning of each of the details of the prohibitions is the simple fact that we are given a list of dos and don’ts that govern what we are to consume daily.

According to the Torah, God asks that we abstain from eating certain foods, not because they are unhealthy or intrinsically problematic, but simply as an expression of our devotion. As with other chukim (laws that the rabbinic sages define as being without rational explanation), these prohibitions are like the requests of a beloved: we may not understand them, but we are, in essence, asked to follow them purely as an expression of our love. Daily, the observance of kashrut calls us back to a personal relationship with God.

The laws of kashrut offer a Jewish spiritual discipline that is rooted in the concrete choices and details of daily life — to be practiced in an area that seems most “mundane.”

In fact, part of the beauty of kashrut is that regardless of our age, personal interests, or geographic location, we all eat, and most of us do so several times a day. While we may sometimes choose to dine alone, eating is almost universally enjoyed as a social activity.

A spiritual discipline around eating is one that carries the clear message that spirituality is about far more than what we do in synagogue and on holidays; it extends into every area of our lives, every single day.