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What is Kosher & Why Keep It?

JDCC invited Rabbi Yale Butler to come and speak about Kashrut (Kosher). He opened the floor with an invitation to everyone to ask a question so that he would be able to incorporate everyone's questions into the lecture.

First of all, as Jews, we believe that we received the Torah (Five Books of Moses and the Oral Law and their explanations) from G-d on Mount Sinai over 2,000 years ago. There are 613 Rules or laws or "mitzvots" in the Torah that we are supposed to abide by. However, it is impossible for each individual person to keep them all because there are laws that apply to specific situations such as men, women, children, Cohanim, and to the Land of Israel. But as a nation we can keep them all.

In the Torah, it says three times: "You shall not cook a goat in as mother's milk and meat together. From here, we learn:

  1. We can not cook milk and meat together.

  2. We can not use it or have any benefits from such mixtures.

  3. We can not eat it.
From here, we learn the basic source for the laws of Kosher. The Rabbis have made a "fence" around the laws so that we won't make mistakes. Therefore, we have separate dishes and racks for milk and meat. When we do make a mistake, we have to call a Rabbi and find out what to do because he is well-learned and knows what the laws are for every situation.

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