Um … Pork May Actually Be OK Now
New scholarly finding threatens to upend kosher laws
Hard to know how to preface this, so let’s just dive in: Cliff Stern, an independent scholar based out of Brooklyn, has determined—seemingly conclusively—that pork and shellfish are kosher, while all that we thought was kosher—poultry, red meat, and fish with scales—is not. Crucially, rabbis of several denominations, in both the United States and Israel, have endorsed Stern’s findings. Basically: Scavenging good; chewing cud bad. Get used to it, I guess?
Reached by phone, Stern explained that a newly uncovered document from an archaeological site in the Negev reveals that Jews have been reading and interpreting the laws of kashrut—originally set out in the Torah itself—all wrong, for approximately 2500 years. “Around the time of Ezra, that’s when the misinterpretation occurred,” he said. “Back then, the Jewish tribes would eat pork and forego most other sources of protein. At some point,” he added, “a rather clumsy rabbi misread the injunctions and announced that everyone had been doing it all wrong—at which point he ‘corrected’ things to the way they are now, with pork and lobster and what-not outlawed, and cow and chicken okay.”
Rabbi Judah Rosenthal, an Orthodox scholar in Jerusalem, tentatively confirmed Stern’s finding. “It makes sense, in a way,” he told me. “Now we know why they sacrificed lambs: They weren’t allowed to eat it.”
The good (or bad?) news is that Passover rules are unaffected by this news: During the eight-day festival later this month, Jews are still prohibited from eating dough that has been raised. “Of course that’s the same,” Stern laughed. “That’s just logical.” On the contrary: Nothing seems logical anymore.
Pork: The Other Kosher Meat [Wnet]
Daily rate: $2
Monthly rate: $18
Yearly rate: $180
WAIT, WHY DO I HAVE TO PAY TO COMMENT?
Tablet is committed to bringing you the best, smartest, most enlightening and entertaining reporting and writing on Jewish life, all free of charge. We take pride in our community of readers, and are thrilled that you choose to engage with us in a way that is both thoughtful and thought-provoking. But the Internet, for all of its wonders, poses challenges to civilized and constructive discussion, allowing vocal—and, often, anonymous—minorities to drag it down with invective (and worse). Starting today, then, we are asking people who'd like to post comments on the site to pay a nominal fee—less a paywall than a gesture of your own commitment to the cause of great conversation. All proceeds go to helping us bring you the ambitious journalism that brought you here in the first place.
I NEED TO BE HEARD! BUT I DONT WANT TO PAY.
Readers can still interact with us free of charge via Facebook, Twitter, and our other social media channels, or write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Each week, we’ll select the best letters and publish them in a new letters to the editor feature on the Scroll.
We hope this new largely symbolic measure will help us create a more pleasant and cultivated environment for all of our readers, and, as always, we thank you deeply for your support.