Kosher refers to foods and practices that follow Jewish dietary laws. For an animal to be considered kosher, it must chew its cud and have split hooves. Additionally, mammals must be slaughtered in a specific ritualistic manner. Here is a quick overview of which animals are kosher and which are not:
Kosher Land Animals
Only certain land animals are kosher. They must have split hooves and chew their cud to be considered kosher. Examples of kosher land animals include:
These animals all have split hooves and chew their cud, meeting the basic requirements for being kosher. They must also be slaughtered properly in order to be eaten.
Non-Kosher Land Animals
Land animals that do not have split hooves and chew their cud are not kosher. Examples include:
Pigs are a notable example, as they have split hooves but do not chew their cud. Therefore, pork is prohibited in kosher diets. Camels chew their cud but do not have split hooves, so they are also forbidden.
When it comes to birds, determining if they are kosher is more complicated. There is no clear defining characteristic like split hooves or cud chewing. Instead, kosher birds are identified by tradition. Birds considered kosher include:
Birds of prey like eagles, hawks, and vultures are not kosher. Neither are waterfowl other than ducks and geese.
For fish to be kosher, they must have fins and scales. This excludes catfish, eel, shark, and other scaleless fish. Examples of kosher fish include:
Shellfish like lobster, crab, shrimp, and oysters are also not kosher because they lack scales and fins.
Other Kosher Considerations
In addition to diet, there are other kosher practices:
- Meat and dairy cannot be mixed or served together
- Separate utensils, dishes, pots, pans etc must be used for meat and dairy
- There must be a waiting period between eating meat and dairy
- Grape products made by non-Jews may not be kosher
Following these laws provides insight into what makes a food or practice kosher. While it can get complicated, the core requirements for animals are splitting hooves, chewing cud, proper slaughter, and identification by tradition.
Kosher Animal Summary
Here is a summary of which animals are kosher and which are not:
Determining if an animal is kosher depends on several factors. Land animals must chew cud and have split hooves. Birds need to be identified by tradition. Fish require fins and scales. Additionally, kosher practices extend beyond just diet with laws about mixing meat and dairy, using separate dishes, and proper slaughter. By following these biblical laws, kosher foods honor Jewish traditions and connect to centuries of history.