Clean, Kosher, or Kashrut?
What’s the difference, and does it matter?
Keeping Kosher -Making Distinctions
Kosher for Fellowship…
As a mixed fellowship of Jew and Gentile who are one (echad) in Yeshua Messiah, we are referred to as “Living Stones”.
“…you yourselves, as living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be cohanim set apart for God to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to him through Yeshua the Messiah.” 2 Peter 2:5 (CJV)
Reading Chapter 2 of the 2nd letter of Peter, in its entirety, gives us a clearer picture that Peter was instructing Believers in how to behave as representatives of Messiah. He reminds us to “Be respectful to all — keep loving the brotherhood, fearing God…”
Kosher for Fellowship…
It is out of this very respect that we address the issue of Eating Kosher when gathering together as a congregation or kehilla (Hebrew: קהילה ) of Believers. Please be mindful that there may be some people in attendance who keep stricter dietary rules than others.
There are many opinions within the body of Messiah as to what is “food” and what is not. Details and traditions aside, we can be certain of at least two things:
- Yeshua kept biblical kashrut, as a real Jewish man. Yeshua did not break the Torah of God or biblical kashrut, but He was often in conflict with the Oral Torah. If Yeshua had not kept kosher, it would, no doubt, have figured as a very significant part of the accusations at His trial; but it did not.
- We also have Yeshua’s own words about following his example:
“Just as my Father has loved me, I too have loved you; so stay in my love. If you keep my commands, you will stay in my love — just as I have kept my Father’s commands and stay in his love. I have said this to you so that my joy may be in you, and your joy be complete.” ~ John 15:9-11 (CJB)
The Torah does contain special regulations relating to the animals which could be used for food (Leviticus 11:1ff; Deuteronomy 14:3-21). The Israelites were also forbidden (treyfah) to use as food anything that had been consecrated to idols (Exodus 34:15) or animals that had died of disease or had been torn by wild beasts (Exodus 22:31; Leviticus 22:8, with other restrictions listed in Exodus 23:19; 29:13-22; Leviticus 3:4-9, 9:18, 19 22:8; Deuteronomy 14:21).
Yeshua was quite critical of the religious leaders of his day. In the gospel of Mark (Chapter 7), Yeshua was dining with some of these leaders.
The P’rushim and the Torah-teachers asked him, “Why don’t your talmidim live in accordance with the Tradition of the Elders, but instead eat with ritually unclean hands?” Yeshua answered them, “Yesha`yahu (Isaiah) was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites — as it is written, `These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far away from me. Their worship of me is useless, because they teach man-made rules as if they were doctrines.’ “You depart from God’s command and hold onto human tradition. Indeed,” he said to them, “you have made a fine art of departing from God’s command in order to keep your tradition! (~Complete Jewish Bible)
So, we (as Congregation Beth Yeshua Australia) graciously request that when we come together to fellowship over food, at a Feast of the Lord, or for Oneg Shabbat, that you are mindful that there may be some people who keep stricter dietary rules than others. Please do not bring items containing: pork, shellfish, or any item you know not to be Biblically Kosher. If in doubt, fresh fruit and cut-up raw vegetables (like carrots, celery and cucumber etc.) are a safe option.
For our outreach to Menorah Charities (such as the annual gift of Purim Baskets – Mishloach manot), we ask that you please ensure that any food items donated are Rabbinically Kosher (meaning that they meet the guidelines set out by the Kashrut Authority of Australia. We do this from a heart of love, and respect them as Children of God, and as a sign of respect for their adherance to their beliefs and traditions, and so as not to stumble a brother or sister in the LORD.