Friday, June 25, 2010

Kosher Killing (1)

When I wrote my article about Halal slaughtering of meat, some farmers asked if Kosher killing would be a better approach. Some wanted to bless Israel, while others believed that Kosher meat could be sold into the Middle East. The next couple of posts will contain my response.

The main requirement of Kosher killing is that the animal must be killed instantly allowing all the blood to flow swiftly out of the body. This requires one clean cut of a knife with no pause, stabbing, tearing or slanting. A blow to the head is forbidden. Electric stunning has not generally been permitted.

Once the animal is dead, the meat must be "porged" by removing all blood vessels. For this reason it is often only the forequarters that are consumed. The hind quarters have a large number of blood vessels that are difficult to remove.

The meat must be certified as Kosher by a Rabbi.

Kosher killing is not as serious as Halal slaughtering. It does not involve any prayer, so it is not a form of direct idolatry. However, there are several problems with Christian farmers allowing their livestock to be slaughtered using Kosher methods in order to supply Israel with meat.

  1. The requirements of Kosher killing are rooted in the biblical commands that we should not eat any blood or any animal that is dead.

    You must not eat meat that has its lifeblood still in it. (Genesis 9:4)
    Any Israelite or any alien living among you who hunts any animal or bird that may be eaten must drain out the blood and cover it with earth (Lev 17:13).
    God gave these commands to ensure good hygiene in the handling of meat. In a hot country, it would be risky to eat dead animals or meat that was not drained of its blood. Draining the blood once an animal has been slaughtered is sound practice for minimising the risk of disease.

  2. Unfortunately, the kosher requirements go beyond biblical requirements. Scripture only requires that meat be drained of blood (Leviticus 17:13). There is no command that the blood vessels themselves should be removed. This is another case of human tradition being added onto the Word of God. Jesus had strong words against those who use the traditions of men to nullify the word of God. The kosher requirements are a form of Jewish legalism. By submitting to these requirements we are nullifying the word of God and by submitting to a spirit of legalism.

    You nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that (Mark 7:13).

  3. Jesus was critical of the Pharisees excessive zeal for the food laws.

    Are you so dull?" he asked. "Don't you see that nothing that enters a man from the outside can make him 'unclean'? 19For it doesn't go into his heart but into his stomach, and then out of his body." In saying this, Jesus declared all foods "clean" (Mark 7:19-20).
    Since Jesus declared all foods clean, we must be careful about complying with a different standard.

  4. All the meat that is slaughtered in New Zealand is allowed to bleed. We do not need a rabbi or priest to tell us what meat is clean and what is not.

    You have made them to be a kingdom and priests
    to serve our God,and they will reign on the earth (Rev 5:10).
    The Holy Spirit is able to teach us what is good and bad, because he is living within us. No human authority should be allowed to usurp his role.

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