Summary Lesson 22: The Word of Wisdom: “A Principle With Promise”
- The First Word of Wisdom: In the Garden of Eden, there was a law of health, things you should and should not eat. The Lord gave the Children of Israel a law of health. The Jews call it the correct way, Kashrut or being kosher. The Kashrut has been modified throughout the ages, yet basics still remain from Mount Sinai.
- What is Kosher: Some Jews will not eat meat because there are no sacrifices and the meat cannot be prepared in the correct way. Others will only eat meat that is kosher, that is, slaughtered as prescribed in the Law of Moses. “The dietary laws affect a Jew every day of his life and aim to insure that the holiness of the Jewish nation will be preserved through the consumption of food which is fit and proper.”
- Fruits, Vegetables, Animals, Birds, Fish, Insects: All fruits and vegetables are permitted. However, there are certain limitations on the drinking of wine. On the basis of the unclean birds mentioned in the Bible, the rabbis of the Talmud compiled a list of 24 birds which are forbidden, among them birds of prey such as the vulture, raven, eagle and hawk. A fish is considered ‘clean’ if it has fins and scales . . . unclean fish which are forbidden are shellfish such as lobster, clams, shrimp and oysters. Nearly all insects are considered unclean and may not be eaten. It is therefore important to carefully clean . . . vegetables where insects are apt to hide (such as cabbage, cauliflower and romaine lettuce) . . . to be sure . . . insects will not be eaten with the vegetable. Although the bee is a forbidden insect, its honey is permitted . . .
- Slaughtering and Forbidden Portions: The many complex and minute regulations about how an animal or bird may be slaughtered make it necessary that a carefully trained and licensed shohet perform the slaughter. Certain unclean portions must be removed before the animal may be prepared for eating. The sciatic nerve and the fatty portions (helev) attached to the stomach and intestines of the animal are among these parts which are forbidden to be eaten.
- Milk and Meat: The Torah commands: ‘Thou shalt not cook a kid goat in its mother’s milk,’ a command from which three distinct prohibitions are learned: cooking meat and milk together, eating meat and milk together, and deriving any benefit from their mixture. Separate cooking utensils, dishes and cutlery (must) be used for dairy and meat respectively. These must be washed separately and stored separately.
- Martyrs Faithfully Observe Dietary Laws: “Second century B.C.E. Jews chose to die rather than eat the unclean foods which the Greeks forced upon them. In peril of their lives, Jews carried out the laws of ritual slaughter during the Crusades. The Marranos of the Inquisition, the Cantonists of Czarist Russia, and the inmates of Nazi concentration camps all remained steadfastly faithful to the laws of Kashrut, despite all threats.”(Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)
- Daniel’s Example: It is clear that the biblical account of Daniel shows his humble dedication to the Lord’s principles of proper living. His unswerving obedience to the “Word of Wisdom” is an example for many people today who are committed to keeping the Lord’s health code.