What is the difference between Biblical Kosher and Rabbinic Kosher?
The difference between Biblical Kosher and Rabbinic is actually quite simple. First both follow the laws set forth in the Torah that we do not eat certain animals and they need to be butchered in a certain way. Most of the Animals and conditions are found in Leviticus Chapter 11.
It is interesting to note that all of the animals that God told us not to eat do not have the ability to remove toxins from their bodies. So if they eat something toxic and then you eat them, then you ingest the toxins that are in their body. On the other hand all of the animals that are good to eat are able to remove those toxins from their bodies. Of course God knew this all along, but science is just figuring this out.
So what is the difference between Biblical Kosher and Rabbinic? Interpretation – a great example of this is found in eating meat with dairy. The idea that you can not eat a cheese burger is a Rabbinic teaching. The Biblical reference is found Exodus 23:9 where we are told that we are not to eat a goat that has been boiled in its own mother’s milk.
The Rabbis wanted to make sure the people did not sin so they put a “hedge of protection” around this commandment so they told the people that you could not eat milk and dairy together.
But to really understand what God was saying at the time, you need to look at the commandment in the perspective of history – what was the culture / traditions of the time. The true reason why God did not want us to do this is because revolved around a pagan ritual – if a woman could not get pregnant they would take a goat and cook it in its own mother’s milk and offer it up to their gods.
Please remember that the 603 commandments that are in the Torah are all subcategories of the 10 commandments. This one falls under thou shall have no other Gods before me. So the Biblical interpretation of this is we will not eat an animal that has been cooked in its own mother’s milk. We can eat a cheese burger since we know it was not prepared that way.
This also brings up another interesting point which is that the New Covenant also teaches us to keep Kosher, as Yeshua said in Matthew 5:17-19 that He did not come to abolish the Torah or the Prophets, but to bring them to their fullness. He goes on to say that those who keep the commandment will be considered great in the kingdom of heaven.
We also read in Acts 15 when all the Gentiles started to come to faith in Messiah that they had to stop doing four things.
As Acts 15:20 outlines those things: 1) abstain from pollutions of idols, 2) from fornication, 3) from things strangled, and 4) from blood. Three of the four deals with keeping Kosher.
If a person did not keep Kosher, then they would be considered unclean and a Jewish person could not be around them. If on the other hand, they kept Kosher, then their Jewish brothers in Messiah could be around them and could teach them the Torah. The Gentiles did not go to church back then (there was no Churches only the Synagogues). New followers in Messiah would go to synagogues and learn the commandments as they fellowshipped together. As we see in Act 15:21 For Moses from ages past has those in every city proclaiming him, being read in the synagogues every Sabbath day.
Another point that confuses the Church is the Peter’s vision in Acts chapter 10. This is where it talks about the cloth with unclean animals coming down from Heaven and Yeshua tells him to eat it 3 times, and each time he refuses saying that he has never ate anything that was not Kosher, and even then he does not eat it.
In verse 28 we see that Peter understood that the vision did not have to do with kosher and non-kosher food, but with men as stated above. “And he said to them, You know that it is an unlawful thing for a man, a Jew to keep company with or to come near to one of another nation. But God has shown me not to call any man common or unclean. This is why we still keep the commandment today, but we try to follow what God says and not men.