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Switch to Forum Live View Foods forbidden or sometimes restricted by religions
4 years ago  ::  Jan 22, 2011 - 1:38AM #1
DotNotInOz
Posts: 6,833

Perhaps partially due to my having been raised Catholic during the era of meatless Fridays, I think that religious food taboos or restrictions imposed by clerics or dogma are silly. If an individual chooses to abstain from a food or foods for religious reasons or spiritual purification, fine. I've no problem with such a personal choice although I've only rarely felt inclined to do something of the sort.


Why would any deity care what people eat or when as long as they're eating relatively healthfully and not being cannibals or something else horrific like that?


For one thing, we've no idea on what day of the week Jesus died, so no meat on Friday was merely a tradition to hallow the day Christ was presumed to have died. Never did make any sense to me that it was okay to eat fish and other seafood but no meat or poultry. In fact, as I got older and learned that the fish was often recognized as a symbol for Jesus, it made less sense that we could eat all sorts of fish on Friday.


And then, after I abandoned Catholicism, the church declared that God apparently no longer cared what Catholics ate on Fridays. So, eating meat on Friday became fine and suddenly was no longer a mortal sin, one which you'd go to hell for if you died without confessing or expressing sincere sorrow for it.


Even though I've studied the several theories about the supposed logical reasons for Jewish dietary laws, those make even less sense, depending upon how various rabbis and each branch of Judaism regards their observance.


A Jew can be thoroughly observant by keeping strict kosher at home and eating whatever s/he wishes outside the home. In fact, I know Jews who gorge on shrimp and lobster in restaurants, because they wouldn't dare bring a speck of either into their homes. I cannot begin to comprehend why observing at least the spirit of the law where one cannot observe to the letter wouldn't be simple to do with a bit of self-discipline. Some do, but most I know eat like gentiles everywhere but at temple events or at home.


I recall being invited to a Hadassah meeting at an non-kosher restaurant once where the dishes served were spirit-kosher (no dairy with meat and no pork, shellfish or other forbidden ingredients) even though the restaurant was decidedly not kosher. When I asked if this was a customary location with typical fare, the lady across from me glanced down the table to where her rabbi's wife sat and then leaned over to explain quietly, "We usually order off the regular menu here since the rabbi's wife typically cannot come to meetings. However, because she's here, we're keeping kosher as much as we can for this meeting."


Does that seem hypocritical to you? I certainly thought so.


What do you think about religious food taboos or restrictions? Worthwhile, unnecessary or just plain silly?

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4 years ago  ::  Jan 22, 2011 - 9:31AM #2
Jm8
Posts: 784
> Why would any deity care what people eat or when as long as they're eating relatively healthfully and not being cannibals or something else horrific like that?

Why exceptions? Either deity cares or not. In the latter case, everything goes, no?

Restrictions should have meaningful basis. Vedic dietary prescriptions/restrictions are based on the triguna system which classifies all foods into three categories depending on their nature and effect. See Bhagavad gita 14, 17. Everyone can decide his life's direction and choose appropriate foods.

"Tell me what you eat and I'll tell you who you're."


Hope this helps. Hare Krsna
Your servant, bh. Jan

www.vrindavan-dham.com
www.veda.harekrsna.cz

dvaitaM bandhAya mokSAt prAk prApte bodhe manISayA
bhaktyarthaM kalpitam dvaitaM advaitAd api sundaram

"Duality is bondage before moksa and wisdom after realization. The duality accepted for the purpose of bhakti is sweeter than even non-duality." (from mangalacarana to Advaitasiddhi sara sangraha by Madhusudana Sarasvati, former advaitin)
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4 years ago  ::  Jan 22, 2011 - 1:14PM #3
DotNotInOz
Posts: 6,833

Jan 22, 2011 -- 9:31AM, Jm8 wrote:

Restrictions should have meaningful basis. Vedic dietary prescriptions/restrictions are based on the triguna system which classifies all foods into three categories depending on their nature and effect. See Bhagavad gita 14, 17. Everyone can decide his life's direction and choose appropriate foods.


 "Tell me what you eat and I'll tell you who you're."



Would you kindly summarize if possible what the three categories include and why?


Also, please explain the reasons for the restrictions if those are not clarified by the summaries I've requested.


I'm recovering from major surgery currently and find the Bhagavad Gita texts online difficult to comprehend at the moment. I also haven't the background to understand their application, if any, in terms of food choices for anyone but Hindus.


The religions I'm familiar with seem mostly to restrict certain foods because they wish their members to be distinctive or because such restrictions are long-held traditions. There was no health-related reason, for instance, for the Catholic dictate that healthy adults must fast lightly on certain days. It was to be done solely for religious reasons.

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4 years ago  ::  Jan 22, 2011 - 2:48PM #4
Jm8
Posts: 784
Overviews:

veda.harekrsna.cz/library/Triguna.zip

www.veda.harekrsna.cz/encyclopedia/gunas... (Java applet)

No hurry, take your time. If you can't read online, get a printed BG.

re fasting:

From the material pov fasting accompanied with healthy (sattvic) eating improves insulin responsiveness, lowers blood cholesterol and prolongs life span. It helps improve the mental stability of people suffering from anxiety and depression, detoxifies the body, cleanses the blood and improves the functioning of kidneys and liver. It also saves money, esp. in the long run.

From the spiritual pov fasting on holy days is meant to save time and to make mind peaceful and able to focus on spiritual activities to be done during these holy days. There must be a determination. Without it mind will be even more restless than without fasting and the purpose will be defeated.

The main Vaishnava fasting day (comes twice a month): www.veda.harekrsna.cz/encyclopedia/ekada...

Hope this helps. Hare Krsna
Your servant, bh. Jan

www.vrindavan-dham.com
www.veda.harekrsna.cz

dvaitaM bandhAya mokSAt prAk prApte bodhe manISayA
bhaktyarthaM kalpitam dvaitaM advaitAd api sundaram

"Duality is bondage before moksa and wisdom after realization. The duality accepted for the purpose of bhakti is sweeter than even non-duality." (from mangalacarana to Advaitasiddhi sara sangraha by Madhusudana Sarasvati, former advaitin)
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4 years ago  ::  Jan 23, 2011 - 10:07PM #5
Pam34
Posts: 2,682

A Jew can be thoroughly observant by keeping strict kosher at home and  eating whatever s/he wishes outside the home. In fact, I know Jews who  gorge on shrimp and lobster in restaurants, because they wouldn't dare  bring a speck of either into their homes. I cannot begin to comprehend  why observing at least the spirit of the law where one cannot observe  to the letter wouldn't be simple to do with a bit of self-discipline.  Some do, but most I know eat like gentiles everywhere but at temple  events or at home.


 


Excuse me, but a Jew who eats whatever they wish outside the home is absolutely NOT 'thoroughly observant'. I also know people who eat shellfish 'out' but not at home, and while that might not be a rare thing, it is also most definitely not being 'observant'. It's being humanly inconsistent - but such a person is not 'observant' and doesn't 'keep kosher' - they keep their HOME kosher, so that their more observant relatives and friends can feel comfortable eating there (and that is not a bad thing).


 


Also, you just happen to know a set that has that habit - it's more common among the Baby Boomer set - the younger generation tends to return to a higher level of observance, more like their grandparents.


 


As for the laws of kashrut themselves - it is indeed a 'discipline': it makes a person consider what they eat, and when, and how. In my opinion, that's mostly what it is 'for'. We aren't to eat 'like animals', who consume whatever is available, whenever it is available. Instead, the table is like a 'small altar' - we sanctify or make holy, the act of eating, by practicing mindful eating. Keeping kosher (both at home, and - ideally - away from home) is mindful food consumption.

Blessed are You, HaShem, Who blesses the years.
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4 years ago  ::  Jan 26, 2011 - 1:47AM #6
NahumS
Posts: 1,791

Observing dietary restrictions is also a matter of group identity. By partially or selectively observing kosher laws, some less-than-observant Jews maintain a relationship with their people and community.


The situation with the rabbi's wife was somewhat humorous, but it was an attempt to make someone they respected feel comfortable. That is not entirely a bad thing.


As an observant Jew who wouldn't have more than canned fruit or a cup of coffee in a non-kosher restaurant, it would be easy for me to poke fun at these women. But their desire to show respect, or at least avoid embarrassmant, means that they somehow affirm the value of these laws that have spiritually nurtured the Jewish people and preserved their identity for millennia.

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4 years ago  ::  Jan 26, 2011 - 7:59AM #7
Pam34
Posts: 2,682

What Nahum said. I know a rabbi who eats 'out' (is a guest in other's homes) and although she eats meat at home, she won't eat it 'out' - and what I admire about how she goes about this discipline of hers, is she never ever says anything to anybody about their level of kashrut (in the sense of investigating their kitchen) but instead has salad and coffee or tea, or perhaps fruit - and thus places the mitzvah of community above the details of other people's specific kosher practice - in this way, division of the community is avoided and no one is embarassed or upset - or worse, marginalized.


 


 

Blessed are You, HaShem, Who blesses the years.
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4 years ago  ::  Jan 26, 2011 - 4:30PM #8
icechamp31
Posts: 56

I am a Muslim and I am forbidden to consume any pork or alcohol.  It can be quite difficult because I cannot eat any thing that contains alcohol in it (such as a dish with white wine).  Gelatin sometimes contain pork thus I cannot eat products containing regular gelatin, such as marshmallows, jello and liquid gel pain killers.  Many Muslims only eat halal meat, which was slaughtered in a certain way similar to Kosher, although Kosher meat is allowed as well.  Although I eat some non-halal meat, such as steak and poultry, it still is sometimes hard for me to eat out.

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4 years ago  ::  Jan 27, 2011 - 6:00PM #9
Pam34
Posts: 2,682

Eating out is a major challenge outside the bigger cities where there are significant Jewish and/or Muslim communities. (It only works one way for us, unfortunately - kosher meat only). One either a) moves or b) goes to great lengths and major expense to get kosher meat or c) modifies one's level of kashrut - either by going vegetarian or such makeshifts as eating out but only having salad, or fish, or fruit.


 


Or never eating out at all, which is rather sad - although I know people who do it (or don't do it!)


 


One thing I have found in life, and it applies broadly to everything people do:


If people truly want to do something, they will find a way to do it. And UNLESS they truly want to do something, they will find a way to avoid it.


 


 


 

Blessed are You, HaShem, Who blesses the years.
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4 years ago  ::  Jan 28, 2011 - 1:47AM #10
moksha8088
Posts: 5,038

My doctor says to not eat salty foods.  Perhaps he has a God complex.

Cry Heaven and let loose the Penguins of Peace
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