When John and I are asked if we ‘keep kosher,’ our response is, “Yes, we keep the scriptural kosher instructions.” By this, we mean that we obey the commands concerning food as given in Torah, but we do not follow the rabbinic (Talmudic) traditions that have become so important to orthodox Jews.
When most people think of ‘keeping kosher,’ they envision the many rabbinic laws having to do with the storage, preparation and consumption of food: no dairy products may be eaten with meat; utensils used to prepare dairy products must not be used to prepare meat products and vice versa; all food must be perfectly unblemished; etc. There are literally hundreds of such rabbinic customs and traditions. Not one of them is found in YHVH’s Word! They are man-made, and they unnecessarily burden those bound by them.  Such ‘commands’ are in direct violation of YHVH’s specific instructions to neither add to nor take away from His instructions. (Deut 12:32, etc.) His food-related commands, on the other hand, are few and very simple to comply with.
Most of the instructions that YHVH gives us concerning food are found in
Chapter 11 of the Book of Leviticus.
I italicized the word food to draw attention to this fact: If a creature does not appear on the list of ‘clean’ animals, it quite literally is NOT food! When scripture talks about food, it is referring only to the clean animals listed in Leviticus 11.
For example, if you and I were chatting and I referred to food, you would certainly not envision rubber bands or sawdust, because those items do not fit into your accepted category of food. In the same way, if you were talking with Y’shua about food, He would not envision pork or shrimp – they simply do not fit into His accepted category of food!
Clean and Unclean
The instructions about ‘clean and unclean’ have apparently been known to Man since the days of Adam, for we find that Noah (born only a few generations after Adam) was already aware of which animals YHVH considered to be clean and unclean for the purpose of sacrifices,  since He gives no explanation.
Before the Flood, YHVH instructed Noah to take a single pair of each kind of creature on the ark, except in the case of ‘clean’ animals, of which he was to take seven pairs.  Scripture implies that YHVH did not have to explain to Noah the difference between clean and unclean – he already knew.
After the flood, when farmed crops were temporarily unavailable and Noah had to rely on meat for food, all YHVH had to do was tell him to refrain from blood and eat only the clean animals. No further explanation was necessary – Noah already knew which animals were considered clean.
Our Loving Father has Provided a Feast – Only the Best for His Children!
As we read YHVH’s instructions about food in light of modern scientific knowledge, we are amazed, touched and blessed! YHVH has created His list of food with our health and well-being first and foremost in His Loving Mind!
♦ The creatures that we are instructed to consider as food are those which eat only strong, healthy living things, thus storing in their bodies the best and highest quality nutrients. They are clean.
♦ The animals that are eliminated from consideration as food are:
◊ Those which typically carry diseases, parasites and toxins that can be transmitted to humans, or
◊ Those which YHVH has purposely designed to clean the earth of debris, corruption (dead things) and disease-causing situations. Such creatures process and store in their bodies the toxins and parasites that we don’t want to come anywhere near! They are filthy – literally unclean!
In Leviticus 11, YHVH is not ‘laying down the law’ or putting good and desirable things off-limits just to test our faith: He is instructing His beloved children as to what is good for them to eat and what is NOT good for them to eat. Praise Him!
There is much more to the concept of Kosher than “The Leviticus List”
In the King James Version of the Scriptures, the word clean (Heb הוֹר tahore) is used 133 times in 117 verses. The word unclean (Heb טָמֵא tahmay) is used 194 times in 158 verses. In comparison, the word Sabbath – a topic very near and dear to YHVH’s heart – is used 134 times in 116 verses. It is apparent that the topic of ‘clean and unclean’ is also very near and dear to YHVH’s heart.
This is only to be expected: YHVH is righteous, and He uses cleanliness as a symbol of His righteousness.
What is man, that he should be clean? And he which is born of a woman, that he should be righteous? Job 15:14
The righteous also shall hold on his way, and he that hath clean hands shall be stronger and stronger. Job 17:9
The fear of YHVH is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of YHVH are true and righteous altogether. Psa 19:9
These references to cleanliness include not only our food, but also our clothing, our interpersonal relationships, and essentially every aspect of our lives. We would suggest that the reader should do his own topical study of clean and unclean. As we did our own study, we discovered an underlying principle: YHVH desires that His people will be ‘clean’ in all their ways.
SET APART – Kadosh
It’s tempting to think that the ‘Old’ Testament doesn’t apply to us. The world has changed so much! The ancients farmed or tended livestock; we sit at desks and computers or drive vehicles, etc. They grew their own food organically, but our food has been altered and affected substantially by ‘science,’ and we obtain it through a long chain of intermediaries. They wove their own fabrics from materials they had grown themselves (or purchased from someone they knew), but we shop endlessly for clothing made from chemical compounds and assembled by machines. After work hours, they met in family units to tell stories, sing songs and play group games, but we go to movies or play computer games or watch TV.
But things really haven’t changed that much. It may be tempting to think that the OT doesn’t apply to us, but we would be foolish to give into that temptation! The PRINCIPLE of spiritual cleanliness applies just as much in our own world as it did in the world of the ancient Hebrew!
It is as important for modern believers to be distinguishable from the sin-driven world system as it ever was for the ancient Hebrews to be ‘set apart’ from the pagans who surrounded them. It is perhaps even more important, since we hope to be the generation of the spotless Bride who welcomes her Bridegroom at His Return!
How Torah Keeps us ‘Kosher’
To be set apart, or kadosh, is to be reserved for special use. At your house, you may have a special chair that is reserved ‘just for Dad,’ or you may have a set of dishes that ONLY gets used for special occasions. These items are ‘kadosh‘ in the sense that they have been set apart for very specific purposes – purposes of honor. The dog isn’t allowed to sit on that particular chair, but If he did, you’d wipe it down. You wouldn’t dream of putting one of those special dishes under a plant pot, but if someone else were to ignorantly misuse that special dish, you’d carefully clean it and replace it in its protective cabinet. These things are kadosh.
Long ago, when a kadosh farmer or shepherd found it necessary to handle the carcass of a dead animal, there were Torah regulations that instructed him how to clean himself and how to protect his family from possible infections. The instructions reminded him that he had been set apart for the sacred use of YHVH and that he was to treat himself accordingly. He was to be consecrated to YHVH, just as YHVH had consecrated Himself to His people.
For I am YHVH that bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: ye shall therefore be holy [Heb. Kadosh – set apart], for I am holy. Lev 11:45
Today, Torah still reminds US of our own consecration. When we come across something that sullies our minds or bodies, we too can look to Scripture to find the effective way to ‘cleanse’ the effects of that contact. If it is a matter of the mind or heart, perhaps we need to offer a prayer of repentance, acknowledging Y’shua’s sacrifice already offered in our behalf. If it is a physical matter, perhaps all we need to do is give our hands a careful cleaning and make a change of clothing.
But perhaps the most important thing we can do is to remind ourselves – as the ancients did – that we belong to YHVH. As His possessions, we have no right to allow ourselves to dabble with things that will impart their uncleanness to us or to those around us: such things as pornography; ‘entertainment’ featuring witchcraft, demons and violence; novels and books reveling in lust and power; vulgar language; suggestive dancing and provocative clothing; gluttony; greed; acquisitiveness and preoccupation with the satisfaction of needs and desires; etc. These things are all part of the enemy’s attempt to draw us away from consecration to the Holy YHVH.
Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Messiah with Belial? Or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. [Ref: Lev. 26:12; Jer. 32:38; Ezek. 37:27] Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. 2 Corinthians 6:14-18
A Clean Heart Comes First
This act of setting ourselves apart from the values of the world system does not in itself make us clean. Being set apart is the result of a cleansed heart. Our actions come from the heart. When our hearts are right before Him, we do not desire to participate in the things that grieve Him. He places a new heart in us, so that it becomes natural for us to desire to do those things that please Him.
Y’shua taught us:
Don’t you know that the food you put into your mouth goes into your stomach and then out of your body? But the words that come out of your mouth come from your heart. And they are what make you unfit to worship God. Out of your heart come evil thoughts, murder, unfaithfulness in marriage, vulgar deeds, stealing, telling lies, and insulting others. These are what make you unclean. Eating without washing your hands will not make you unfit to worship God. Matt 15:17-20 CEV 
Y’shua was teaching us that our attention to cleanliness (Torah) does not make us clean: it is only symbolic. It demonstrates that we are clean in our hearts – that we have chosen to live in accordance with YHVH’s standard of righteousness – His Torah. In the same way, unclean behavior demonstrates that we are unclean in our hearts.
This was just as true in biblical days as it is today. The symbolism is potent: it reminds us of our responsibility to remain Holy [Heb. Kadosh: consecrated for the sole use of YHVH], and it identifies us as YHVH’s particular people, bringing Him honor and glory in an unclean world.
That’s what ‘kosher’ is really all about: By ‘keeping kosher’ in every aspect of our lives, we demonstrate His character in a soiled and tattered world. By this we give Him true Worth-ship, and He receives the obedience, honor and acknowledgement that He deserves!
We find great joy in doing what pleases the Master by following Torah. It is not at all burdensome, but is instead a precious reminder that we belong to Him and have been set apart for His service – and there is no more delightful knowledge than that!
Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Psalm 51:10
© Sue Wyatt and The Lamb’s Servant Blog, 2015. Permission to use and/or duplicate original material on The Lamb’s Servant Blog is granted, provided that full and clear credit is given to Sue Wyatt and The Lamb’s Servant Blog, with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
 A central rabbinic tradition is that meat and dairy cannot be prepared using the same utensils, and that they cannot be eaten at the same meal. In fact, according to this regulation, if you eat a cheese pizza, you must wait a prescribed amount of time before eating a steak, or you risk mixing meat and dairy in your stomach! This regulation is based on Ex 23:19b: Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother’s milk. The true intent of this passage may have been to warn the Israelites against practicing a pagan ritual that was used among the Canaanites to worship their goddess, or it may have been a symbolic way of expressing the idea of refusing to take what was meant to be life-giving and a blessing, but using it for harm instead. In either case, this passage had nothing to do with what Israelites were permitted to eat in their daily diet. In fact, in Gen 18:8, we are told that righteous Abraham … took butter, and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them [the angels of YHVH!]; and he stood by them under the tree, and they did eat. Had this been against Torah, the angels would certainly have instructed Abraham that they could not eat these things simultaneously!
 Gen 7:2, Gen 7:8, Gen 8:20, etc. For a more thorough discussion of this topic, please see our article, Evidence that Torah Was Given to All Men at Creation.
 In Scripture, the number seven always denotes completeness and perfection. Y’shua was born in the 7th month of YHVH’s calendar; blood was sprinkled on the altar seven times, etc.
 If you read this passage (Mark 7:17-20) in the NIV translation, you’ll notice an additional sentence in verse 19: “For it doesn’t go into their heart but into their stomach, and then out of the body.” (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods clean.)” That sentence about Jesus declaring all foods clean is an addition – it is not found in the vast majority of the manuscripts. Apparently a few scribes wanted to make sure that their idea of ignoring Torah was ‘supported’ by scripture.