Online Encyclopedia

KOSHER, or KASHER (Hebrew clean, righ...

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V15, Page 916 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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KOSHER, or KASHER (Hebrew clean, right, or fit), the Jewish term for any food or vessels for food made ritually fit for use, in contradistinction to those pasul, unfit, and terefah, forbidden. Thus the vessels used at the Passover are " kosher," as are also new metal vessels bought from a Gentile after they have been washed in a ritual bath. But the term is specially used of meat slaughtered in accordance with the law of Moses. The schochat or butcher must be a devout Jew and of high moral character, and be duly licensed by the chief rabbi. The slaughtering—the object of which is to insure the complete bleeding of the body, the Jews being forbidden to eat blood—is done by severing the windpipe with a long and razor-sharp knife by one continuous stroke backwards and forwards. No unnecessary force is permitted, and no stoppage must occur during the operation. The knife is then carefully examined, and if there be the slightest flaw in its blade the meat cannot be eaten, as the cut would not have been clean, the uneven blade causing a thrill to pass through the beast and thus driving the blood again through the arteries. After this every portion of the animal is thoroughly examined, for if there is any organic disease the devout Jew cannot taste the meat. In order to soften meat before it is salted, so as to allow the salt to extract the blood more freely, the meat is soaked in water for about half an hour. It is then covered with salt for about an hour and afterwards washed three times. Kosher meat is labelled with the name of the slaughterer and the date of killing.
End of Article: KOSHER, or KASHER (Hebrew clean, right, or fit)

Additional information and Comments

The cut by the schochet using the long knife is to go around the throat, severing both carotid arteries as well as the windpipe, thus insuring rapid exsanguination of the shackelled & hoisted animal.
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