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Why Do Jews Not Eat Pork or Crab?

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Question: I was wondering, why can't Jews eat pork or crab? Answer: In the Bible, God lists two requirements for an animal to be kosher (fit to eat) for a Jew: Animals must chew their cud and have split hooves. Pigs do have split hooves but do not chew their cud, so we cannot eat pig meat and its derivatives. In the seafood department, we may only eat fish that have both fins and scales. Here is a translation of the original command, from Deuteronomy, Chapter 14:8-10: And the pig, because it has a split hoof, but does not chew the cud; it is unclean for you. You shall neither eat of their flesh nor touch their carcass. These you may eat of all that are in the waters; all that have fins and scales, you may eat. But whatever does not have fins and scales, you shall not eat; it is unclean for you. While the commandment to follow a kosher diet falls under the category of laws which do not necessarily seem logical,1 observing them only because God commands us to,2 there are moral lessons we derive from them. Here are several given: The birds and many of the mammals we do not eat are predators, while the permitted animals are not. We are commanded not to eat those animals possessive of a cruel nature, so that we should not absorb these qualities into ourselves.3 The commandment refines the person and instills self-discipline.4 I hope this helps. Footnotes 1. See Rashi Leviticus 18:4 2. God's 613 commandments can be divided into three categories: mishpatim (judgments), chukim (decrees), or eidot (testimonials). The first category includes those observances which have an obvious reason, such as giving charity, not stealing or murdering, etc. The second category, chukim, includes laws which do not necessarily seem logical, and we observe them only because God commands us to. The third category, eidot, includes those mitzvot that commemorate an event, such as Shabbat or Passover. Following a kosher diet falls under the category of chukim. 3. Nachmanides Deuteronomy 4:3. 4. Midrash Rabbah, Genesis 44:1.