kosher

/koh"sheuhr/, adj.
1. Judaism.
a. fit or allowed to be eaten or used, according to the dietary or ceremonial laws: kosher meat; kosher dishes; a kosher tallith.
b. adhering to the laws governing such fitness: a kosher restaurant.
2. Informal.
a. proper; legitimate.
b. genuine; authentic.
3. keep kosher, to adhere to the dietary laws of Judaism.
n.
4. Informal. kosher food: Let's eat kosher tonight.
v.t.
5. Judaism. to make kosher: to kosher meat by salting.
Also, kasher.
[1850-55; 1920-25 for def. 2; < Yiddish < Heb kasher right, fit]

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Yiddish  Kosher,  Hebrew  Kāshēr 

      (“fit,” or “proper”), in Judaism, the fitness of an object for ritual purposes. Though generally applied to foods that meet the requirements of the dietary laws (kashruth), kosher is also used to describe, for instance, such objects as a Torah scroll, water for ritual bathing (mikvah), and the ritual ram's horn (shofar). When applied to food, kosher is the opposite of terefah (“forbidden”); when applied to other things, it is the opposite of pasul (“unfit”).

      In connection with the dietary laws, kosher implies (1) that the food is not derived from the animals, birds, or fish prohibited in Leviticus 11 or Deuteronomy 14; (2) that the animals or birds have been slaughtered by ritual method of shehitah (see below); (3) that the meat has been salted to remove the blood (Deuteronomy 12:16, 23–25, and elsewhere) after the carcass has been critically examined for physical blemishes and that the ischiatic nerve has been removed from hindquarters (Genesis 32:32); and (4) that meat and milk have not been cooked together (Exodus 23:19) and that separate utensils have been employed. In consequence of (2), the term terefah (that which has been torn by beasts; Genesis 31:39) is extended to all food violating the law, even, incorrectly, to admixtures of leaven on Passover, though Kāshēr la-Pesach, “fit for Passover,” is fairly correct. So-called kosher wine is prepared under observation, to prevent libations to idols and, by Talmudic extension, to avoid handling by non-Jews. This last regulation is presently observed only by the ultra-Orthodox. A relic of Roman days, it once was common to both Judaism and early Christianity.

      The special method of slaughtering animals, called shehitah, consists of an incision made across the neck of the animal or fowl by a qualified person especially trained for ritual slaughter, with a special knife that is razor-sharp and has a smooth edge with absolutely no nicks. The cutting must be made by moving the knife in a single swift and uninterrupted sweep, and not by pressure or by stabbing. The cut severs the main arteries, rendering the animal unconscious and permitting the blood to drain from the body. The slaughterer (shohet) recites a prayer before the act of shehitah.

      Objections have sometimes been raised to this method of slaughter on the grounds of cruelty. The sight of the struggling animal aroused the concern of humane societies, and in some European countries this resulted in legislation forbidding shehitah. Scientific opinion indicates, however, that severance of the carotid arteries and the jugular vein by one swift movement results in almost immediate loss of consciousness, and the afterstruggle is reflex muscular action.

      In Orthodox Judaism the dietary laws are considered implications of the divine command to “be holy” (Leviticus 19:2), but in Reform Judaism their observance has been declared to be unnecessary to the life of piety. See also kashruth.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Kosher — Ko sher, n. Kosher food; also, a kosher shop. [Webster 1913 Suppl.] 2. the practise of adherence to the Jewish ritual law; used mostly in the phrase {keep kosher}, v. i.. [PJC] {keep kosher} To adhere to the rules for eating only kosher food and… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • kosher — [kō′shər; ] for v., usually [ käsh′ər] adj. [Yiddish < Heb kāshēr, fit, proper < root kšr, to be appropriate] 1. Judaism a) clean or fit to eat according to the dietary laws: Lev. 11 b) serving or dealing with food prepared according to… …   English World dictionary

  • Kosher — Ko sher, a. [heb. kosh[ e]r fit, proper.] 1. Ceremonially clean, according to Jewish law; applied to food, esp. to meat of animals slaughtered according to the requirements of Jewish law. Opposed to {tref}. For food to be officially kosher, it… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Kosher — Relativo a la preparación y la presentación de alimentos según las leyes judías. Los alimentos Kosher per se son las frutas, vegetales y cereales corrientes, así como el té y el café. Los alimentos no Kosher son el cerdo, las aves de rapiña y los …   Diccionario médico

  • kosher — (adj.) ritually fit or pure (especially of food), 1851, from Yiddish kosher, from Heb. kasher fit, proper, lawful, from base of kasher was suitable, proper. Generalized sense of correct, legitimate is from 1896 …   Etymology dictionary

  • kosher — |cóchar| adj. 2 g. 2 núm. Que está de acordo com a lei judaica (ex.: carne kosher).   ‣ Etimologia: palavra iídiche …   Dicionário da Língua Portuguesa

  • kosher — [adj1] ritually proper apropos, clean, decent, ritually pure, undefiled; concepts 401,404 kosher [adj2] legitimate acceptable, according to law, authentic, genuine, legal, permissible, permitted, proper; concepts 319,558,582 …   New thesaurus

  • Kosher — Ko sher, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Koshered}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Koshering}.] To prepare in conformity with the requirements of the Jewish law, as meat. [Webster 1913 Suppl.] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • kosher — meaning ‘fulfilling the requirements of Jewish law’, is pronounced koh shǝ …   Modern English usage

  • kosher — ► ADJECTIVE 1) satisfying the requirements of Jewish law with regards to the preparation of food. 2) informal genuine and legitimate. ► VERB ▪ prepare (food) according to Jewish law. ORIGIN Hebrew, proper …   English terms dictionary

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