September 14, 2006

A Kosher Conscience?

Filed under: Judaism — marcstober @ 6:18 pm

The Jewish Advocate Blog speculates about why people are afraid of unknowingly eating non-Kosher meat. Apparently, a butcher in Monsey, NY (home to many ultra-religious Jews) has been falsely selling blatantly trief (non-Kosher) meat as kosher.

But why, exactly, would you be “afraid it can happen to you”? Of course, I’d like to think that kosher meat–if for no other reason than that it’s more expensive–is higher quality. But I recognize the general meat supply in the US is pretty safe; it’s not like being falsely sold a food a was allergic to.

Keeping kosher is, after all, between you and God, and I would think that as long as you had no reason to suspect your meat was trief, your conscience should be clear.

(Disclaimer: I don’t really keep kosher right now; and while I wasn’t raised keeping kosher at all, I do buy only kosher meat to use in my own kitchen, and I have tried keeping kosher more fully at some points in my life.)

But I recognize that it does bother people, I think especially those who have always kept kosher (no pig has ever passed these lips…well except when those !@#$% lied and said it was a kosher beef hot dog), and I’m curious why? Are you somehow halachically liable, even if you did your due diligence about the hechsher? Or is there more of an emotional attachment to the law; which, after all, has to be there to bind people to religious law in a free society?