Did you ever wonder why honey is kosher? We dip apples in honey for Rosh Hashanah, and many have seen the custom of placing dots of honey on alef-bet letters at a boy’s upsherin (first haircut). Yet, no other product from a nonkosher animal is itself kosher. Even the rabbis of the Talmud, Rabbi David Pardo said at the second annual Shoresh Food Conference on Jan. 27, wondered why it was allowed.
Rabbi Pardo spoke alongside beekeeper Fred Davis in a session called, “Oy Rabbi, Bees Make My Honey!” The Talmud gives two answers, he said. First, the bees aren’t manufacturing the honey from their bodies – they just transport and store it, and second, because the Torah expressly permits it – in a lengthy, indirect way.
Rabbi Pardo of The House, a meeting place for Jewish students and young professionals, pointed out that the one reference we might think offers blanket permission to eat honey – the verses that call Israel a “land of milk and honey” – actually refer to sticky-sweet date nectar.
To learn more about Shoresh and its initiatives, visit www.shoresh.ca.
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