Not the Point!

17 October 2009

I was scanning through the news a few weeks ago and came across this article on CNN entitled "Fasting carries risk of overeating".

In it the author makes some observations about the health benefits of certain religious practices associated with Islam and Judaism.

Kosher meat in Judaism is slaughtered in a specific way by a religious butcher known as a "shochet." The animal is drained of blood and broiled or heavily salted to help remove the blood. Both Judaism and Islam, whose dietary laws fall under "halal," [Halal is strictly a Muslim thing. -Ed] mandate that the animal be ritually slaughtered with specific prayers.

The practice salting of meat helps fight bacteria, but probably not more than other modern antimicrobial techniques, Regenstein said.

"We're talking about 4,000 years of salting having benefit, and the rest of the science, in a sense, has caught up in the last 10 years," he said.

If sodium is a concern because of high blood pressure, there are butcher shops that sell meat with different kinds of salt, or unsalted meat for broiling.

The Jewish custom of separating milk and meat -- not eating the two at the same meal and, for the most strict adherents, having separate plates and utensils for each -- does not appear to have dietary advantages or disadvantages, experts say.

In a practical sense, this tradition forces people to make their meals more diverse and plan them out more carefully, Regenstein said. Usually, people will not eat as much meat overall when they practice this kosher separation, he said.

And this:

Judaism and Islam share a restriction against eating pork. Some say this helps stave off trichinosis, a parasitic disease that humans can get from eating undercooked or raw pork, Regenstein said. However, there is some question about whether pigs in the Middle East would have had trichinosis ages ago when these traditions were developed, he said.

In addition, Jews traditionally do not eat shellfish, such as shrimp. Again, there is some association with certain diseases, as well as pollution, but it's not clear that this tradition leads to better health. Moreover, one of the staples of Jewish ritual meals such as Passover is gefilte fish, made from carp, which eats shrimp anyway, he said.

 

After reading this I immediately thought "health is not the point!"

In regards to what food is suitable for G-d's people, the primary source of instruction in Scripture is found in Leviticus 11.  The entire chapter addresses clean and unclean foods.

At no point in this chapter is there any mention of health or any indication that health is the point of this instruction.

What then, is the point?

Holiness!

The chapter closes out with this admonition:

Leviticus 11:45

'For I am the LORD who brought you up from the land of Egypt to be your G-d; thus you shall be holy, for I am holy.'"  [emphasis added]

Secular authors (and the entire secular world for that matter) do not get the point because holiness is a matter of G-dliness.  Those who reject G-d, His Word, and His Son often seek the exact opposite: profanity.

No, not swearing or cussing.  "Profane" means "common".  Instead of treating something as "holy" (i.e. set-apart) they treat things as "common".  Rather than setting their lives apart for G-d and His purposes they just "go with the flow" and live common lives devoid of holiness and devoid of G-dliness.

Through the strength and faith that He has given us may we make G-d the center and focus of our lives.

 

Last modified on 16 January 2017

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