INSIGHT: The Amazing Rabbinic Investigators! Tall Tales About Kosher Giraffes

Kosher Meat Is What We Eat

Kosher Meat Is What We Eat

“Now, remember the signs I taught you, so that you’ll recognize which animals, fish, and birds are Kosher to eat,” said Moshe. (Remember the first time Moshe taught us these signs back in Parshas Shemini?)

“A Kosher animal must have split hooves and must also chew its cud. If it has just one of these signs – like a Gamal (a camel, which chews its cud but does not have split feet), or a Chazir (a pig, which has split hooves but does not chew its cud), that’s not good enough. Those animals are forbidden to eat.”

“Hey, you know why a pig is called a Chazir?’”

“Of course, I know… because it acts like a Chazir!”

“And you know why a Gamal is called a camel in English?”

“Sure! It almost sounds the same.”

“Hey guys… what’s English?

“A Kosher animal must have both signs,” Moshe continued. “Sheep, goats, deer, cows, and giraffes have both signs and may be eaten.”

Of course, after it has undergone the Shechitah process.”

“By a skilled Shochet.”

“With a super sharp and smooth knife, so the animal won’t have any pain.”

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The Amazing Rabbinic Investigators!

A super amazing Rabbi, by the name of Rabbi Yosef Rosen (1858-1936), a.k.a. the Rogachover Gaon (the genius of Rogachov, a city in Belarus), posed an interesting question:

Are these Kosher signs nothing more than indicators that these animals are inherently Kosher, or are the Kosher signs the actual cause of the animals to be Kosher?

BTW: This type of question is known as a Chakirah – literally “investigation,” or perhaps a better definition would be “dissection” – looking at it from different angles. Both the Rogachover Gaon and the Soloveichik family, a.k.a. the Brisker family, are known for their very deep and thoughtful Chakiros.

Whenever a Chakirah is posed, the next question should be – what difference does it make?

Well, regarding our Chakirah, let’s think about it. What if a cow is born without split hoofs? Or a salmon is missing its fins? On the other hand, what would happen if a shark is found with fins and scales?

Are you thinking?

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Tall Tales About Kosher Giraffes

Giraffe. Zamer in Hebrew. It’s one of the Kosher animals Moshe Rabbeinu mentioned here. It’s a common belief that, although a giraffe is Kosher, there is no Kosher giraffe meat for sale. That’s because nobody knows where exactly on that long, long neck the Shochet needs to cut.

This, however, is simply not true. The fact that a giraffe has a long neck makes it simpler to Shecht, since there are as much as six feet of perfectly acceptable neck for the Shochet!

A Kashrus expert once joked, “Anyone who does not know where to Shecht a giraffe either knows nothing about the laws of Shechitah or could not hit the side of a barn with a baseball.”

So, if a giraffe is Kosher, why don’t they sell Kosher giraffe meat?!

That’s because it would be way too expensive, thousands of dollars a pound. Besides, it’s illegal… at least, here in America.

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