Published August 3, 2004
Ask Rabbi Dan
by Rabbi Dan S. Wiko PhD
  Issue: 5.08
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Stan asked,

I noticed that a big to-do has been made in Israel about wigs of Human hair from India because the hair was associated with pagan ritual. However, why is human hair from China OK? Chinese eat pork. Also why is not all human hair forbidden? You would not wear a cap made from pig hair or human skin. Hair is a part of the epidermis as is skin. Hair, teeth and nails are part of the skin.


Locusts are kosher. They are Arthropods. Lobsters are not kosher but they are also Arthropods. They are not fish but cousins of the locusts who happen to prefer living in the water. This is a serious question. I am not trying to challenge you. But in the light of more modern understanding of plant and animal life should we not now rethink Kashruth?

Dear Stan,

To rethink kashruth, despite the intervention of modernity, is to, also, rethink traditional rabbinic Judaism.

Unquestionably, the laws pertaining to kashruth, as prescribed in Torah, are somewhat different and, even, more open ended, than those which the rabbis, later, decreed. However, these rabbinic laws and sanctions became the basis of Judaism-as-it-is-to-be-practiced. To alter these will significantly change the face of our religion and will, in my opinion, ultimately, result in Judaism becoming so empty of its original intent as to render us as "just another small group of people"...with that, comes the end of our nearly 6000 year lineage and heritage.

As a consideration, take what we accept as a "traditional house" in the material sense. This house comes, certainly, with a specifically defined which includes, above all, a foundation which, once altered, changes the entirety of what follows...(i.e. a house built with no foundation set in the earth beneath it) It is, precisely, that solid foundation which allows for for an even more elaborate structure to follow from it. Significantly alter or deny that foundation, and all you have is a container that moves with the wind. You can ADD to the rabbinic decrees which define us and have an even more enduring existence. But whittle away at the basic decrees and the result is, eventually, a nullification of, at least, one of Judaism's defining practices.


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