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Thought for the Day: The Torah Determines What is Kosher

You are thinking... "I can skip this one; obviously the Torah determines what's kosher and what's not.  Duh."  But you are also thinking, "What does he have up his sleeve?"

So here is the starting point: There is an interesting halacha that if an unmarked package of meat is found outside a row of butcher shops, 5 kosher and 4 treif, then the meat is kosher.  Not "considered kosher", not "if you ate it, b'di'avad you are ok", not even "you are permitted to be meikel."  To the contrary, l'chatchila you are permitted to eat it; b'tei'avon.  The technical term is, "kol ha'poresh, min ha'rov poresh" -- anything that is separated [from it's source] is [treated as having been] separated from [whichever source] is the majority.  This package of meat is separated from it's source (a butcher shop), the majority of butcher shops (from which it could have come) are kosher; so it is kosher.

Now you are thinking, "Wait!  Either it's kosher or not.  You can't change the m'tzi'us (physical reality)."  Well... yes and no.  True, you can't change the physical reality, but the physical reality is not what makes it kosher.  In fact, every piece of kosher meat starts of as non-kosher -- it's eiver min ha'chai, which is assur even to a goy.  The Torah gives rules of how to transform that non-kosher meat into a kosher piece of meat.  The rules include using a knife, proper kavanah, only works with certain animals, etc.  There is another rule: kol ha'poresh, min ha'rov poresh.  No difference.

I had a nagging doubt, though.  Suppose I make that meat into my cholent (delicious!) and consume all of it.  On Sunday two reliable witnesses pay a visit.  "The unmarked package of meat you found on Friday came from Ralph's and not Kosher Village."  I will now need to kasher my keilim.  But why?  Wasn't the meat kosher?

Yes; the meat was kosher.  I don't have to do t'shuva, I don't need to bring a korban.  Yet I still need to kasher my keilim.  Not because of the cholent that was in there over Shabbos, but because of the "b'li'us" -- the absorbed meat flavor -- that is still in there now.  Just as the rule of kol ha'poresh, min ha'rov poresh determined that the meat was kosher, now the rule of eidus determines that the leftovers are now not kosher.

Just another reminder that ever moment is a new creation and the only thing that remains constant is the Torah ha'K'dosha.

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