The Sages Answer your Questions: Why Chinese Food is Kosher

Congregation Beth Evergreen has had the unique opportunity of being able to host seven great sages of Jewish law.  Together, their greatness supplies a brilliant light to this discourse.  At least a hundred candles’ worth, and a large amount of melted wax.

Q:  Why isn’t Chinese food kosher?

A:  The sages have decreed that all Chinese food is, in fact, kosher.  The most obvious reason is that Chinese Food is part of Jewish ritual on its most important days.  Just after Ne’elah on Yom Kippur, the Coal Mine Dragon reports its tables full of Jewish people, obviously concluding the holy day.  Other off-site venues report similar phenomena.  The sages, however, are not content with this obvious response, and have gone deeper into the matter:

  1. Shrimp:  Shrimp is kosher.  Why?  In order to be considered fit, a sea creature needs scales.  Shrimp have scales – very, very big ones.  Fish scales are inedible – so, too, with shrimp.  Fish scales are translucent.  So are shrimp scales.
  2. No kosher fish feeds on carrion:  Shrimp does feed on carrion, but I ask you, have you ever tried to feed a shrimp decent food?  Any animal will eat anything to not starve.  Offer it decent food, and I guarantee no shrimp from a decent family will ever eat carrion again.
  3. Locusts:  Texts from decades of great sages confirm that locusts are kosher.  This allows their use as food after they’ve decimated other crops.  A shrimp is a water-locust (Zeraiim 6:2), as proven by Rabbi Gedaliah, who counted al the legs and divided by six.
  4. Lobsters:  Lobsters, too, just don’t dip them in butter.
  5. What about clams and oysters?  How can you tell anything about a clam or an oyster?  You don’t know if it had cloven hooves because it has no feet at all!  No arms, no faces, you don’t even know which is front or back or top or bottom.  You can eat maybe forty before it’s a meal, because there’s no there there.  You can eat them with horseradish, like gefilte fish, which also has no front or back… no up or down about it.  Gefilte fish is kosher, and it follows that clams and oysters would be, too.  Use the red horseradish.  Beets are healthier, and you shouldn’t get sick, G-d forbid.
  6. What about pork?  This problem is the oldest and least understood of all the problems raised by learned and venerable sages through the ages.  The original statement in the Torah itself, is interpreted as it relates to animals themselves (pigs, cows, the ones with faces poking out).  The injunction doesn’t apply to cooked meat, because in a nice Egg Fu Yung or Kung Pao, you can’t tell if its feet were cloven or not.  All  meat should be well-cooked, except for steak and burgers, so you don’t get sick, G-d forbid.
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