Permitted “Forbidden Fruits”

Question

Dear Rabbi, do you ever feel the need or the urge to eat pork?

3 months

Answers

  1. No, not really. But by the same token, I’ve never had a real urge for whale, camel, elephant, crow, or any non-kosher meat. (Though I have eaten my hat on a number or occasions.)

    I must admit, I’m personally repulsed by the thought of eating pork, although this may not be a “kosher” attitude! Our Sages teach us a fascinating idea: Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel says, “Don’t say ‘I don’t want to eat meat with milk…rather say “I want to, but what can I do, God has decreed that I must not.” So, it’s OK – even desirable, perhaps – for a Jew to have the urge to eat pork, but nevertheless to refrain due to God’s decree.

    The famous Torah giant Rabbi Yaakov Kaminetsky was the head of the Torah Voda’ath Talumdic Academy in Brooklyn, New York. Near the academy was a non-kosher pizza shop. Walking past the pizza shop one day with his students, Rabbi Kaminetsky stopped, took a deep whiff and said “Ah! It smells so delicious!”

    By the way, the idea of having a kosher desire for non-kosher foods applies to all worldly pleasures. A very wise woman is quoted in the Talmud as saying, “Everything which the Torah prohibited, something similar to it is permitted.”

    She gave an example of a kosher fish that has the same taste as pork: the brain of a shibuta, a fish we can’t identify today.

    I’ve heard a non-sourced tradition that there are 700 types of kosher fish, all of which were exiled along with the Jewish People from the Land of Israel to Babylon after the destruction of the First Temple. Over time, the various types of kosher fish returned “home” to the Land, with the exception of the shibuta. But with the Mashiach’s arrival, may it be speedily in our days, the shibuta will also return to the Land of Israel. Please don’t quote me on this!

    Best wishes from the AskTheRabbi.org Team