Sh’mini – Torah In Haiku


Hasenpfeffer? TREIF …

Leviticus 11:2-3,6

These are the creatures that you may eat from among all the land animals: any animal that has true hoofs, with clefts through the hoofs, and that chews the cud, such you may eat … the hare, although it chews the cud, it has no true hoofs: it is unclean for you.

Leviticus 11:21-22

But these you may eat among all the winged swarming things that walk on fours: all that have, above their feet, jointed legs to leap with on the ground, of these you may eat the following: locusts of every variety; all varieties of bald locust; crickets of every variety; and all varieties of grasshopper.

The Torah (JPS translation) seems pretty clear about locusts, crickets, and grasshoppers. In fact, the last line of this week’s haiku was almost, “certainly kosher”. But if you Google “Are chocolate covered crickets kosher?” things suddenly get murky, as they often do when Jews discuss the details of things like the laws of kashrut.

An article on the website of the Orthodox Union says, “certain species of locusts happen to be kosher” but notes that “while the Sephardic community has a tradition of identifying kosher locusts” Ashkenazim generally “refrain from eating locusts.”

A blogger named Shlomo, who calls himself, “a liberal semi-observant, post-denominational Jewish guy” looks more specifically at chocolate covered crickets in an attempt to decide if this is mixing meat and dairy.

Finally, a 2013 BBC article reports on the popularity of locusts as a “kosher” snack among Israelis. Of course, the BBC isn’t the first place a Jew would go for rulings on kashrut. The story makes the seemingly false assertion (based on a plain reading of the verses above) that “locust is the only insect which is considered kosher.”

It’s quite likely, as suggested by a question posed on “Ask The Rabbi” at, that the laws of kashrut do not provide the only reason why Jews avoid eating grasshoppers.

Image of “Chocolate Chirp Cookies” by Mills Baker via Flickr


The Torah In HaikuThe Torah In Haiku
Ed Nickow

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