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What does the word "kosher" mean?

by Mrs. Nechama D. Kumer

  

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While typically, we associate the word "Kosher" with food or drink, it can also describe a Torah scroll, Megillah, Mezuzah, Tefillin, conversion, eating utensils, or a Mikvah, to name a few.

The Hebrew word "kosher" means "fit." When something is said to be kosher it means that it is "fitting" of Divine standards. For example, if a chicken was ritually slaughtered, inspected, salted and rinsed, it is considered kosher and appropriate for consumption. If a mezuzah was written by a certified scribe using the traditional parchment, quill, and ink, and has no disqualifying blemishes to its letters, it may be affixed on one's doorway.

There are important commonalities as well as differences among kosher items. What is common to all is that they are direct channels for connecting with G-d. As an analogy, it's as if when performing these commandments you are in touch with G-d via your spiritual "cell phone" (and it's much more of a connection than just a conversation). On the other hand, a blemished Torah scroll is like a cell phone with no battery. It has all the look, but none of the charge, and you aren't making any "calls" with it.

In some cases, a Torah may be repaired and thus 'recharged' with kosher energy--something which cannot be done with non-kosher foods! So, depending on the item and situation in question, it can be possible to transform something from non-kosher to kosher and vice versa. The goal is to achieve and retain a kosher lifestyle in all the channels available to us, and maintain a 24/7 direct dial call with G-d.

[Mezuzahs and Tefillin are known to be channels for receiving G-d's blessings, so it is imperative to purchase kosher ones and have them checked, annually if possible, so as to maximize (and not block) these blessings.]


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RELATED CATEGORIES

Mitzvot » Tefillin
Life Cycle » Bar/Bat Mitzvah » Tefillin
Mitzvot » Kosher » About

Torah
Torah is G–d’s teaching to man. In general terms, we refer to the Five Books of Moses as “The Torah.” But in truth, all Jewish beliefs and laws are part of the Torah.
Tefillin
Black leather boxes containing small scrolls with passages of the Bible written on them. Every day, aside for Sabbath and Jewish holidays, the adult Jewish male is required to wrap the Tefillin--by means of black leather straps--around the weaker arm and atop the forehead.
Kosher
Literally means "fit." Commonly used to describe foods which are permitted by Jewish dietary laws, but is also used to describe religious articles (such as a Torah scroll or Sukkah) which meet the requirements of Jewish law.
Mikvah
A ritual bath where one immerses to become spiritually pure. After her menstrual cycle, a woman must immerse in the Mikvah before resuming marital relations.
Mezuzah
A rolled up scroll containing certain verses from the Torah which is affixed to the right-hand doorpost of doorways in a Jewish home.
Megillah
A scroll. Usually a reference to the Book of Esther, one of the books of the "Written Torah", which is read--from a scroll--on the holiday of Purim.
Mezuzahs
Plural form of Mezuzah. Rolled up scrolls containing certain verses from the Torah which are affixed to the right-hand doorposts of doorways in Jewish homes.
G-d
It is forbidden to erase or deface the name of G-d. It is therefore customary to insert a dash in middle of G-d's name, allowing us to erase or discard the paper it is written on if necessary.