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Can I eat as much kosher ice cream as I like?

by Sara E. Crispe, B. Erdstein, A. Trugman

  

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The Short Answer:

While the laws of Kosher govern what you eat, Judaism also has guidelines for how and how much you eat.

The Askmoses Answer: 

According to strict dietary laws of Kashrut, one may eat as much ice cream as one wants. There is no requirement among the laws of kashrut to eat healthy, balanced meals.

Although in theory one could eat as much as one wants, there could be two possible problems to this. The first one is in regard to the Torah commandment to “guard your soul,” which has been interpreted by our Sages to mean to guard one’s self from a wide range of activities and life styles that harm and endanger health. If one is overweight to the point that it is a health hazard then over eating could be transgressing this commandment. A product’s definition as being kosher only defines whether it can or cannot be eaten according to Jewish law. How, when and where we eat entails a whole other set of commandments from the Torah and the Sages.

A second problem is that even things that are permitted need to be performed in an acceptable and holy manner. Unfortunately, often we witness situations where someone may follow the letter of the law, but completely misses the spirit of the law. This is a case in point. Many commentators on the Torah explain that holiness is not just refraining from forbidden acts, but entails doing even those things that are permitted in a holy way. The Sages coined an expression for someone who performs a permitted act in a revolting manner as one who acts “disgusting with the permission of the Torah.”

When it comes to keeping kosher, it is vital to remember that the reason for this commandment is to elevate our eating from a purely animalistic action, to one which is holy. Hashem wants us to eat, and He wants us to use the energy we gain through our consumption of food to keep His commandments and illuminate the world around us. Someone is eating in a manner which is unhealthy, then he or she is misusing and misunderstanding the point of why the ice cream is kosher. We must not only focus on what we can eat, but the entire purpose of why we eat and how we are intended to eat.

For example, we are instructed to recite particular blessings before any food even enters our mouth. Using our human ability to speak prior to a more animalistic action of eating, is intended to remind us that we must elevate ourselves and the food we are to consume. If someone recites the blessing and then continues to shove food down his or her throat, once again, the person may be keeping the letter of the law, but missing the spirit of the law.

Therefore, ice cream itself is not the problem nor is the quantity per se, but the fact that one may lose sight of why we eat, and that our eating, just as everything else we are commanded as Jews to do, is intended to be holy.


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RELATED CATEGORIES

Mitzvot » Kosher » About
Miscellaneous » Health Issues » Medical Ethics

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.
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.
Kashrut
Laws of Kosher (Jewish dietary laws).
Hashem
"The Name." Out of respect, we do not explicitly mention G-d's name, unless in the course of prayer. Instead, "Hashem" is substituted.