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If bees aren't kosher, why is their honey kosher?

by Rabbi Naftali Silberberg

  

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Honey consists of (Kosher) nectar which the bees regurgitate into the honeycombs. This is different than, for example, milk from a non-kosher animal which is a product of the flesh and blood of the animal (Babylonian Talmud Bechorot 7b).
TAGS: honey

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A verse permitting

Posted by: Ken Bloom, Chicago, IL, USA on Feb 06, 2006

It's nectar from flowers, not pollen.

I have seen people who doubt this answer, saying that the Rabbis didn't understand science, and that they made a mistake. Had they known science today they would not have permitted honey, because bees do process the nectar to create honey, and honey includes microscopic insect parts.

Therefore, I think it's important to mention that immediately after after this opinion is brought in Bechoros 7b, Rabbi Akiva brings another opinion based on a verse in the Torah permitting honey.

"But this you may eat of the flying insects" (Vayikra 11:21) which excludes the insects we may not eat but includes what these non-kosher insects produce.

Editor's Comment

Halachah never takes into consideration microscopic particles -- otherwise we wouldn't be permitted to breathe without first filtering the air! The Torah was given to humans, and only that which is visible to the naked human eye is taken into consideration.
Talmud
Usually referring to the Babylonian edition, it is a compilation of Rabbinic law, commentary and analysis compiled over a 600 year period (200 BCE - 427 CE). Talmudic verse serves as the bedrock of all classic and modern-day Torah-Jewish literature.
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.