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Home » Judaism » Parsha »

Will Pig Eventually Be Kosher?


livestock pigs

In this week’s parshah the Torah teaches us which animals are kosher to eat and which are not. The Torah states the signs that determine whether an animal is kosher: an animal must have split hooves and chew its cud. Additionally, the Torah says that the pig, although it has split hooves, is not kosher since it does not chew its cud.

The medrash on this pasuk says that the reason that the pig is called “chazir” is because in the future Hashem will return (lehachzir) the pig to Bnei Yisrael and permit it to be eaten. According to many Achronim the medrash is to be taken literally; pig will be kosher in the future. The Rama Mipano (Asarah Mamaros Chikor Hadin 4:13) explains that Hashem will make the pig chew its cud, thereby making it kosher.

However, there are several questions on this halacha. The Gemara, in Bechoros 5b, says: “hayotzei min hatamei, tamei – anything that comes from a non-kosher animal is not kosher.” Therefore if a non-kosher animal gives birth to a kosher animal (which has the kosher signs), it is forbidden to be eaten. The following question is asked: How can a pig become kosher when it came from a non-kosher animal? Furthermore, any offspring should be forbidden since it came from a non-kosher animal – namely from the pig that was non-kosher.

Another point is that the Rambam (Hilchos Machalos Asuros 2:3) says that only the ten animals that the Torah explicitly permitted to be eaten can indeed be eaten. Any other animal (even if it has the kosher signs) is prohibited to be eaten because it is a lav haba michlal assei (when the Torah says you should do this it is inferred that it is prohibited to do otherwise – and the Torah says to eat these animals). It is for this reason that humans are prohibited to be eaten, since they are not one of the animals explicitly mentioned in the pasuk. Thus the question: According to this, how can a pig become permitted to be eaten since it is not one of the animals explicitly permitted in the pasuk?

The Radvaz (Teshuvos 2:828) explains that the medrash is not to be taken literally; rather it should be understood that in the future Bnei Yisrael will eat mashmanim, as if eating pig was permissible. Rabbeinu Bichaiya also explains that the intention of the medrash was not to say that pig will become permitted for consumption in the future, but rather that the medrash is referring to the kingdom of Edom (which is referred to as the chazir) – that Hashem will eventually return (lehachzir) on them midas hadin (judgment). The Ritva (Kiddushin 49b) explains that the medrash is referring to Amalek.

Obviously the aforementioned questions do not apply if the medrash is not to be taken literally. But according to the Achronim that explain that the medrash is to be taken literally (that pig will one day be permitted to be eaten), we must answer the abovementioned questions.

There is a similar question discussed by the Achronim that also pertain to this discussion. The Gemara in Menachos 21a says that according to most opinions, cooked blood is permitted min haTorah; it is prohibited, though, mi’derabbanan. The Achronim ask that since the abovementioned Gemara in Bechoros says that anything that comes from something non-kosher is itself prohibited, why is cooked blood not forbidden since it came from blood before it was cooked (which is forbidden min haTorah)? The Chazon Ish (Bechoros, siman 16:13) explains that the halacha that an animal that comes from a non-kosher animal is forbidden to be eaten only applies when an animal is born or when a second product is produced from a non-kosher one. However, when we are dealing with the same item, it is not considered yotzei coming from a non-kosher item; thus it is permitted. Regarding cooked blood, since it is the same item it is not considered coming from the forbidden, uncooked blood; thus it is permitted as well.

Regarding the pig that began chewing its cud, we can extend the answer of the Chazon Ish and explain that the pig was not yotzei from itself when it began to chew its cud – since it is the same item. It will therefore be permitted.

Another answer that I have heard is that the Rambam (Hilchos Machalos Asuros 3:6) says that one who transgresses by eating the product of a non-kosher animal does not receive lashes. Reb Chaim Soloveitchik explains that when something is yotzei from a non-kosher animal it is forbidden. But it does not take on the same prohibition as its producer, instead becoming a new prohibition of yotzei – over which one does not receive lashes.

The halacha that something that is yotzei from a non-kosher animal is forbidden only applies when the mother animal is non-kosher. However, if the animal that it came from was not actually non-kosher, its offspring will be permitted. So after pigs start chewing their cud, they will still be prohibited since they were yotzei from the non-kosher pigs. But they will not be prohibited as pigs; rather they will be prohibited as issur yotzei. Hence the following generation of pigs will not be prohibited, since the pigs that they came from were not actually non-kosher but were only issur yotzei – which does not prohibit their products.

About the Author: For questions or comments, e-mail RabbiRFuchs@gmail.com.


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2 Responses to “Will Pig Eventually Be Kosher?”

  1. Eli Ajzenman says:

    Did you know that during WWI the men of the Zion Mule Corps refused to unload sides of bacon on the jetty until the Grand Rabbi granted dispensation. He not only did this, but allowed them to eat it if necessary, whereupon they applied – unsuccessfully on this occasion – for their rejected unkosher rations. A New Zealand officer later wrote how thereafter it always amused the troops to see the Jews of the Zion Mule Corps returning to their cookhouse with little bags of bacon. (source jewishvirtuallibrary.org)

  2. Martin Flax says:

    "So after pigs start chewing their cud"….which will happen about 10 minutes before they fly…..A mind is a terrible thing to waste.

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