7-5771 Mitzvah N-97-98-99-100

Torat Emet
7-5771 Mitzvah N-97-98-99-100
11/29/10
Negative Mitzvah 97– This is a negative commandment: do not eat swarming creatures of the ground
Hafetz Hayim – As Scripture says: “And every swarming thing that swarms upon the earth is an abomination; it shall not be eaten” (Leviticus 11:41). “Swarming creatures of the ground” means snakes, scorpions, beetles and worms. Whoever eats of them a whole creature should be given whiplashes. And if it was not complete, then if he ate an olive’s amount he should receive whiplashes. All swarming creatures eaten are reckoned together to add up to an olive’s amount.
This applies everywhere and always, for both men and women.
Negative Mitzvah 98– This is a negative commandment: do not eat worms of fruit or seeds
Hafetz Hayim – As Scripture says: “even all the swarming things that swarm upon the earth, them you shall not eat.” (Leviticus 11:42).
This applies everywhere and always, for both men and women.
Negative Mitzvah 99– This is a negative commandment: do not eat swarming creatures of the water.
Hafetz Hayim – As Scripture says: “You shall not make yourselves detestable with every swarming thing that swarms.” (Leviticus 11:43) and swarming water creatures are included: for example, frogs, crabs, and so forth; or worms and leeches; or sea animals and the sea dog. Whoever eats an olive’s amount from them should receive whiplashes.
This applies everywhere and always, for both men and women.
Negative Mitzvah 100– This is a negative commandment: do not eat creeping things.
Hafetz Hayim – As Scripture says: “neither shall you defile yourselves with any swarming thing that crawls, upon the earth .” (Leviticus 11:44). The creatures called “remmes” are what come from molds, not deriving from male and female creatures. Whoever eats an olive’s mount of them should receive whiplashes.
This applies everywhere and always, for both men and women.
Since the Torah is very specific about what animals cannot be eaten, each kind of an animal has its own special prohibition lest you think that one forbidden animal is not included in the general prohibition of swarming things. Other than locusts, which we no longer eat because we are unsure which may be kosher and which are not, all insects are forbidden, including those that swarm in the air (flies, dragonflies, etc.) those that swarm on the earth (worms, scorpions, ants etc.) those that swarm in the water (crabs, frogs, leeches etc.) and those found inside fruits or grains (weevils, larvae etc.)
The sea animals that are included here are also the sea mammals. A sea dog is what we call a seal and includes walrus, whale and porpoise. There is a fish that is called “dolphin” or Mahi Mahi that is kosher. The bottle nose dolphin is a mammal and is forbidden.
Again, the only way to violate these laws is to eat them intentionally. When eaten in error or accidentally, there would be no punishment. So if you eat an apple and find that you have also eaten a worm by mistake, then you may feel sick but you have not violated a law of Kashrut. (The only thing worse than finding a worm in an apple is finding half a worm!)
While many of these creatures are not a regular part of a Western diet, they are eaten in other parts of the world and in some places are considered delicacies. Frog, crab, shrimp and lobster are all forbidden but are considered in this country to be normal sea food. Other insects and sea animals are eaten in other cultures all the time. These laws in no way should be considered as reasons to forbid them from eating what is their custom. These laws do not apply to other cultures; these creatures are forbidden as food for Jews.
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