Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
Psychology, Medicine, Science, Politics, Oppression, Integrity, Philosophy, Jews -- For those who like their news and truths frank and sharp

“Let them eat pig, and drink milk too”

Marie Antoinette would be surprised with our adaptation of her famous words. So be it.

News has it that “pig’s meat” will be kosher soon. We’re talking about muscle cells and intercellular fibers that are grown in a lab from a pig’s cell. How kosher can that be? (The rabbi quoted already questions if it will be but the heading says that it will.) NB: Meat from a cloned pig would definitely unkosher, as a cloned pig is still an unkosher animal.

There is nothing intrinsically wrong in Jewish Law with consuming meat of pigs. It is only wrong for Jews because the Torah says so. And no – it’s not “one of Judaism’s strongest prohibitions,” as this news report has it. Religious standards are not made by the fact that totally irreligious Jews abhor it. Eating insects (in lettuce) is many times more forbidden and sexual sins many more than that. Here are some kashrut objections:

1. The leading rabbi has a point but, as he intimates, it will be disputed. The precedent is for me, usage of electrical equipment on Shabbat. Leading rabbis claiming that switching electricity on and off causes a kind of fire, builds or destroys an electric circuit, etc. forbid it on Shabbat under just lame excuses. (Texting from a battery operated device is even less problematic.)

Truth is that electrical appliances (that don’t make noise – yet another problem) could be used but are forbidden on Shabbat (except in case of possible mortal danger) because using them would ruin the Shabbat atmosphere of being together and enjoying life as it is. Permission to use a car (within a city) would also stop Jews living close to their synagogues.

In the same vein, technically, possibly not-forbidden artificial meat (pig or cow or any) should be declared non-kosher, because it would lower the threshold to certainly non-kosher meats.

2. The idea is debatable that the cell from which the lab meat is grown had lost its status as meaty and as limb taken from a life animal (a Jewish prohibition for all of humanity). We see the same with gelatin. Dry bones from non-kosher animal corpses have lost their meaty status. But as soon as they are made into food, they regain it, according to many rabbinic authorities. That’s derived from the idea that leavened grains that became inedible are allowed for Pesach, but when they are made into food they regain their leavened forbidden status.

The criteria for kosher are not the molecules, but rather the behavior of it (flies, walks, crawls) and some outer characteristics. If it looks like meat, it should be meat, and if it is taken from a life animal, it should be forbidden.

This might be different if the kosher animal first was slaughtered in the proper Jewish way and then the cell was taken from it. (We know that not all cells die immediately upon brain death of the organism.)

3. Much more important, though, is that anything unethical should be unkosher. Lab meat is much too expensive for the wallet and the environment.

It could be considered non-meaty and non-milchic (“parve”) but kosher should not only be about strict dietary laws. Giraffe meat would be kosher too, but no Jew will eat it. It’s clearly immoral to kill such an animal for food and much too expensive.

While Jewish Law encourages and obligates to enjoy life, that must always be within very strict rules, and not wasting is one of them.

4. Maybe one could say that such a small part of a pig or other animal is unsubstantial? Well, Jewish Law can often declare a very small amount mixed in as negligible, but here there is no mixture.

5. But maybe we could argue that anything microscopic does not exist for the Dietary Laws. Very small eggs, invisible to the naked eye, are so kosher. But when they develop into visible insects, these are not.

6. And food should be tasty and support health. As we know, meat is tasteless (it needs spices and souses to get any taste, and it’s baking is dangerous for health (compare burning cigarettes). Eating artificial meat is dangerous to health, and should not be kosher for that reason.

I’m looking forward to rabbis knowledgeable in health and diet, who will forbid white sugar, flour and rice produce, and meat and alcohol more than a drop – because it conflicts with the Torah Commandment to choose life. (Cigarette smoking once was considered kosher because people enjoyed it. Now we know better, it’s totally forbidden.)

7. As a vegan, I will not eat artificial meat. It reminds too much of foods I don’t want to eat and is a waste of money and ecology.

The claim that electronic cigarettes would not be as bad as those that use fire are fake too. Many electronic smokers go from them to a burning-cigarette addiction, and also the electronic ones are addictive and bad for health, as I explained before and here. Similarly, “non-animal-suffering” meat should be out too.

In summary, lab meat is a gimmick and should not be eaten by anyone, but especially not by Jews keeping kosher.


About the Author
MM is a prolific and creative writer and thinker, an almost daily blog contributor to the Times of Israel, and previously, for decades, he was known to the Jerusalem Post readers as a frequent letter writer. He often makes his readers laugh, mad, or assume he's nuts—close to perfect blogging. He's proud that his analytical short comments are removed both from left-wing and right-wing news sites. * As a frontier thinker, he sees things many don't yet. He's half a prophet. Half. Let's not exaggerate. He doesn't believe that people observe and think in a vacuum. He, therefore, wanted a broad bio that readers interested can track a bit about what (lack of) backgrounds, experiences, and education contribute to his visions. * If you don't know the Dutch, get an American peek behind the scenes here: * To find less-recent posts on subject XXX among his over 1600 archived ones, go to the right-top corner of a Times of Israel page, click on the search icon and search "zuiden, XXX". One can find a second, wilder blog, to which one may subscribe, here: * Like most of his readers, he believes in being friendly, respectful, and loyal. Yet, if you think those are his absolute top priorities, you might end up disappointed. His first loyalty is to the truth. He will try to stay within the limits of democratic and Jewish law, but he won't lie to support opinions or people who don't deserve that. He admits that he sometimes exaggerates to make a point, which could have him come across as nasty, while in actuality, he's quite a lovely person to interact with. He holds - how Dutch - that a strong opinion doesn't imply intolerance of other views. * Sometimes he's misunderstood because his wide and diverse field of vision seldomly fits any specialist's box. But that's exactly what some love about him. He has written a lot about Psychology (including Sexuality and Abuse), Medicine (including physical immortality), Science (including basic statistics), Politics (Israel, the US, and the Netherlands, Activism), Oppression and Liberation (intersectionally, for young people, the elderly, non-Whites, women, workers, Jews, LGBTQIA+, foreigners and anyone else who's dehumanized or exploited), Integrity, Philosophy, Jews (Judaism, Zionism, Holocaust, and Jewish Liberation), the Climate Crisis, Ecology and Veganism, Affairs from the news, or the Torah Portion of the Week, or new insights that suddenly befell him. * His most influential teachers (chronologically) are his parents, Nico (natan) van Zuiden and Betty (beisye) Nieweg, Wim Kan, Mozart, Harvey Jackins, Marshal Rosenberg, Reb Shlomo Carlebach, and, lehavdil bein chayim lechayim, Rabbi Dr. Natan Lopes Cardozo, Rav Zev Leff, and Rav Meir Lubin. * One of his rabbis calls him Mr. Innovation [Ish haChidushim]. Yet, his originalities seem to root deeply in traditional Judaism, though they may grow in unexpected directions. In fact, he claims he's modernizing nothing. Rather, mainly basing himself on the basic Hebrew Torah text, he tries to rediscover classical Jewish thought almost lost in thousands of years of stifling Gentile domination and Jewish assimilation. (He pleads for a close reading of the Torah instead of going by rough assumptions of what it would probably mean and before fleeing to Commentaries.) This, in all aspects of life, but prominently in the areas of Free Will, Activism, Homosexuality for men, and Redemption. * He hopes that his words will inspire and inform, and disturb the comfortable and comfort the disturbed. He aims to bring a fresh perspective rather than harp on the obvious and familiar. He loves to write encyclopedic overviews. He doesn't expect his readers to agree. Rather, original minds should be disputed. In short, his main political positions are among others: anti-Trumpism, anti-elitism, anti-bigotry and supremacy, for Zionism, Intersectionality, and non-violence, anti those who abuse democratic liberties, anti the fake ME peace process, for original-Orthodoxy, pro-Science, pro-Free Will, anti-blaming-the-victim, and for down-to-earth, classical optimism, and happiness. * He is a fetal survivor of the pharmaceutical industry (, born in 1953 to parents who were Dutch-Jewish Holocaust survivors who met in the largest concentration camp in the Netherlands, Westerbork. He grew up a humble listener. It took him decades to become a speaker too. Bullies and con artists almost instantaneously envy and hate him. * He holds a BA in medicine (University of Amsterdam) – is half a doctor. He practices Re-evaluation Co-counseling since 1977, is not an official teacher anymore, and became a friendly, empowering therapist. He became a social activist, became religious, made Aliyah, and raised three wonderful kids non-violently. For a couple of years, he was active in hasbara to the Dutch-speaking public. He wrote an unpublished tome about Jewish Free Will. He's being a strict vegan since 2008. He's an Orthodox Jew but not a rabbi. He lives with his library in Jerusalem. Feel free to contact him. * His writing has been made possible by a (second-generation) Holocaust survivors' allowance from the Netherlands. It has been his dream since he was 38 to try to make a difference by teaching through writing. He had three times 9-out-of-10 for Dutch at his high school finals but is spending his days communicating in English and Hebrew - how ironic. G-d must have a fine sense of humor. In case you wonder - yes, he is a bit dyslectic. If you're a native English speaker and wonder why you should read from people whose English is only their second language, consider the advantage of having an original peek outside of your cultural bubble. * To send any personal reaction to him, scroll to the top of the blog post and click Contact Me. * His newest books you may find here:
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