What is Kosher and why are some foods Kosher sometimes but not others? Why are some parts of a Kosher animal not Kosher? Rabbis have discussed and debated these questions for thousands of years. Today’s lesson on your path of Jewish discovery begins with a short glossary of Kosher words.
Kosher: (Hebrew) the catch-all term that refers to all that is fit to be consumed or to be used together with kosher food.
Treif: (Hebrew) literally, “torn,” referring to an animal that met an unnatural death other than shechitah, but extended to mean any food that is not fit to eat.
Parve: (Yiddish) the in-between, neutral foods, which are neither meat nor dairy and may be eaten with both.
Fleishig: (Yiddish) meaty. Variants include fleishigs, fleishige and fleishigadik.
Milchig: (Yiddish) dairy. Variants include milchige and milchigadik.
Pesachdig: Kosher for Passover (Pesach). Since Passover has its own set of rules, food and dishes that conform to the Passover standards are referred to as Pesachdig or Pesachdik.
Kasher: (Yiddish) the act of making something kosher. This can either refer to the salting of meat or to the process of making dishes or appliances kosher through the application of heat.
Mashgiach: (Hebrew) supervisor, often appointed by a supervising agency to ensure that food produced at a commercial establishment is kosher.
Hashgachah: (Hebrew) Supervision, and the certification thereof, often issued by a rabbi or a rabbinic agency.
Hechsher: (Hebrew) Kosher certification, and the actual symbol denoting that a given product is certified kosher.
Glatt: (Yiddish). Literally “smooth,” this refers to an animal whose lungs have been found to be superbly healthy and free of adhesions. Since this is a higher standard of kosher, it has come to refer to food that is kosher according to the most exacting of standards.
Shechitah: (Hebrew) Kosher slaughter.
Shochet: (Hebrew) Trained kosher slaughterer.
Chumrah: (Hebrew) Additional stringencies that are beyond the letter of the law, which some communities or individuals may adopt.
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