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It Ain't Kosher!

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Topic: Kosher, Term, Antonym

Mark Spice from Sheffield, UK wrote:

Dear Rabbi,

I know kosher means foods etc. that are allowed. But what is the term for foods, etc,. that are not kosher?

Dear Mark Spice,

In common jargon, non-kosher food is called "treif."

Actually, the Torah doesn't use the word kosher to refer to kosher food! Regarding animals, the Torah speaks about the animals that are tahor (pure or kosher) and tamei (impure or non-kosher). Otherwise, we refer to non-kosher food as "asur," which means "forbidden."

Regarding mitzvah-objects - like a Torah scroll or a succah - we refer to them as either "kosher" (valid) or "pasul" (invalid).

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