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Chicken Shrimp

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Topic: Kosher, Different Levels of Food

Name@Withheld from Buffalo, NY wrote:

Dear Rabbi,

Dear Rabbi,

Can one food be more non-kosher than another? Last week, a friend's family who eats a lot of pork and beef invited me over for dinner. They spent a great deal of time avoiding all pork products just for me. However, they didn't realize that I don't eat shellfish. I didn't have the heart to tell them, since they were being so kind to me, so I ate the food. My question is, is for example shrimp worse than non-koshered chicken, or is it just all or nothing?

Dear Name@Withheld,

I warmly applaud your efforts to observe kashrut, and I'm sorry to hear about your ordeal.

Regarding shrimp and non-kosher chicken, both are equally forbidden to eat; that is, you're not allowed to eat shrimp just as much as you're not allowed to eat unkosher chicken. After the fact, however, eating shrimp is worse, because shrimp comes under several categories of prohibitions. So, by eating shrimp one transgresses more prohibitions.

Kosher food purifies our soul, making it receptive to spirituality. So, just because you messed up one time, don't "chicken" out! No little "shrimp" can stop you from becoming a spiritual giant!

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