The Holy One, blessed be He, permitted the nations of the world creeping things but regarding Israel, who are destined for eternal life, He said, "And ye shall be holy … You shall not make yourselves detestable … This you shall eat and this you shall not eat.
TANHUMA, SHEMINI 6
Many hypotheses have been advanced in explaining the dietary code on the basis of physical, psychological and social considerations. A number of midrashic comments clearly reflect the view that food consumed by man produces either a beneficial or a deleterious effect upon the soul. Thus, man's source of physical sustenance has a profound effect upon his spiritual well-being. Tanḥuma, Shemini 6, offers a poignant parable illustrating this concept: A physician visited two patients suffering from the identical malady. One was told by the doctor to eat whatever his heart desired; for the other he prescribed a strict diet and admonished him in great detail to eat only certain foods and to eschew others. When queried with regard to the discrepancy in his treatment of the two patients, the physician replied that the first could not be healed but that for the second there was hope. Therefore, there was no reason to restrict the first patient, whereas the eating habits of the second were a matter of great concern if he was to be restored to a state of health. As an explanation of the rationale underlying the dietary code, this midrashic comment underscores the principle that corporeal matters are causally related to achievement of spiritual excellence. The boundary between the material and the metaphysical is not at all hard and fast; the two are not entirely dichotomous. For a Jew the body is not simply a vessel serving as a container of a sacred soul, but is itself an instrument of spirituality. The laws of kashrut are addressed to a people who aspire to holiness and are designed to facilitate attainment of that goal.
The sanctity of the body is reflected in many other areas of Halakhah as well, although it may require a high degree of intellectual acumen to perceive a relationship between those areas of Jewish law and dietary restrictions. Such a connection is underscored by R. Abraham I. Kook, Da'at Kohen, no. 199, in an insightful responsum devoted to the anatomical study of cadavers. A correspondent expressed concern that non-Jews might not understand the reluctance of Jews to permit dissection of a corpse for scientific purposes and, accordingly, an anti-Semitic backlash might occur in some circles. Rav Kook's response is disarming in its simplicity: The Jew regards his body as sacred, as evidenced by the scrupulousness with which it is nourished and nurtured. Surely, he comments, all must recognize that the care and discrimination practiced in observance of the laws of kashrut endow the body with a unique sanctity; assuredly, then, even in death, that sacred body is deserving of deferential treatment.
It was not naivete, but saintliness, that prompted Rav Kook to ascribe such keen perception as universal in nature, but his insight surely should aid Jews in developing an awareness of the role of the dietary code in achieving a sanctity that is the unique patrimony of the people of Israel.
The presence of snapir ve-kaskeset, usually translated as "fins and scales," is the distinguishing criterion which serves to identify those species of fish which are permitted as kosher. The term "scales," however, is an inexact translation of the biblical term kaskeset which occurs in Leviticus 11:9. There exist a variety of anatomical structures known as "scales" which do not satisfy the halakhic definition of kaskeset. As evidenced by the terminology employed by the Gemara, Avodah Zarah 39a, and by Targum Onkelos, Leviticus 11:9, the term kaskeset denotes only scales which can be "peeled" or removed without injury to the underlying skin.1See also Ramban, Commentary on the Bible, Leviticus 10:10; Tiferet Yisra’el, Ḥullin 3:96; and R. Menachem Mendel Schneerson, Teshuvot Ẓemaḥ Ẓedek, Yoreh De‘ah, no. 61. Cf., Teshuvot Noda bi-Yehudah, Mahadura Tinyana, Yoreh De‘ah, nos. 28-30, and Teshuvot Ketav Sofer, Yoreh De‘ah, no. 45. In terms of biological classification, both ctenoid scales and cosmoid scales possess this characteristic. Scales of other types, are, in fact, projections or tubercles of the skin itself rather than a separate covering. Since scales of non-kosher species are integral to the skin itself, removal of such scales causes damage to the skin. Such damage can be observed visually at the time of removal. Thus, whether or not the scales of a particular species meet the criteria of kaskeset may be established at the time of their removal. Removal of the scales without damage to the skin establishes that the scales removed constitute a separate covering, or kaskeset, and not merely projections of the skin itself.2See Dr. Israel Meir Levinger, Mazon Kasher min ha-Ḥai, 2nd edition (Jerusalem, 5740), pp. 92 ff.
The nature of the scales covering a particular fish is not always readily apparent on visual examination prior to removal. Moreover, there exist closely related species of fish some of which are kosher and some of which are not. The distinguishing criterion is, of course, the nature of the scale which is present. The close resemblance of a non-kosher fish to a kosher variety has, at times, generated confusion and has led to error.
Turbot is a case in point. The fish, known in Latin as Rhombus maximus and in German as Steinbutt, possesses bony tubercles but lacks the type of scale which qualifies as kaskeset. Rabbi David Feldman, Shimushah shel Torah (London, 5711), p. 19, reports that turbot is easily mistaken for kosher species such as plaice and halibut. Rabbi Feldman presents a simple method for determining whether a given fish of this type is of a kosher variety or is the non-kosher turbot. Both the kosher and non-kosher species are black on one side and white on the other. However, the various species differ in that the left side of the turbot is black, while in kosher species it is the right side which is black. Accordingly, to determine whether the fish in question is kosher or non-kosher, the fish should be held spine upward with the head pointing away from the body of the holder. If the black side of the fish is observed to be on the left, it may be concluded that the fish is a turbot. If, however, the left side of the fish is white, the fish may be presumed to be of a kosher species. Rabbi Feldman hastens to add that since this criterion is not formulated in talmudic sources it should not be regarded as absolute.3According to some authorities, there may be a positive reason to examine further for the presence of scales. Sefer ha-Ḥinnukh, no. 145, regards Leviticus 11:9 as a positive commandment establishing a requirement to examine fish for the presence of fins and scales prior to eating. This requirement cannot be satisfied by examining for the presence of other criteria; cf., Ḥiddushei Ḥatam Sofer, Ḥullin 66a, s.v. u-ve-dagim. Sefer ha-Ḥinnukh seems to follow Rambam’s formulation of this miẓvah as presented in his Sefer ha-Miẓvot, miẓvot aseh, no. 152. However, a somewhat different exposition is presented by Rambam in his Mishneh Torah, Hilkhot Ma’akhalot Assurot 1:1. Cf., also Rashi, Leviticus 11:47, and the comments of R. Elijah Mizraḥi, ad locum. For a fuller discussion of these sources, see the opening section of this writer’s article in the Kislev 5749 issue of Or ha-Mizraḥ. Accordingly, a careful examination of the scales should always be made before the fish may be accepted as a member of a kosher species. However, if it is determined that the left side is black, it may be concluded that the fish is a non-kosher turbot and hence any further investigation is without purpose.
Nevertheless, despite the definite absence of kaskeset, turbot has not always been recognized as a non-kosher species. As will be shown, turbot which is common in England was also accepted there as kosher, at least in some circles, until a formal pronouncement labeling it a forbidden species was issued by the London Bet Din. Dr. Israel Meir Levinger, writing in the Tevet 5742 issue of Ha-Ma'ayan, reports that, although turbot was banned in Amsterdam, it was accepted as kosher in The Hague until World War II.4Cf., R. David Zevi Hoffmann, Melamed le-Ho‘il, II, no. 19, who reports that R. Asher Stern of Hamburg ruled that turbot was not kosher, but adds the comment that he “had heard” that it was eaten in Holland. [See, however, the statement of a former Chief Rabbi of Altona, R. Meir Lerner, Teshuvot Hadar ha-Karmel (London, 5735), II, Yoreh De‘ah, no. 28, who reports that although turbot was not eaten in Altona, it was eaten in neighboring Hamburg.]
An intriguing historical account of the confusion concerning the status of turbot in England is presented by Chief Rabbi I. Maarsen in the January 11, 1929 issue of a Dutch weekly, De Vrijdagavond. Much of that material was incorporated in an article authored by R. Israel M. Levinger and Michael Negin that appeared in the Iyar 5744 issue of Seridim, a publication of the Conference of European Rabbis.
In 1738 two emissaries from Venice, Jacob Belilius and Jacob Saraval, arrived in London to collect funds for needy Jews in Palestine. Those individuals publicly ate turbot on a number of occasions, declaring it to be identical with the Italian rhombo commonly enjoyed by Jews in Venice.5The account of the incident presented by Cecil Roth, The Great Synagogue, London, 1690-1940 (London, 1950), p. 81, is incorrect both with regard to date and detail. The rhombo is described by the Venetian Bet Din as a fish that sheds its scales when removed from water.6The text of the statement by the Bet Din of Venice is published in C. Duschinsky, The Rabbinate of the Great Synagogue, London From 1756-1842 (London, 1921), p. 285, and in Seridim, Iyar 5744, p. 16.
Since, in London, prior to the advent of these messengers, turbot had been regarded as non-kosher, their actions generated a furor. The matter was apparently brought to the attention of the then Chief Rabbi of the Ashkenazic community of Amsterdam, R. Aryeh Leib Lowenstam, a son-in-law of Hakham Zevi. R. Aryeh Lowenstam composed a lengthy responsum, dated 8 Av 5501 (1741), addressing this question.7The manuscript is listed in Neubauer’s Catalogue of the Hebrew Manuscripts in Jews’ College Library London (Oxford, 1886) and is now in the possession of the London Bet Din. This writer is indebted to the London Bet Din for providing him with a copy of the manuscript as well as for making available to him their extensive material on this subject. Despite attestations of the Venetian rabbinate, R. Aryeh Leib was unable to confirm that the Italian fish and turbot were identical. Consequently, he refused to sanction turbot as a kosher fish.8Curiously, the editions of a pocket calendar published in Amsterdam in 1706-1707 and 1725-1727 recommend consumption of turbot during the months of Tevet and Shevat. The calendar appears with the approbation of the Chief Rabbis of the time. Presumably, the rabbinic authorities reviewed only the calendrical material and ignored the sections that appeared to be mundane. See Maarsen, loc. cit., and Levinger and Negin, loc. cit. An appendix to this document written by the incumbent Chief Rabbi of London's Great Synagogue, R. Aaron Hart, a son-in-law of R. Samuel of Fürth (author of the Bet Shmu'el), similarly declares the fish to be non-kosher. Rabbi Hart relates that upon learning of the report of the Venetian travelers he discussed the matter with the head of the Sephardic community, Hakham Issac Nieto. The latter, together with the members of his Bet Din, carefully examined a number of turbot but could find no scales. An offer of half a guinea was made to any fishmonger's servant who would furnish a turbot with scales intact, but there were no claimants. Rabbi Hart himself endeavored to examine the turbot with a microscope but could find no sign of scales. Rabbi Hart further points out that the Chief Rabbi of London's Sephardic community from 1700 to 1728, the renowned Hakham David Nieto, was a native of Venice and had later lived in Leghorn. R. Hart notes that had Hakham Nieto recognized turbot as the Italian rhombo he certainly would have certified it as kosher during his tenure in London.9See De Vrijdagavond, January 11, 1929, p. 227.
The discussion was continued in the next generation by the sons of R. Aryeh Leib. R. Aryeh Leib's successor as Chief Rabbi of Amsterdam was his son R. Saul Lowenstam. Another son, variously known as Hirschel Lewin or Hart Lyon, became Chief Rabbi of the Great Synagogue in London and served in that office from 1758 to 1764. Hirschel Lewin wrote to his brother in Amsterdam arguing the cause of the kashrut of turbot but carefully noted that he would not rule independently in contradiction to the decision of their father. R. Saul Lowenstam responded by rebutting his brother's arguments and by endorsing the earlier rulings prohibiting the eating of turbot.10Loc. cit., pp. 227-28.
The reticence of Hirschel Lewin was not shared by his son. Hirschel Lewin left London for Mannheim in 1764 and died in Berlin in 1800. A child, known as Solomon Hirschell, born in London in 1761, was to occupy his father's former position as Chief Rabbi of the Great Synagogue for a span of forty years from 1802 to 1842. In 1822, the Bet Din received a communication from Newcastle-upon-Tyne asking if turbot was a permitted fish. Solomon Hirschell responded in the affirmative and stated that permissive rulings had previously been issued by two authorities, his father and his illustrious uncle, R. Saul of Amsterdam.11See Hyman A. Simons, Forty Years a Chief Rabbi: The Life and Times of Solomon Hirschell (London, 1980), p. 68. The attribution of this view to R. Saul of Amsterdam is simply incorrect. Hirschel Lewin did, at least at one time, entertain such views but did not act upon them. It is certainly possible that Solomon Hirschell never saw the manuscript in question but relied upon confused childhood memories of conversations with his father. In any event, Hirschel Lewin's advice was widely relied upon in England. It is certain that at least one list of kosher fish compiled by the London Bet Din in 1943 includes turbot as a kosher species.12See The Jewish Chronicle, May 14, 1943, p. 18 and November 19, 1954, p. 17. R. Israel M. Levinger and Michael Negin report that the Bet Din received scientific information in 1949 indicating that turbot do not have scales and thereafter omitted turbot from its list of kosher fish.
So the matter rested until 1954. At a festive dinner of a Jewish organization, catered at a prominent hotel under the supervision of the Kashrus Commission, the fish course consisted of turbot. One of the distinguished guests accused the caterer of serving non-kosher fish. During the ensuing furor the Chief Rabbi, Sir Israel Brodie, left his place at the head table to question the kashrut supervisor.13The Jewish Chronicle, October 29, 1954, pp. 5-6 and November 5, 1954, p. 6. See also Simons, loc. cit. Although the Kashrus Commission later declared that the "turbot" served at the dinner was of a kosher variety,14The Jewish Chronicle, October 29, 1954, pp. 5-6 and November 5, 1954, p. 6. the affair culminated in a ruling issued by the London Bet Din on November 2, 1954 declaring that turbot "is not to be included in the list of kosher fish."15The Jewish Chronicle, November 12, 1954, p. 5. See also Simons, loc. cit.
It is possible that the confusion regarding turbot was compounded by the fact that in some instances the term "turbot" has been used to denote a kosher variety of fish rather than the non-kosher Rhombus maximus. Thus, for example, the 1980 edition of A Guide To Kashrut, published by the student organization of Yeshiva University, while carefully noting that European and South American turbot are non-kosher, reports that a species sold commercially as "Greenland turbot" is a kosher fish.
Similar confusion existed in earlier periods as well. Semak, no. 111, reports in the name of R. Judah he-Hasid that a certain fish known as barbuta is non-kosher, but adds that other prominent rabbinic authorities did partake of that fish. Similarly, Hagahot Asheri, Avodah Zarah 2:41, quotes R. Judah he-Hasid as stating that one who partakes of barbuta will not be privileged to eat of the leviathan, but reports that Rashba declared in the name of Rabbenu Simchah that barbuta was a permitted species. This is apparently the position of Rosh, ad locum, as well. Hagahot Asheri further recounts that Rabbenu Ephraim originally permitted barbuta to be eaten but rescinded his permissive ruling upon experiencing a vision in a dream chastising him for his earlier leniency.
It is difficult to fathom the nature of the dispute concerning barbuta, particularly since in none of these sources is a controversial halakhic point enunciated. Apparently, these halakhic decisors themselves failed to grasp the reasoning of their opponents. This is evident in the words of Rosh who states, "It is difficult for me [to understand] the nature of the doubt on the part of all the great authorities." Dr. Levinger suggests that the confusion is, to a certain extent, linguistic in origin and centers upon identification of two different species, but that in point of fact, no substantive dispute exists. The barbuta forbidden by R. Judah he-Hasid, he asserts, is none other than Rhombus maximus or turbot. The authorities who issued permissive rulings, argues Dr. Levinger, intended their rulings to apply to a closely related species, Rhombus Laevis, known in English as kite or brill. Rhombus Laevis is, however, known in French as barbue. Hence the references to a permissive ruling with regard to barbuta are, in fact, references to the barbue and thus there arose the confusion of this fish with the related non-kosher species Rhombus maximus or turbot.16It is, however, entirely possible that the controversy with regard to the kashrut of barbuta reflected another substantive dispute among early authorities. Tosafot, Avodah Zarah 40a, is of the opinion that the presence of a backbone may be relied upon in establishing the permissibility of a fish. Rosh, Avodah Zarah 2:41, records an opposing view. The barbuta may well have been a fish lacking discernible scales but possessing a backbone. The controversy regarding its permissibility would then have centered upon whether or not the presence of a backbone constitutes a reliable indicator that the fish does indeed possess scales but sheds them upon emerging from the water.
However, from other comments of Tosafot, Avodah Zarah 40a, it would appear that the controversy reflects a disagreement with regard to whether the distinctive elongated semi-oval shape and internal configuration of the roe of permitted species may be accepted as an absolute indicator of kashrut or, alternatively, that some authorities had visual evidence that the fish lost its scales upon emerging from the water. See Pri Ḥadash, Yoreh De‘ah 83:8.
The Babirusa: A Kosher Pig?
An Associated Press news bulletin dated November 13, 1984 reported that a species of swine closely related to the domestic pig is a kosher animal. The author alleged that the babirusa, whose native habitat is Indonesia, possesses two stomachs and suggested that it also chews the cud. Since, in common with all swine, the babirusa also has split hoofs, the animal was alleged to possess the physical characteristics of a kosher species. The news item appeared in many American newspapers and was featured on television newscasts.
The Associated Press bulletin was based upon a report published by the National Research Council (NRC). In an article appearing in the Fall, 1984 issue of Horizons, a publication of the U.S. Agency for International Development, John Daly writes:
The babirusa stands out among pig-like animals because of its unique stomach, similar to a ruminant's…. This may make the babirusa a more efficient meat producer in some environments. In addition, cultures that do not eat swine might accept the babirusa.17P. 28.
In Israel, the report of the existence of an animal whose meat is allegedly indistinguishable from that of a pig in taste and appearance, but which is nevertheless kosher, created somewhat of a sensation. Newspaper accounts indicate that a number of prominent rabbinic authorities whose views were solicited were understandably incredulous and reserved decision. In particular, some scholars expressed concern with regard to whether the configuration of the animal's toes manifests the criteria of split hoofs which are the hallmark of a kosher species. Gilyon Maharsha, Yoreh De'ah 79:1, citing earlier authorities, states that the hoofs must be split along their entire length. The London Jewish Chronicle, November 16, 1984, p. 1, quoted an anonymous Anglo-Jewish scholar who expressed concern that the animal may have been the product of crossbreeding between a kosher animal and the non-kosher pig.
The phenomenon of a kosher pig is not entirely unknown in rabbinic literature. R. Hayyim ibn Attar, Or ha-Hayyim, Leviticus 11:3, quotes an unidentified aggadic source which comments: "Why is it named 'ḥazir'? Because it will one day 'return' to become permissible," i.e., the pig will return to its pre-Sinaitic status as a permitted source of meat. In his commentary on Leviticus 11:7. Or ha-Hayyim questions the meaning of this statement. It is a fundamental principle of Judaism that the Torah is immutable; hence a pig which does not chew its cud cannot at any time be declared kosher.18Cf., however, Va-Yikra Rabbah 13:3; Midrash Shoḥer Tov, Ps. 146; and R. Joseph Albo, Sefer ha-Ikkarim, III, chapters 13-19. Accordingly, Or ha-Hayyim comments that the phrase "but it does not chew its cud" which occurs in Leviticus 11:7 is conditional in nature, i.e., the pig is forbidden only so long as it does not chew its cud, "but in the eschatological era it will chew its cud and will 'return' to become permissible." Indeed, the etymological analysis presented by Or ha-Hayyim would lead to acceptance of a cud-chewing pig not only as a kosher animal but as a harbinger of the eschatological era as well. A similar statement is made by Rema of Panu, Asarah Ma'amarot, Ma'amar Hikur Din, II, chapter 17.19See also R. Moses Sofer, Torat Mosheh, Deuteronomy 14:8.
The comments of Or ha-Hayyim are, however, sharply challenged by R. Baruch ha-Levi Epstein, Torah Temimah, Leviticus 11:7, sec. 21. Torah Temimah asserts that the only rabbinic statement even vaguely resembling that which is quoted by Or ha-Hayyim is an etymological comment on the word "ḥazir" found in Va-Yikra Rabbah 13:5 and repeated in Kohelet Rabbah 1:28.20See also Tanḥuma Yashan, Shemini 14. In context, the midrashic statement is clearly an allegorical reference to the eschatological role of gentile nations in causing the return of Israel to her original state of grandeur. A similar interpretation was presented much earlier by Rabbenu Baḥya in his commentary on Leviticus 11:7.21For other analyses of this midrashic statement see sources cited by R. Menachem Kasher, Torah Shelemah, vol. XXVIII, Leviticus 11:7, sec. 34. It should be noted that Or ha-Ḥayyim’s version of this midrashic statement is quoted verbatim by Abarbanel, Yeshu‘ot Meshiḥo, ha-Iyyun ha-Revi‘i, chapter 3, and attributed to Bereishit Rabbah. However, Abarbanel states that Bereishit Rabbah itself explains the comment as referring to the “devouring” of Edom rather than to the consumption of swine. Rabbenu Baḥya also cites a variant reading similar to that of Or ha-Ḥayyim. Rabbenu Baḥya himself, however, interprets that version allegorically. Recanati, Leviticus 11:7, Ritva, Kiddushin 49b, and Teshuvot Radbaz, II, no. 828, similarly deny that the swine will ever be permissible and offer allegorical interpretations of the midrashic comments.
Whether or not there is a specific midrashic reference to a pig which chews the cud, it would appear that an animal which has split hoofs and which also chews its cud is ipso facto kosher. Indeed, Jewish law does not even deem it essential to examine an animal for the manifestation of both split hoofs and the chewing of the cud. Leviticus 11:4-6 enumerates three species of ruminants which chew the cud but which do not have split hoofs: the camel, the rock-badger and the hare. Deuteronomy 14:7 names a fourth animal, the shesu'ah, which is described as chewing the cud but as not having cloven hoofs. This animal is described by the Gemara, Hullin 60b, as a creature which has two backs and two spinal columns. The Gemara, Niddah 24a, further explains that the shesu'ah is the progeny of a permitted species. In effect, the birth of a shesu'ah is an anomaly. Both Leviticus 11:7 and Deuteronomy 14:8 name only one animal, the swine, which has split hoofs but does not chew its cud. The Gemara, Hullin 59a, on the basis of a pleonasm, regards these enumerated species, not as paradigmatic, but as exhaustive. Thus the Gemara comments, "The Ruler of the universe knows that there is no other beast that chews the cud and is unclean except the camel [and the other species enumerated by Scripture]" and similarly comments, "The Ruler of the universe knows that there is no other beast that parts the hoof and is unclean except the swine." These dicta pave the way for a determination that an animal may be declared kosher even without examination for the presence of both split hoofs and the chewing of the cud. The Gemara, Hullin 59a, notes that the absence of upper incisors and canines is a characteristic of all ruminants with the exception of the camel which has canines in both jaws.22The front teeth in the upper jaw of ruminants are replaced by a horny pad. The front teeth of the lower jaw are directed forward and, upon closing the mouth, simply press the grass tightly against this pad. When the head is jerked sideways the gum is cut through by the sharp edges of the lower front teeth. See Encyclopedia Britannica (Chicago, 1966), XIX, 752. Accordingly, declares the Gemara, "If a man was walking in the desert and found an animal with its hoofs cut off, he should examine the mouth; if it has no upper teeth he may be certain that it is clean, otherwise he may be certain that it is unclean; provided, however, … he recognizes the young camel." The possibility that the animal may be a young camel must be excluded since, even though the young camel has no teeth, it will eventually develop canines. The Gemara explicitly negates the possibility that there may exist some other animal that lacks teeth, i.e., a ruminant that chews the cud but is non-kosher by virtue of its non-cloven hoofs. Thus, if it were to be shown that the babirusa lacks incisors and canines on its upper jaw it may be declared a kosher species on that basis alone. Absence of incisors and canines is itself evidence that the animal is a cud-chewing ruminant.
The Gemara continues with the description of another criterion by means of which an animal may be recognized as a member of a permitted species: "If a man was walking in a desert and found an animal with its hoofs cut off and its mouth mutilated, he should examine its flank; if it runs crosswise he may be certain that it is clean, but if not he may be certain that it is unclean; provided, however, he recognizes the arod….23Although the term arod is rendered as “wild ass” in the King James translation of Job 39:5, the identity of this animal cannot be determined with any degree of certainty. Where should he examine the flesh? … Under the rump." In kosher species the flesh under the tail in the vicinity of the rump runs in a criss-cross fashion; one series of muscles runs downward so that that portion of the meat is readily torn vertically and another series of muscles runs transversely so that that portion of the meat is readily torn horizontally. The Gemara explicitly states that we are the recipients of a tradition received by Moses at Mount Sinai to the effect that the arod is the sole non-kosher animal manifesting this characteristic. Thus, if the babirusa indeed manifests this characteristic there would be yet additional grounds for assuming that it is a kosher species.
There is yet another means of recognizing a kosher species. The Mishnah, Niddah 51b, declares, "Every [species] which has horns has [split] hoofs," i.e., is a kosher species. According to Rabbenu Tam, cited by Tosafot, Hullin 59a, that dictum is accepted as a unanimous pronouncement and hence, as Maharsha, ad locum, explains, the presence of any type of horn is a sufficient criterion of kashrut. However, Rivan, also cited by Tosafot, Hullin 59a, maintains that this dictum reflects the opinion of R. Dosa who is reported to have declared, "Those that have horns need not be examined as to their hoofs" (Hullin 59b). According to Rivan, the Sages disagree with R. Dosa and require the presence of both horns and split hoofs. However, even according to Rivan, the Sages accept the presence of any type of horn as a sufficient criterion of the kashrut of the species provided that the animal also manifests split hoofs.24See Bi’ur ha-Gra, Yoreh De‘ah 79:3. Thus, if an animal possesses split hoofs, the presence of horns is sufficient to guarantee that it is not a forbidden swine. Accordingly, Shulḥan Arukh, Yoreh De'ah 79:1, rules "… if its hoofs are split it is certain that it is clean, provided he recognizes a pig; if it has horns there is no possibility that it might be a pig and it is clean."25Cf., however, Rambam, Commentary on the Mishnah, Niddah 52b, and Maharsha, ad locum.
The Gemara, Hullin 59b, does indeed state that, in order to qualify as a distinguishing criterion of ḥayyah or "wild beast" whose ḥelev is permitted, the horn must be forked (according to Rashi: branched, like antlers; according to Tosafot: bent or hooked at the end) or, if not forked, the horn must be rounded (i.e., composed of tubes or scales, one over the other), pointed (or according to one interpretation advanced by Rashi, rounded and narrow) and notched (i.e., rough), and the notches must run one into the other.26Ḥelev is the fat which, in a sacrificed animal, was offered upon the altar. Since only “cattle” were offered as sacrifices, the fat of a ḥayyah or “wild beast” is permitted. However, such distinctive horns are required only in order to determine that the animal is a ḥayyah or "wild beast" whose ḥelev is permitted; the presence of any type of horn is indicative of the fact that the animal is a member of a kosher species. Thus Shulḥan Arukh omits reference to the presence of a distinctive horn in declaring that the presence of horns is sufficient to exclude the possibility that an animal may be a pig.27See Maharsha, Ḥullin 59b, and Maḥaẓit ha-Shekel, Oraḥ Ḥayyim 586:3.
In discussing the status of the babirusa the Jewish Chronicle quotes the Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Israel, Rabbi Mordecai Eliyahu, as stating, inter alia, "…the question of its tusks is also relevant."28It may be noted that the word “babirusa” means “pig-deer” in the language of the indigenous populace of its native habitat. The natives assigned the animal this name because its tusks resemble the antlers of a deer. See E. P. Walker, Mammals of the World, 3rd edition (Baltimore, 1975), p. 1364. The question of the babirusa's tusks, which are virtually perpendicular and point upwards in the manner of horns, is indeed relevant in the sense that the presence of horns would also, in and of itself, be sufficient to distinguish the babirusa from forbidden forms of swine. Coupled with split hoofs, the presence of horns would be sufficient evidence of the animal's kashrut. Horns, however, by definition, emerge from the head.29See Rambam, Commentary on the Mishnah, Ḥullin 59a. Pictures of the babirusa show upwardly curved projections emanating from the area of the snout. Presumably, those tusk-like projections are rooted in the jaw or in the cheek, rather than in the head or skull, and, halakhically, would not be categorized as horns. Accordingly, the presence or absence of such tusks would be of no halakhic significance.30The presence of horns is a sufficient criterion of kashrut, but not a necessary criterion. Cf., Rambam, Rabad and Maggid Mishneh, Hilkhot Ma’akhalot Assurot 1:2.
Assuming that the babirusa manifests the requisite criteria of a kosher animal, the fact that it resembles a pig in appearance and taste is not sufficient grounds for banning its consumption as kosher meat. The Sages of the Talmud did indeed promulgate numerous edicts in order to prevent inadvertent transgression of biblical laws as the result of possible confusion between that which is permitted and that which is forbidden in situations in which the permitted and the prohibited closely resemble one another. Yet, absent specific rabbinic legislation, there are no grounds to forbid any matter which has not been expressly prohibited.
The earliest formulation of this principle occurs in a responsum of Rav Sar Shalom Ga'on, Teshuvot ha-Ge'onim: Hemdah Genuzah, no. 77. Sandwiches were apparently known and enjoyed as early as the geonic period since the interlocutor asks whether it is permissible "to make a bun and to place in it [a piece of] tail or fat meat." His concern was that the bread might crumble and the particles of bread which break off from the bun might later be eaten with cheese. It is because of such concern that rabbinic law declares bread containing either dairy or meat products to be non-kosher, unless the bread is baked in a distinctive manner. However, with regard to placing meat in the already baked bun, Rav Sar Shalom Ga'on answers unequivocally that there is no reason for concern since there is no decree of "our early teachers" prohibiting the eating of meat sandwiches.
There are, however, two logical possibilities that must be discussed which would have the effect of negating the conclusion that, upon manifesting the physical criteria of a permitted species, the babirusa may be considered a kosher animal. The possibility must be considered that the animal may have originated either as the result of crossbreeding between a kosher species and a swine or as the result of a genetic mutation.31Such a possibility with regard to sea creatures is considered by Ma‘adanei Yom Tov, Ḥullin, chap. 3, 67:5. The contention that the babirusa may perhaps be the result of crossbreeding may be dismissed quite readily. The possibility of the emergence of an interspecies of this nature, particularly of one which is not sterile and can reproduce, is extremely unlikely, to say the least. From the halakhic vantage point it is regarded as impossible. Although the Gemara, Bekhorot 7a, accepts the possibility of animals of different species mating and producing offspring, it rejects the opinion which asserts that progeny may be born of a union between members of kosher and non-kosher species.
The possibility of a genetic mutation which is transmitted to future generations is much more within the realm of both scientific and halakhic possibility. The halakhah to be applied in the event of the occurrence of such a contingency is clear. Codifying a principle laid down in the Mishnah, Bekhorot 5b, Shulḥan Arukh, Yoreh De'ah 79:2, rules that the offspring of an unclean mother is non-kosher even if the animal itself manifests all the characteristics of a kosher animal. The comments of many authorities, particularly Shakh, Yoreh De'ah 79:4, and Pri Megadim, Siftei Da'at 79:1, indicate that the principle involved is that of yoze, i.e., anything which "emerges" from, or is produced by, an unclean animal is itself not kosher. It is on the basis of this principle that, for example, the milk of non-kosher animals is forbidden.
R. Hayyim ha-Levi Soloveichik, in his commentary on the Rambam, Hilkhot Ma'akhalot Assurot 3:11, explains this halakhic provision in an entirely different manner. R. Hayyim states that, in effect, an animal is a member of a given species, not because it possesses the distinctive characteristics of that species, but because it was born to a mother who is a member of that species. It is, then, maternal identity which is transmitted to progeny and which determines the species to which the offspring belong for purposes of halakhic classification. On the basis of either analysis, the offspring of a non-kosher animal is not kosher even if, as the result of genetic mutation, it manifests the criteria of a kosher animal.32With regard to other halakhic concerns, the Gemara in a number of instances records conflicting views as to whether or not paternal identity is also transmitted to progeny (ḥosheshin le-zera ha-av). However, since a non-kosher animal cannot sire offspring by mating with an animal of a kosher species, the question of “patrilineal succession” does not arise in this context. The issue might, however, arise in a different context, viz., in a situation in which an embryo is removed from the uterus of a pig and transferred to the uterus of a kosher animal. The offspring, conceived in the womb of a non-kosher animal but which gestates in the womb of a kosher animal from which it is born, would not be forbidden as yoẓe. Since it is the “product” of two animals, one kosher and the other non-kosher, the principle zeh ve-zeh gorem applies, i.e., when a second causal agent is present, the product is no longer regarded as having “emerged” from the non-kosher animal. However, the principle of ḥosheshin le-zera ha-av establishes that paternal identity is also transmitted to progeny and hence the offspring acquire the identity of the non-kosher father. In the case of an embryo or ovum removed from a non-kosher animal, it is arguable that the identity of the species of the animal which produced the ovum is transferred to the offspring even if paternal identity is not transferred in a like manner.
The two theories do, however, yield a halakhic difference with regard to the punishment to be administered for consuming the meat of an ostensibly "kosher" animal born to a non-kosher mother. If the animal is regarded as intrinsically non-kosher, the punishment is lashes; if the offspring is only the "product" of a non-kosher species, no lashes are administered for eating its flesh. There are also other halakhic ramifications which are contingent upon acceptance of one or the other of these theories. If the offspring is intrinsically non-kosher there is no punishment of karet for partaking of the animal's ḥelev, since the prohibition against partaking of ḥelev does not extend to the fat of non-kosher species which cannot be offered as sacrifices. Furthermore, if the animal is itself kosher, but forbidden as the "product" of a non-kosher animal, upon sheḥitah its flesh would not defile as carrion; if the animal is intrinsically not kosher, it would defile as carrion even if slaughtered by means of sheḥitah.33See Pitḥei Teshuvah, Yoreh De‘ah 79:1.
Although a clean animal born of an unclean animal is not kosher, absent evidence that such a phenomenon has occurred, there is no halakhic basis for suspecting that an animal manifesting the characteristics of a kosher species is in reality the offspring of a non-kosher animal. Were this not the case, no animal could be definitively accepted as kosher unless a witness was present at its birth to observe that, in actuality, it is the offspring of a kosher mother. The general halakhic principle is that such unlikely contingencies need not be contemplated.
Thus it might appear that there are no halakhic grounds for a suspicion that the babirusa is a genetic mutation of a forbidden species of swine and hence itself non-kosher. There are, however, grounds for skepticism with regard to the permissibility of the babirusa. The Gemara, Hullin 109b, declares:
For everything God has forbidden us He has permitted us an equivalent: He has forbidden us blood but has permitted us liver; He has forbidden us intercourse during menstruation but has permitted us the blood of purification; he has forbidden us the fat of cattle but has permitted us the fat of a wild beast; He has forbidden us swine's flesh but has permitted us the brain of the shibbuta….
If the babirusa is indeed a "kosher pig" it is a much more obvious example of a kosher counterpart to the non-kosher swine than is the brain of the fish known as the shibbuta. Moreover, the Gemara, Hullin 80a. states that the only animals which are kosher are the ten species specifically enumerated in Deuteronomy 14:4-5. This dictum is recorded as a normative ruling by Rambam, Hilkhot Ma'akhalot Assurot 1:8. There are, of course, other kosher animals which one might regard as distinct species, including perhaps the kevi (or koi), which according to one talmudic opinion is an "independent species." Those animals, for purposes of halakhic classification, are subsumed under one or another of the species enumerated by Scripture.34Cf., Arukh ha-Shulḥan, Yoreh De‘ah 79:41.
Thus, assuming that the babirusa manifests the criteria of a clean animal, to be regarded as kosher it must be classified, not as a "kosher pig," or even as an independent species, but as a subspecies of one of the ten kosher animals enumerated by Scripture. Given its biological and anatomical similarity to the swine, the possibility that it is a mutation of a swine appears more cogent. Since, in this case, there are grounds for suspecting that the babirusa is "a clean animal which has been born of an unclean animal" it would appear to this writer that its status would be, if not definitively non-kosher, de minimus, that of a safek, i.e., an animal of doubtful kashrut.
In any event, it would not be permitted to eat the babirusa because of an entirely different consideration. According to a number of latter-day authorities, it is forbidden to eat the meat of any hitherto unknown species even if it possesses the characteristics of a kosher animal and does not in any way resemble a non-kosher species. Hokhmat Adam 36:1 declares, "… we eat only [those animals] with regard to which we have received a tradition from our fathers." Therefore, "it is forbidden for us to eat of the 'wild beasts' [ḥayyot] except the deer which is recognized by us." This rule is stated by Rema, Yoreh De'ah 82:3, with regard to birds and is extended by Hokhmat Adam to encompass animal species as well. Hokhmat Adam's position appears to be based upon a comment of Shakh, Yoreh De'ah 80:1, although the thrust of Shakh's comment is understood in a different manner by Pri Megadim, Siftei Da'at 80:1. Hokhmat Adam's ruling is endorsed by Hazon Ish, Yoreh De'ah 11:4-5, as an established practice.35It must be noted that Ḥazon Ish demonstrates that the ruling of Ḥayyei Adam applies to both ḥayyot and behemot without distinction and, moreover, shows that, since this ruling is predicated upon the comment of Shakh, any distinction between ḥayyot and behemot would be untenable. Cf., R. Moses Tendler, Chavrusa, March, 1985, p. 3.
In point of fact, the entire discussion is only of academic interest. Science News, vol. 126, no. 2 (November 24, 1984), p. 327, reveals that babirusas are to be found in this country in the Los Angeles Zoo. A zoo official, Dr. Warren Thomas, is reported as stating that the babirusa is not a ruminant and does not chew it's cud.36See also The Wall Street Journal, March 27, 1985. p. 37, and L. Krishtalka, “Missing Links,” Carnegie Magazine, May-June, 1985, p. 39
In actuality, it has been known for some time that the babirusa is not a true ruminant. With the exception of an early investigation conducted by Willem Vrolik, Recherches d'anatomie comparée sur le Babyrussa (Amsterdam, 1844) and a brief discussion by a noted nineteenth-century English anatomist and paleontologist, Sir Robert Owen, On the Anatomy of Vertebrates (London, 1868), III, 465, the sole scientific study of the babirusa is the 1940 report of D. Dwight Davis, "Notes on the Anatomy of the Babirusa," Field Museum of Natural History, XXII, 363-411. That study was based upon post-mortem dissection of a babirusa that had died in the Chicago Zoo. Davis, p. 388, reports that, although the animal's stomach, except for the absence of an omasum, is strikingly similar to that of the domestic sheep, the arrangement of the stomach "is scarcely such that true rumination could take place … and it is certain that the similarity is due to convergence, and consequently is without such phylogenetic significance."37See also Davis, loc. cit., p. 391. Moreover, the non-ruminating character of the babirusa was recognized well over a hundred years ago by Sir Robert Owen, in his previous cited discussion.38See also E. P. Walker, Mammals of the World, p. 1355, and L. Krishtalka, “Missing Links,” Carnegie Magazine, May-June, 1985, p. 39.
Moreover, a report issued by the National Research Council. Little-Known Asian Animals with a Promising Economic Future (Washington, 1983), p. 89, states, "The male has large upper canines that grow upwards, piercing right through the flesh of the snout and curving back and downwards towards the forehead without even entering the mouth." Thus the tusks of the babirusa are not horns, but are described as canines. As has been indicated earlier, the Gemara, Hullin 59a, declares that the presence of incisors or canines is a conclusive indication that the animal does not chew the cud. As stated by Rabbi Eliyahu, the "question of [the babirusa's] tusks" is certainly "relevant." Indeed, it is more than relevant; it is dispositive.
It is of interest to note that R. Meir Leibush Malbim, in his commentary on Leviticus 11:7, describes an animal remarkably similar to the babirusa. Malbim reports that the animal, which he calls a "tai'asu," is found in the tropical areas of South America and possesses four stomachs. Although Malbim is unclear, and perhaps even contradictory, with regard to whether this animal chews the cud, he reports that it has incisors in the upper jaw. As has been noted earlier, absence of incisors is regarded by the Gemara. Hullin 59a, as proof that the animal chews its cud and the converse is regarded as proof that it is unclean, i.e., the presence of incisors is incompatible with chewing the cud. Accordingly, it must be assumed that Malbim intends us to understand that the tai'asu does not chew its cud. Malbim declares the animal to be non-kosher and points to its physical characteristics in order to illustrate the use of the future tense in the phrase "ve-hu gerah lo yigar—it will not chew the cud." According to Malbim, the verse alludes to this particular species of swine and declares that, although it has developed some characteristics of a ruminant, viz., four stomachs, it remains non-kosher because "it will not chew the cud."
The animals described by Malbim are peccaries originally known as dicotyles and now usually referred to as tayassu. Their anatomical characteristics are described in some detail by Georges Cuvier, Règne Animal (Paris, 1817), I, 237, and W. H. Flower and R. Lydekker, An Introduction to the Study of Mammals Living and Extinct (London, 1891), p. 289. as well as by Sir Robert Owen in his previously cited work, On the Anatomy of Vertebrates, III, 465. A more recent discussion, in which the animals are referred to as tayassu, appears in E. P. Walker, Mammals of the World, 3rd edition (Baltimore, 1975), pp. 1355 and 1365-66. The animal is indeed found only in the Western Hemisphere, as reported by Malbim. The tayassu is found primarily in Central and South America, although Walker states that it is also found in Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. Malbim appears to be inaccurate in describing the tayassu as possessing a four-chambered stomach. Sir Robert Owen states that the stomach is divided into three compartments, while E. P. Walker reports that although its stomach is more complex than that of the pig, it is only two-chambered. All agree on the crucial point, viz., that the tayassu is non-ruminating.
Were the babirusa to chew the cud as originally alleged, its kashrut status would, at best, have been doubtful. However, since all available evidence indicates that it lacks the physical criteria of a kosher animal, it must, of course, be regarded as non-kosher.
Lanolin is the purified form of a secretion that forms a grease or wax-like coating on the fleece of sheep. It is generally obtained by scouring raw wool in a soap solution and centrifuging the solution in order to recover the grease. The grease is then refined, bleached, deodorized, and dried. Lanolin and its derivatives are most commonly used as emollients and emulsifiers in cosmetic and pharmaceutical preparations but, at times, lanolin is also employed in the manufacture of chewing gum and possibly as an additive designed to serve as an emulsifier in the manufacture of other food products.
Although sheep are kosher animals, a question arises with regard to the kashrut of lanolin by virtue of the fact that it is secreted by the animal prior to slaughter. To this writer's knowledge, the sole discussion of the kashrut of lanolin that has appeared in rabbinic literature is that of R. Joshua Moshe Aronzon, Yeshu'at Mosheh, II, no. 81. Rabbi Aronzon's chief concern is that lanolin is derived from what he categorizes as drops or globules of fat secreted by the animal. The Gemara, Bekhorot 6b, explicitly describes fat removed from a living animal as a form of "flesh from a living animal" which is prohibited by biblical law. Accordingly, were lanolin a form of fat, it would be forbidden for this reason. In point of fact, this description of the nature of lanolin is inaccurate. The error, however, is readily understandable since the material from which lanolin is derived is commonly referred to as "wool fat."39See Encyclopedia Britannica (Chicago, 1966), XIII, 707. In fact, lanolin is derived from a lipid excretion of the sheep's skin.40E. Vernon Truter, Wool Wax (London, 1956), p. ix. The material is produced in the sebaceous gland embedded in the basal layer of the epidermis.41Ibid., p. 8. Contraction of the arrector muscle compresses an attachment at the base of each lobe of the sebaceous gland and squeezes the glandular secretion onto the fiber.42Ibid., p. 9. Halakhically, the secretion must be regarded as a form of "yoze" i.e., an excretion or emission, of a forbidden substance. The excretion of a forbidden substance is, generally speaking, also forbidden, although such prohibition is less severe than the prohibition associated with the forbidden substance itself.43See Bekhorot 6b and Yoreh De‘ah 81:1. The prohibition regarding secretions is not inherent in the negative commandment forbidding the substance itself but is in the form of a separate positive commandment to abstain even from secretions of forbidden substances. Prohibitions derived from positive commandments are less severe than negative prohibitions and entail no statutory punishment. The status of lanolin as the excretion of a forbidden substance is also addressed in Rabbi Aronzon's discussion, but it is apparently his understanding that lanolin is a derivative of the fat of the animal that leads him to the conclusions that he formulates. Rabbi Aronzon permits the use of lanolin in detergents and cleaning agents for utensils utilized in the manufacture and preparation of food only if the lanolin has been rendered unfit for consumption by beast or man (nifsal me-akhilat kelev), but somewhat equivocally comments that the use of lanolin as a food additive requires further evaluation.
However, a proper understanding of the nature of lanolin yields an entirely different conclusion. Milk secreted by the mammary glands of kosher species is permitted despite the fact that it is emitted by an entity which is itself forbidden, i.e., a living animal which has as yet not been rendered permissible for food by means of ritual slaughter. The Gemara, Bekhorot 6b, adduces a series of biblical verses in demonstrating that milk is, in effect, an exception to the prohibition against yoze, i.e., the excretion or emission of forbidden substances. The milk of non-kosher species is, however, forbidden because it is secreted by an animal which is itself non-kosher.
The status of other substances secreted by living (kosher) animals is the subject of dispute. The status of such substances is rooted in a controversy concerning the permissibility of "milk-water" (mei ḥalav). As described by Bet Yosef, Yoreh De'ah 81, "milk-water" is the residual liquid obtained by first boiling those components of milk which remain after the milk itself has been turned into cheese and then skimming off the solids which rise to the top. Tur Shulḥan Arukh, Yoreh De'ah 81, records two opposing views regarding the kashrut of this liquid: R. Eliezer forbids mei ḥalav on the grounds that only milk is explicitly permitted by Scripture and hence milk alone is exempted from the prohibition against eating foodstuffs which are emitted by non-kosher substances. Rabbenu Simchah permits mei ḥalav on the grounds that, with the dispensation for consumption of milk, mei ḥalav became permitted as well. It is the latter opinion that is regarded as authoritative by Tur Shulḥan Arukh.
The nature of Rabbenu Simchah's reasoning is not immediately clear. Does he regard "milk-water" as simply a component of milk which is an explicitly permitted substance? If so, substances other than milk that are secreted by living animals remain forbidden. Or does he concede to R. Eliezer that "milk-water" is not milk, but, nevertheless maintains that "milk" serves as a paradigm and that, in permitting the milk of kosher species, Scripture has entirely exempted from the prohibition of yoze any and all substances derived from living (kosher) animals?
It seems evident that Bet Yosef, loc. cit., s.v. ḥalav behemah, understands Rabbenu Simchah's ruling as reflecting the latter analysis, i.e., as permitting all secretions of living kosher animals. Tur Shulḥan Arukh rules that the urine of non-kosher species is a forbidden substance but that the urine of a kosher species is not a forbidden substance. Bet Yosef finds this entirely compatible with the position of Rabbenu Simchah who permits "milk-water." Bet Yosef's statement is cogent only if it is regarded as predicated upon the assumption that Rabbenu Simchah regards all substances secreted by kosher animals to be permissible.44See also Levush, Yoreh De‘ah 81:5 and Ḥazon Ish, Yoreh De‘ah 12:6. Rabbi Aronzon seems to believe that there is some doubt with regard to this point. Apparently he did not realize that the further comments of Bet Yosef seeking another rationale for the permissibility of urine are advanced in explication of the position of R. Eliezer rather than of the normative position of Rabbenu Simchah. See also, Baḥ, ibid., s.v. u-mah-she-be-ketav.
Noting a further problem, Rabbi Aronzon points out that, even if it is regarded as kosher, lanolin may contain an admixture of blood and hence its use may be prohibited because the blood cannot be extracted from the lanolin. In support of that position he cites a controversy recorded by Rosh, Berakhot 6:24 regarding the kashrut of musk: "Some say that musk is the 'sweat of an animal,' but it is more correct [to say] that it is a specific animal that has a hump in its throat45In point of fact, musk is secreted by male animals of the species moschus moschiferus or musk deer, a species native to the mountains of Nepal, Tibet and Mongolia. The secretion accumulates in a pouch or musk pod situated between the anus and the sex organs. See Encyclopedia Britannica (Chicago, 1966), XV, 1093 and Kurt Bauer and Dorothea Garbe, Common Fragrance and Flavor Materials (Weinheim, 1985), p. 174. and [that] first there is collected therein a type of blood and then it turns into musk. R. Zechariah ha-Levi forbade it to be eaten because of fear of [an admixture of] of blood, while Rabbenu Yonah explained that it is possible to advance a reason for permitting [musk] by declaring that it is pirsha be-alma (i.e., merely a nonedible derivative rather than a foodstuff)." Rabbi Aronzon's concern is based upon his assumption that lanolin is a form of animal fat and, as noted by Shakh, Yoreh De'ah 75:8, all fat is presumed to contain blood and requires soaking and salting for its removal. Thus, unless lanolin is regarded as pirsha be-alma, it would be forbidden because of the blood that it must be presumed to contain. However, since blood is present only in the flesh of an animal, there is no such presumption with regard to liquids secreted by an animal, e.g., urine. Hence, if it is recognized that lanolin is a glandular secretion, it would be entirely permissible. Although musk is also a liquid secretion, it is apparently recovered by drying and pulverizing the gland in which it is produced; hence, it is entirely possible for blood to enter the recovered product. This is not the case with regard to lanolin. It should also be noted that many latter-day authorities rule that musk is permissible on the grounds that any blood that may have been present has been rendered mere pirsha.46See Teshuvot Radbaz, III no. 909; Taz, Oraḥ Ḥayyim 116:2; Eliyahu Rabbah, Oraḥ Ḥayyim 114:4; Teshuvot Mayim Rabbim, no. 10; and Mishnah Berurah 116:7. Cf., however, Magen Avraham, Oraḥ Ḥayyim 116:3; Levush, Yoreh De‘ah 81:1; Pri Megadim, Eshel Avraham, Oraḥ Ḥayyim 116:3; Teshuvot Sho’el u-Meshiv, Mahadura Kamma, III, no. 122, s.v. omnam; Teshuvot Ḥatam Sofer, Oraḥ Ḥayyim, no. 135; Teshuvot Zemaḥ Ẓedek, Yoreh De‘ah, no. 67, sec. 6. See also Ḥazon Ish, Yoreh De‘ah 12:7.
Moreover, as Rabbi Aronzon notes, there is reason to assume that even those authorities who forbid the use of musk in food products would permit the use of lanolin as a food additive. Magen Avraham, Oraḥ Hayyim 216:3, forbids the use of musk, but nevertheless concedes that were the secretion to be "mere dust" before being made into musk it would be permissible; his sole problem is that this fact is unknown. The principle established by Magen Avraham is, however, clear: a substance is not forbidden as yoze unless it is edible at the time it is secreted; a secreted substance that is inedible at the time of its secretion, or becomes inedible thereafter, remains permissible even if its nature is such that it will develop naturally into, or be used in conjunction with, a proper foodstuff.47See R. Moses Feinstein, Iggerot Mosheh, Yoreh De‘ah, II, no. 24, who employs this argument as one of his grounds for permitting the use of confectioner’s glaze. Thus, a bird born of an egg laid by a tereifah is kosher: The egg, itself the yoze of a forbidden substance, becomes putrid before the embryo develops. Although the egg remains a potential food product even in its putrid state, the bird hatched from the egg is kosher because the egg earlier became inedible.48See also R. Yitzchak Ze’ev ha-Levi Soloveitchik, Ḥiddushei Rabbenu ha-Griz ha-Levi (Jerusalem, 5732), III, Nazir 50a. [This is in contradistinction to the principle governing the consumption of the forbidden substance proper, i.e., that so long as the forbidden foodstuff is designed for use in conjunction with an edible food product it remains forbidden even if the forbidden substance is itself inedible. The best example of the application of that principle is the prohibition against use of sourdough itself on Passover. Although sourdough itself cannot be eaten either by man or beast, when added to dough, it plays a highly significant role in the baking of bread. Since this is the function and purpose of sourdough it is forbidden even though it is itself totally inedible.]49According to all authorities a foodstuff which does not ordinarily enter into the processing of other food products and itself becomes unfit for consumption by man or beast may be eaten even if the foodstuff in question is later rendered fit for human consumption. For a discussion of the circumstances under which foodstuffs which have been rendered inedible for human consumption (and which do not enter into, or contribute to, the processing of other food products) may be regarded as permissible substances and the various opinions concerning this matter see sources cited in Pri Megadim, Mishbeẓot Zahav, Yoreh De‘ah 1031:1, and Encyclopedia Talmudit, II (Jerusalem, 5709), 91 as well as Teshuvot Ḥelkat Yo’av, Yoreh De‘ah, no. 11 and Ḥazon Ish, Oraḥ Ḥayyim 116:2 and 116:7. Lanolin, in all likelihood, is entirely inedible when secreted as wool grease. Moreover, it should be noted, the recovery process, which most commonly consists of scouring with warm water containing soap and sodium carbonate,50Truter, Wool Wax, p. 107. presumably involves use of substances that impart a foul taste to the lanolin and thereby render it unfit for consumption. Once a product has been rendered unfit for consumption, it is no longer a forbidden substance and there is no prohibition against its dilution in other food products.