Slate: What is the Penalty for Eating a Non-Kosher Hot Dog?

Here we go. We knew this would not be pretty when we saw that ambulance chasing lawyers were suing Hebrew National. It is a desecration of the reputation of Judaism.

Now the whole premise of Kosher foods is coming under close scrutiny and it is not pretty. Because the secret is that today there is no earthly religious penalty for eating a non-kosher hot dog.

There is the danger that an Orthodox person who brazenly eats non-kosher will be criticized or ostracized in his family or community. But we guess that 90% of today's Jews don't keep kosher. In their eyes the practice is an irrelevant relic of the past. And nobody ostracizes them for that.

There are theological premises (theoretical and imagined) that it is wrong to eat treif and in some future world after one's death in some form or other, having eaten non-kosher things will not serve a person well. (Bestselling book Idea - Note to Self - "Heaven is for Real - Except for those who eat Hebrew National.")

Slate's explainer, explains some of this. Hebrew National lawsuit: What happens to Jews who eat non-kosher food? Oh yes, the larger fonted part of that Slate headline is "Swine and Punishment." Ha.

And next when the real comedians get hold of this affair, well it gets uglier.


Theophrastus said...

You know, that's not what Mishneh Torah Hilchos Ma'akhalos Assuros says. The Rambam says the the punishment could be as severe as kares and makkos (39 lashes).

If we really take the 12th principle of Ani Maamin seriously, and thus we believe that the Sanhedrin may once again sit soon, then the penalty of makkos becomes at least a theoretical possibility. (I know that R. Moshe Feinstein took the possibility of the Sanhedrin sitting again so seriously that before an operation, he checked to make sure that the scar would not make him a baal mum and thus unable to sit on the Sanhedrin.)

Since the Rambam poskins there is both a theoretical earthly and heavenly punishment, I don't see how one can minimize this. It is true, the possibility of punishment seems slight, but that does not excuse eating treif.

I think it is fair to say that opinion is mixed on the Triangle K hechsher (in a much more serious way than other hechshers, such as OU), and it goes beyond a glatt/non-glatt issue. I suggest consulting one's rabbi before making a decision to make sure one is within community standards.

Now, I do absolutely agree with you that this should not be pursued in US secular courts. In addition to the obvious First Amendment problems, I understood that pursuing religious matters in secular courts is forbidden (unless a Beis Din authorizes it.)

Marshall said...

If there's no penalty, why are gentiles forced to pay Kosher Tax on all our food?