Monday, January 5, 2009

Another reason to keep kosher and wash your hands

The Rabbis taught that that all the Mitzvot (commandments, good deeds) mentioned in the Torah (Bible) are to be kept no matter whether we understand the reasons or not. G-d does not always disclose a reason and if he commanded it, that is reason enough to keep it.
Some people ignored this sagely advice and claim the reason why the Jews are commanded not to eat pork is because pigs were reared in unsanitary conditions. They go on further to state that all kosher food is 'healthy'. The danger of this statement is that it lead these so called people to claim that eating pork today is fine because they are reared in a clean and healthy environment. This may cause people to dismantle all the laws of kashrus, stating that today's environment is different. As if G-d only gave the Torah to people 2000 years ago and not eternally!!!
We G-d fearing Jews know better!!! G-d gave the Torah eternally and we do not eat pork no matter how safe and hygienic the conditions. It is for this reason that the sages of old did not give reasons for some of their special rulings; they knew human nature - once you give reason 'x', someone else will reason 'y' to undo the ruling.

It is obvious however, that if G-d told us not to eat pork there would certainly be many benefits from keeping this commandment. With this introduction, we can now safely describe a very healthy benefit to avoiding pork. As stated, even without this reason we would keep the eternal laws of the Torah.

In an article on ABC News Medical Unit on Nov 24th 2008 entitled "It's Not a Tumor, It's a Brain Worm" Lauren Cox describes how doctors were surprised to find a worm living inside a woman's brain! Rosemary Alvarez of Phoenix thought she had a brain tumor. On the operating table her doctor discovered something even more unsightly - a parasitic worm eating her brain. Alvarez, 37, was referred to the Barrow Neurological Institute at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix with balance problems, difficulty swallowing and numbness in her left arm. An MRI scan revealed a growth in her brain stem that looked like a brain tumor. Dr. Peter Nakaji, a neurosurgeon at the Barrow Neurological Institute found a parasite living in her brain, a tapeworm called Taenia solium. When Alvarez awoke, she heard the good news that she was tumor-free and she would make a full recovery. She also heard the how the worm got there in the first place. Nakaji surmised someone, had served her food that was tainted with the feces of a person infected with the pork tapeworm parasite. Once ingested, the eggs are able to pass from the stomach into the bloodstream and lodge in various parts of the body, including the muscle, the brain or under the skin. Even one person infected with a parasite, who also has bad hand washing habits, can infect many others with eggs. Not every worm needs to be surgically removed. Those whose location is not an immediate threat to the patients health can be treated with medications that cause the worms to die. But when the cysts are in problematic locations, as was the case for Alvarez, an operation is necessary. Fortunately, the long-term prognosis for most patients is positive. Nakaji rarely sees cases so severe that people require surgery. Nakaji said he only removed six or seven worms in neurosurgery this year. "But lodging in the brain stem is bad luck," he said. Nakaji said other parts of the brain have more "room" or tissue to expand around a growing cyst. However the brain stem, which is crucial to life, is only the width of a finger or two. "She could have recovered," said Nakaji. "But if the compression lasted for long enough, she could have been left permanently disabled or dead." Check out this amazing story in this video:-


  1. This doesn't demonstrate the health benefits of eating pork. She was infected because food she ate was handled by someone who touched the feces of someone with the parasite. So according to this, one should not be a sanitation worker in a town where people eat pork. Hardly a post facto justification of kashrut laws.

  2. My wife and I saw a show about tapeworm infections in an Orthodox Community.


    Great blog by the way!

  3. Thats very interesting! The study you mention highlights the fact that you don't actually have to eat pork to get the parasite, and its a matter of note that Jews who don't eat pork, still get the parasite! Proves the point that Jews don't eat pork because of health reasons but because G-d commanded them! But there are side benefits too ;-)


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