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Kosher is the Hebrew word for “fit” or “proper.” Kashrut (in Sephardic and Israeli Hebrew) and kashrus (in Ashkenazi Hebrew) are used to refer to the concept of maintaining kosher food service or home kitchens and selecting kosher food products. Keeping kosher is used to refer to the practice of eating only kosher food.

The laws of kashrut are derived from a number of sources in the Torah (the Five Books of Moses, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy). The reason given for many of the food-related commandments in the Torah is “so that you may be holy,” although some are commandments with no reason explicitly stated.

Food cannot become kosher if it did not start out kosher. However, food can become nonkosher through a variety of ...

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