Something that is ‘clean’ or ‘fit’ for consumption. Also termed ‘kasher.’
Something is defined as kosher if it is permissible for consumption according to the laws of kashrut. Some foodstuffs cannot be kosher under any circumstances, for example, pig or shellfish. Some foodstuffs can be kosher if they are killed properly, for example, cow or sheep. Manufactured foodstuffs need to contain only kosher ingredients in order to be kosher.
In 2007, Mars changed the ingredients to some of their confectionery so that they used a trace amount of animal rennet. The London Beit Din, the Orthodox decisory body, ruled that it was still ‘kosher’ even though some others, such as the Manchester Beit Din, ruled that it was not. If you wish to find out which products are kosher, feel free to consult a Rabbi.
In modern parlance (thanks, perhaps, to Del Boy more than anyone else) the word ‘kosher’ has been taken as ‘acceptable.’ Thus, you might hear someone talk about a vendor being ‘kosher,’ meaning that their wares come from a reputable source. This usage is similar to that when describing a kosher mezuzah or Torah scroll, for example, meaning that it is fit for use.
Some food items can be marked ‘kosher for Passover’ (kasher le-pesach) because the rules of kashrut over Passover are more stringent than during the rest of the year.
- Encyclopaedia Judaica, Keter Publishing House, 1972, Vol. 10, 806
The Movement for Reform Judaism does not consider this text to constitute the definitive answer on this subject. We believe that Judaism is a living, evolving faith and, as such, there is no 'final word' on Jewish texts, traditions and thought.