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Torah, Food & Bugs: Which Kosher Insects Would You Be Comfortable Eating?

Discussion in 'Messianic Judaism' started by Gxg (G²), Oct 16, 2012.

  1. Gxg (G²)

    Gxg (G²) Pilgrim/Monastic on the Road to God (Psalm 84:1-7) CF Ambassador

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    There was a conversation I was having not too long ago on my side of the street where people were discussing the subject of Entomophagy (the consumption of insects as food) and how it is something worldwide which has aided many.....and how it's often the case that certain animals people eat in the U.S are ones we're used to.....and do not get grossed out by. Yet with other cultures eating bugs, many get grossed out and even offended at people doing so....but never considered how they'd have no issue eating such if they grew up around it.

    And as much as many have often discussed the need for Messianic congregations to be culturally sensitive with food when it comes to outreach amongst Jewish people, I've often been intrigued at how there are other Jewish groups culturally who would probably not fit in with many Messianic congregations since some of the food they may enjoy in their cultures (insects) would not be available.

    The same goes for Gentiles who are encouraged to join the Messianic movement...and yet grew up in cultures where the consumption of insects took place. For others, if being told that eating insects falls within the category of "unclean" foods, it's perplexing since there were many insects listed within the ceremonial food laws that were available to eat....John the Baptist himself eating locusts as well as honey ( Matthew 3:3-5, Mark 1:5-7 ). ...and many others have noted the protein value that comes from certain insects.
    Leviticus 11:21-22
    All flying insects that walk on all fours are to be regarded as unclean by you. There are, however, some winged insects you may eat: those that have jointed legs for hopping on the ground. You may eat any kind of locust, katydid, cricket or grasshopper.

    As much as people may say they wish to adhere to a Kosher lifestyle and feel that advocating for the Biblical basis on such when presenting Christ/Jewish culture to non-believers, I do wonder how often there'd be a willingness to actually try many of the foods listed as edible within the Law if others asked for them in fellowship. For if doing outreach/missions to other places under the viewpoint that Gentiles would benefit from learning about what Kosher living was about, it would seem odd to preach on kosher animals that may make up only a small percentage of what food may be available....and for the insects they may live on, it'd be odd to see missionaries who feel they're kosher not be willing to eat those same bugs themselves.

    That said, be it for those outside of Messianic congregations or within, I was curious as to what paticular insects foods you would be willing to eat in the fellowship if the opportunity came up. Additionally, for tose who may be Messianic and have a heart for the mission field, I was curious as to what would the kinds of insects you'd be comfortable consuming when in areas where that's all that's available.

    Also, in regards to insects that were deemed unclean, I was curious as to what others thought of how it was that certain insects were a source of food for the Israelite people in differing ways...such as seen in how people could not eat bees due to their being unclean...and yet people ate honey (essentially chewed/regurgitated food passed around ) that came from bees.

    The amount of times honey is referenced as a beautiful thing/positive in the scriptures is noteworthy (Genesis 43:10-12, Exodus 13:4-6 , Leviticus 2:10-12, Deuteronomy 8:7-9 , Deuteronomy 32:12, 1 Samuel 14:23-25 , 2 Samuel 17:28-29 /2 Samuel 17, 2 Chronicles 31:4-6, Psalm 19:9-11 , Psalm 119:102-104, Proverbs 25:16, Ezekiel 3:2-4 , Ezekiel 16:18-20 , Isaiah 7:15, Isaiah 7:22, Revelation 10:8-10, etc ). How could a product from an unclean animal be clean and yet the animal itself was forbidden to be eaten?
    Leviticus 11: 33-35
    Anyone who picks up their carcasses must wash his clothes, and he will be unclean till evening. They are unclean for you.

    29 “‘Of the animals that move about on the ground, these are unclean for you: the weasel, the rat, any kind of great lizard, 30 the gecko, the monitor lizard, the wall lizard, the skink and the chameleon. 31 Of all those that move along the ground, these are unclean for you. Whoever touches them when they are dead will be unclean till evening. 32 When one of them dies and falls on something, that article, whatever its use, will be unclean, whether it is made of wood, cloth, hide or sackcloth. Put it in water; it will be unclean till evening, and then it will be clean.

    33 If one of them falls into a clay pot, everything in it will be unclean, and you must break the pot. 34 Any food you are allowed to eat that has come into contact with water from any such pot is unclean, and any liquid that is drunk from such a pot is unclean. 35 Anything that one of their carcasses falls on becomes unclean; an oven or cooking pot must be broken up. They are unclean, and you are to regard them as unclean.
    Again, Bees are unclean, and when ones extract honey from a hive dead bees as well as bee larva are in Honey until the honey is strained. How is it that Honey is clean? There was one instance that always stood out to me on the issue in regards to how Samson ate honey from the carcass of a dead lion ( Judges 14:7-9 ), eating the honey and giving some to his parents while not telling them where he got it, or that he killed a lion, for that matter. According to Numbers 6:3-6, Nazirites are not supposed to eat grapes or touch a corpse. Moreover, touching the carcass of an unclean animal makes an Israelite impure until the evening, meaning he must wash his clothes (Leviticus 11:27-28)...and thus, many have rightly noted where he sinned by defiling himself through eating honey that was defiled through its contact with a corpse (and of an unclean animal, no less)....

    According to Leviticus 11:31-38, we read that an unclean swarming thing can defile stoves, clothing, water-jars, cisterns, and wet seeds. In this case, an unclean animal can pollute things, which can in turn defile the Israelites who use them. So maybe that applied to the lion’s honey. But even if Samson had perhaps chosen to find honey from a hive in a tree, part of me can see no real way outside of the fact that the honey product will still be coming from the mouth of an unclean animal...in the prescence of dead bee larve when one chooses to grab it.

    Praying what I'm saying is making sense...for it does seem that some of the food laws as it pertains to bugs do not always seem to line up easily. Shalom [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2012
  2. Gxg (G²)

    Gxg (G²) Pilgrim/Monastic on the Road to God (Psalm 84:1-7) CF Ambassador

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    It'd be awesome if they had a Kosher Insect store just as they have Kosher markets with meats [​IMG]..although it'd be hard to narrow things down for many. Indeed, with four exceptions,all insects and other invertebrates (including those usually consumed as seafood), all reptiles, and all amphibians are considered 'loathsome', 'crawling' creatures, and are forbidden by the Torah...and the exceptions are a type of locust, the kosher locust native to the Arabian peninsula, encompassing four distinct species...but the identities of the four varieties are not completely clear. It has been said that the tradition for identifying which species of locust were and were not kosher has been lost among all Jews except the Jews of Yemen.

    Eating locusts is common for Jews in Yemen.
    [​IMG]


    According to Yemenite tradition, those locusts are to be the following:


    • The red locust (Hebrew: ארבה, Arbeh, Aramaic: גובאי, Govei Arabic: الجراد, Al-Jaraad.)
    • The yellow locust (Hebrew: סלעם, Sal'am, Aramaic: רשון, Rashun, Arabic: الدبا, Al-Daba).
    • The spotted gray locust (Hebrew: חרגול, Chargol Aramaic: ניפול, Nippul, Arabic: الحرجوان, Al-Harjawaan).
    • The white locust (Hebrew: חגב, Chagav, Aramaic: גדיאן, Gadayin, Arabic: الجندب, Al-Jundub).
    According to Yemenite tradition as recorded in the work Arichat HaShulchan, the locust called "Al Jarad" is Kosher, and has three Kosher sub-species all known by that name. However, if studying Leviticus 11:22/ trying to identify what the Locusts are 100% due to common names, that may cause some issues as well. For common names used in the Bible refer only to color and broad morphological generalities shared by a huge number of Middle Eastern species. Moreover, although it is often useful for identification, the geographic location of these locusts in the text is unclear. Using primarily color to identify insect species is a notoriously unreliable approach since insects that come to adulthood will have slightly different colors based on season, diet, and prevailing climate. I can definately feel why others think that whatever species of locust are actually being referred to in the text is therefore nearly impossible to ascertain.

    It is interesting to consider how other Jewish communties forbid the eating of locusts at all for various reasons. As British Chief Rabbi Joseph Hertz says in his commentary on Leviticus 11:22:
    "None of the four kinds of locust mentioned is certainly known (RV Margin). For this reason also, later Jewish authorities, realizing that it is impossible to avoid errors being made declare every species of locust to be forbidden." ( 'Pentateuch and Haftorahs: Hebrew Text, English Translation and Commentary. p. 451, note on v. 22. )
    This is the opinion that is generally held by Ashkenazi Jews...and yet for Jews in differing groups/cultures, it's not agreed upon.

    For those who do outreach amongst differing Jewish groups, it is interesting seeing how some may not feel included on certain levels with what they hold sacred.....an example being how a Jew from Yemen would not feel the same as one who is Ashkenazi when it came to what's available/preferred in congregations for food. If doing outreach amongst Ashkenazi/European Jewish groups (who were often considered as the main groups Messianic fellowships reached out to), the issue of Kosher would be limited...but when expanding outreach to others, there are some natural factors that have to be addressed if all Jewish groups are to be honored.

    One of the female elders in my fellowship (who is Jewish) has had to experience this often when it comes to her background - as her parents are from Sephardic and Askenazi communities - one side feeling strongly about names for children being from dead relatives as a bad thing while the other side feels opposite (as well as many other examples ) - and yet for those not aware of the differences, you end up generalizing them all together as if being Jewish is something that is monolothic at all points of experience.

    Things aren't that simple - and for the Jews of Yemen, the bug issue is again a big example of that.

    [​IMG]

    For other places to go on the issue

     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2013
  3. Lulav

    Lulav Messianic Maven Supporter

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    As far as eating unclean insects, and how they couldn't share a meal in a MJ congregation.

    My suggestion would be that they do not have to always eat this, do they? Secondly, they may have been raised eating these unclean insects, but for someone who has not, they could be poisonous. I believe that is the reason for the mitzvah, certain bugs are poisionous, all spiders are poisonous, even though many don't know that. And animals that eat poisonous bugs are on the unclean list.

    And example, there was a family in Texas not long ago. A mother, father, and three or four children. They caught and ate an armadillo.

    They all died.

    ALL

    Because of this, autopsies were performed and it was found that they had all ingested the armadillo who had a partially digested poisonous (to humans) insect in it's stomach (I think it was a centipede).

    We must respect that G-d is our creator, and the creator of all living things. He knows how they work together or against each other. He was kind to tell us what to eat and what not to eat, for our own well being.

    Sure there are those who did not know this and who were raised eating things that are 'unclean', and may not have the same effects. Just as I read a story about a man who desensitized his whole family from getting poison Ivy rashes. In the spring when the leaves were just budding, he would feed his family a bit of the buds per day. By doing this his whole family could roll around in the stuff anytime (and their property was full of it) and not have one itch.

    But this desensitizing might not work for some. Vaccinations work the same way, your body has to learn to make antibodies to fight off the disease. This was complicated knowledge and some would die while experimenting with this. However our Father didn't want that to happen to any, so he gave us perimeters and a code of how to tell what could be eaten and what could not.

    For animals it was about their digestive system (chewing the cud or not- a ruminant) or in the case of insects if they had jointed legs or not. This was easy enough for even a child to be able to discern.
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2012
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  4. visionary

    visionary Your God is my God... Ruth said, so say I. Supporter

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    I would have to be like John the Baptist, living in the wilderness, with not much in choices for food before I got serious about eating "clean" bugs.
     
  5. Lulav

    Lulav Messianic Maven Supporter

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    Many years ago, reading about this didn't make sense to me. I started doing research and believe that is a mistranslation or misinterpretation. I don't believe that John was eating insects.

    Basically he was surviving on an ancient day faux chocolate!:yum:

    When reading about the prodigal son, I discovered that he too was eating what John did, but without the honey. The story in part from Luke 15

    I became interested in what these 'pods' were, naturally a pod contains seeds of some kind but what could sustain pigs or a person for that matter?

    In the Middle East (and elsewhere today) grows a tree by the name of Acacia tortilis, we are familiar with this as the ark as well as the tabernacle furniture was made of this wood, which is very hard. This grows in very arid areas, thus could be easily found in the wilderness. It produces clusters of fragrant flowers and later, long pods filled with seeds. It is related to the legumes, like peas. These pods were used to feed grazing animals when there was no grass to graze upon. And of course would be used to be fodder for pigs as well.

    This is most likely what John ate, an animals food, but not an insect.

    Locusts may be on the clean list, however my dilemma was that they weren't always available. John was said to live in the wilderness, locusts would not find much to eat there, but the Acacia would be growing there very well as the plant is known to tolerate high alkalinity, drought, high temperatures and sandy & stony soils.

    This pod filled with seed is related to what we today know as Carob, a substitute for chocolate.

    There is even a variety of this Locust tree, that is called St. Johns tree.

    The insect Locust is really just a grasshopper in it's flying stage. There used to be a large one, that was probably in existence in Biblical times, that grew to 6" long, but is now extinct. That would make for a good meal of course.
     
  6. Gxg (G²)

    Gxg (G²) Pilgrim/Monastic on the Road to God (Psalm 84:1-7) CF Ambassador

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    I definately think that there are some animals that were specifically designed by the Lord to not be eaten due to the damages that they'd bring because of their digestive systems/eating habits...and thus, the Lord in His Wisdom ensured others did not eat certain things. I've shared my own views elsewhere on Kosher and what ceremonial laws on foods were about (seen in #52 , #88 ,#89 , #91, #92 and here )--with being more so about seperation as well as keeping certain things in order with the ecosystem. And Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum had an excellent review over the issue in his “Messianic Bible Study” material (seen here ). With studying certain animals forbidden (Deut 14) and why that occurred, there was a discussion by Dr.Michael Brown that raised some very interesting points on the issue. As one commentator said on the radio show:
    Is it possible that God chose certain species to be spared from being eaten because they were uniquely necessary in the natural balance for earth’s sustenance? For example, the fruit bat is very important for the pollination of fruit trees. Certain rodents (especially for example, the prairie dog) are recognized to be keystone species upon which other species depend, and who are markers for the ecological health of a bioregion.

    If they were considered “edible” their numbers might have shrunk so dramatically as to produce a tipping point in future food production.

    As a parent, God would have found it maybe wiser (and forgive me brothers and sisters, I’m just conjecturing here) to call them ‘clean and unclean’ or approved and forbidden for ceremonial and eating purposes than to risk our fetishizing them over their larger importance. His inspired word lauds the ant, and we’ve come to appreciate how important the ant is for the life of the soil, for instance. If He would have lauded the various animals for their roles, might we have, in earlier ages, elevated these and possibly worshipped them as elemental spirits? Certain animals can be raised for food without impacting the larger animal world negatively; whereas other fish, birds, and animals play such a key role in planetary sustainability that they are best left wild.

    Such some “wild” thoughts


    Nonetheless, there are animals in the clean list that eat things which are not clean---and that is where the issue lies for many. This is why it was brought up earlier on the Kosher Locusts that were listed. I remember a scene from the film "Hildago" when Frank Hopinks ate some leftover locusts after being told it would help with survival....and he said it tasted good once you got past the crunchy part.


    Part of me actually thought "If I could handle Lobster or Crab Legs (basically sea insects) back in the day, eating locusts should be fine [​IMG]"...and seeing how often it was said that locusts were Kosher insects according to Torah, it was all good.

    The Yemen Jews who eat locusts all the time have no issue with that diet..and I yet still wonder how it is that insects such as Locusts would be deemed as Kosher.

    For to my knowledge, feces/animal waste is something that's unclean....and yet, it's on the grass that locusts eat. And Locusts are not at all fussy about their food and will eat almost any leafy vegetation and a whole lot more besides. As often as I've heard others say that eating shrimp (or crab) is "unclean" due to how they're seen as bottom feeders that eat waste and garbage, I don't see how it'd be different for locusts whenever they swarm in great numbers and eat all of the grass available...including that which has dung on it.

    I don't really see how it can be said by many that shrimp (which are sea-bugs) and other creatures were not really considered "Kosher" due to hygiene purposes and instead were considered non-Kosher for other reasons....and yet with animals listed to be clean, they are deemed to be good even though they eat waste.

    Same thing goes with Bovines, Fowl, and Ungulates which graze on plants contaminated with waste, or eat waste directly off the ground.

    Some have sought to explain this by saying that Under the LOM (Law of Moses) that which could NOT Be LAWFULLY eaten by Am Yisroel was a matter of Divine Declaration NOT Intrinsic "Ickiness" -- and they also note that the same was true of that which could NOT Be LAWFULLY made a sacrificial offering to G-d by the People of Israel having ZERO to do with "Unhygienic Eating"..

    But that is still something in question when it comes to the diets that animals had. This is also said in regards to eating things from animals that were contaminated, such as honey (which is essentially throw-up from bees and often touching dead bee larve).
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2012
  7. Lulav

    Lulav Messianic Maven Supporter

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    It's funny you bring up lobsters because they share a common etymology with locust. :)

    As far as what we can eat that is clean and what it eats, it has to do with the digestive system. Pigs are on the unclean list because their bodies cannot get rid of toxins, they are like earth cleaners and absorb it, same with crustaceans for the oceans and streams, lakes, etc. They are biological filters, not food.

    But a chicken, which naturally will eat bugs, has a digestive system where the poisons if any, will not get into the flesh and cause the eater any harm. But the blood could contain many harmful things, another reason to be careful to kasher it properly.
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2012
  8. Lulav

    Lulav Messianic Maven Supporter

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    The reason for not eating bees I think is different than other insects. I don't think it's because they are poisonous, but their job, given by the creator was not one of toxic waste cleaner, but rather one who works in conjunction with making food for every living thing. Bees are imperative to all living things. They are the ones who pollinate and make fruitful. There are only so many things that reproduce by wind or asexually. You'd be surprised how many of the things you've put into your mouth are because a bee touched it.

    And honey is not bee spit or throw up. They intake the nectar from flower during their job of pollination. This nectar goes into their stomach where it is 'cooked' into honey which they store to fed themselves upon. They are their own food processing plant. They even fan the stored honey in the combs to bring down the water content so it will not support bacterial growth, nor ferment. Pretty cool!

    They eat this and so do we.
     
  9. Gxg (G²)

    Gxg (G²) Pilgrim/Monastic on the Road to God (Psalm 84:1-7) CF Ambassador

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    I think that goes back to the issue on how others have diets that are radically different than others, with some growing accustomed to certain foods/items for survival and giving them differently can be harmful (as well as a shock to their body system). It'd not be something one just switches over from when they come from a culture where living on bugs is what gives them their source of protein.

    Some bugs are off limits even in those cultures, to be clear...as there are some things that will harm you regardless.

    Heard similar recently in the case of a man who died after eating a lot of roaches in some kind of contest.



    Obviously, I was grossed out and thought "What were you thinking??!" :doh:

    Far from wisdom what he did, as it's a common fact that roaches are animals that carry diseases and it's not a good thing to mess with them anymore than it'd be good to eat rats just for the sake of it. Same thing goes for eating roadkill or other animals known to be poisonous....and yet the same thing could be said of certain types of fruits/veggies that many never question. ​

    For many everyday fruits/Poisonous food plants we eat are indeed poisonous...including apples when it comes to the seeds they carry..and the cherry, as well as other Prunus species such as peach, plum, almond, and apricot since the leaves and seeds contain cyanogenic glycosides. Tomatos and potatos amongst other things are also included​

    We have a fruit in Jamaica that is eaten often called Ackee (VERY GOOD:)), but you NEVER open it fresh off the tree since there's a poison gas released that kills. The akee must be allowed to open fully or at least partly before it is detached from the tree. .but messing with it wrongly can do A LOT of harm.


    In the same way that certain fruits and food plants may have poisonous elements present in them and yet others got adpated to it (or learned ways around it), it often seems to be the same with other food types that are poisonous...and yet others learned ways around them. Nonetheless, there are some that are so poisonous that it'd be unwise to ever try them.

    With respect to the fact that the Lord is our creator and knows how to help us, I can definately relate to others who note that many of the laws (if interpreting them on the basis of hygeine or on the view of animals deemed unkosher by the standards of their day) don't make full sense when working them out.

    In exmaple, According to the Law in Leviticus 11:9-11/ Leviticus 11/Deuteronomy 14:8-10/Deuteronomy 14 ... "These you will eat of all the things in the water; whatever has fins and scales in the waters, the seas, the rivers, you will eat."

    Some animals don't fit into any category within TOrah since they have neither fins or scales. With those animals, as Leviticus 11 was not an exhaustive list and the people in that culture didn't know of every animal in the world, I wonder what would've been on their minds.

    The scale issue is interesting, considering how even fish are known to have scales. Interestingly enough, how scales are defined makes a world of difference. Placoid scales (dermal denticles) are tough scales that cover the skin of elasmobranchs (sharks and rays). Even though placoid scales are similar to the scales of bony fish, they differ...but they are scales nonetheless. Dermal denticles in the skin of Rays & Sharks were not visible to the naked eye of Jewish ancestors before microscopes were invented, so a visual determination of their "scales" could never be made back in that day -- Also, the appendages of such Cartilaginous Elasmobranchs appear more like the flippers of Marine Mammals than they do the quite different-looking fins of Boney Fish (another point in making a visual determination of kosher versus traif during ancient historical times). Sharks & Rays are Cartilaginous Fish, which have an endoskeleton. There are plenty of sharks as well as barnacles, clams, crab, lobster, octopus, oysters, rays, scallops, shrimp, squid, so on & so forth in the Mediterranean Sea, Gulf of Aqabah, and Red Sea...and for many, eating shark would be more than kosher. Some cultures have a diet that involves the eating of sharks, such as in Asian nations and Shark-Fin soup..(more here, here and here).

    And although certain things would not qualify, I do wonder how it is that others say that the animals not allowed were done due to hygeine purposes..for historically, it has been shown that people can live long & healthy lives on a non-kosher HIGH Shellfish DIET, while other folks can live short & sickly lives on a Frum KOSHER Diet high in beef, fowl, lamb, and "boney/finny/scaley" true FISh...so some things do make you wonder.

    I've wondered about carp because one of the arguments, which I have heard against shrimp and lobster, is that they are scavengers. Carp have fins and scales so according to the Torah it's ok to eat them, but their diet is disgusting. Carp will eat just about anything. You ever hear them sucking the scum off of deadfall? Revolting...but according to the literal definition of how animals are defined as clean if they had fish/scales, they'd qualify.

    Some so-called "clean" fish--with scales, not bottom feeders--are highly poisonous, like puffer fish, whose flesh contains a deadly neurtoxin unless it is first carefully washed out (and is eaten as a delicacy in Japan)--yet, under Mosaic Law, it is "clean."
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2012
  10. ChavaK

    ChavaK להיות טוב ולעשות טוב

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    I wouldn't eat any insects. Culturally they sound disgusting. Halachaly, as mentioned above,Sephardim do have a minhag that allows them to eat certainly locusts. Askenazi don't have that. Even if the critters were kosher, I would still abstain. It just sounds
    gross :)
    Chocolate covered ants and grasshoppers were a rage here in the US quite awhile back. I wonder if they are still available?
     
  11. Lulav

    Lulav Messianic Maven Supporter

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    Not long ago, probably around this time of year I saw a candy shop featured on the food network. They made all kinds of insect candy, chocolate covered of course but I remember seeing some clear colored lollipops with various insects in them, including I think a scorpion.

    Yep, I remember correctly, you can get one for $4 at this shop.

    :eek::sick:
     
  12. Gxg (G²)

    Gxg (G²) Pilgrim/Monastic on the Road to God (Psalm 84:1-7) CF Ambassador

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    It could very well be the case that John was eating the pods you noted (and I've heard similar arguments from others advocating that what John was really eating were Locusts Pods).

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    Others have argued that his honey was date honey crushed from dates, and that the flour for his bread came from grinding the bean of the locust tree. I don't see anything wrong with those interpretations in light of what was/is present in the Holy Land and wilderness.

    Although I'd argue that it'd be a stretch to say that it wasn't locusts he was eating in the wilderness since locusts do travel through those areas and the texts says he ate locusts---with many noting that it can be difficult to say that the word "locusts" didn't really mean a real locust. Moreover, in light of how those animals were listed in the scriptures as being able to be eaten, it'd fit the narrative to say that John (in line with the Torah) did just that: Eat Locusts:)

    At best, I'd think it was the case that John could've done both in eating from locust trees and eating real locust...and it often seems that the tree theory is given due to people being bothered at the thought of someone living off a grasshopper diet. The idea of eating locusts or grasshoppers is repulsive to many, but keep in mind that most think nothing of eating a cow or a chicken’s flesh. It’s really a matter of mind-set. In ancient Greece and Rome, fried locusts, cicadas, and grasshoppers were considered a delicacy superior to the best meat or fish. These insects have enormous nutritional value.

    Grasshoppers, for example, are 60% protein versus chicken or beef with about 20%. According to author Christopher Nyerges (author of the book Guide to Wild Foods and Useful Plants)
    "When hordes of locusts destroy acres of crops, farmers should be counting their blessings and rapidly collecting locusts. After all, the locusts are a much higher protein source than the grains they’re devouring."
    It's not surprising to me that John the Baptist ate locusts just as many Asians also did then and still do today. Locusts are prepared by many by being slightly roasted, dried in the sun, and then salted. When eaten, the wings, legs, and head are removed. When the head is removed, the intestines come out with it. The part left is the fleshy portion..and consistently has it been the case that locusts are a good source of protein, vitamins and miner

    Locusts have been known to survive well when travelling through the wilderness...and thus, I don't think it'd be an issue for John to find animals like that there. It has already been the case that the Lord brought animals/food to others, like the Ravens bringing bread to Elijah and the Lord bringing manna/quail (via strong wind) to the children of Israel...as well as using strong wind to bring locusts to Egypt and drive them away ( Exodus 10:12-14/ Exodus 10 )---for locusts were a common reality in the scriptures and something Israel was very familar with, be it in the land of Israel or in the wildernesses surrounding it ( 1 Kings 8:36-38 , Joel 1:3-5, Amos 4:8-10, Amos 7:1-3 , Psalm 78:45-47 and Psalm 105:33-35 )...and they were well respected. For John to have lived off of locusts would not be an issue seeing how the Lord used winds to bring them into town as well as drive them away---and locusts have come into Israel at differing times (more here, here, here, here and here). And in the areas others speculate that John lived, it would not be free of activity from bugs.
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2012
  13. ChavaK

    ChavaK להיות טוב ולעשות טוב

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    Double gross out. Bad enough to know you are eating them, but having to see them too.....yuck.
     
  14. Lulav

    Lulav Messianic Maven Supporter

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    Some people are into that kind of creepy thing, but it's teaching kids this that bothers me.
     
  15. Gxg (G²)

    Gxg (G²) Pilgrim/Monastic on the Road to God (Psalm 84:1-7) CF Ambassador

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    At times, when I'm not feeling in adventure mode, I think the same thing..as I'd REALLY need to be desperate and ready to get past the idea of eating something that's so foreign to me. On the same token, if I was in a country/home of others who ate bugs (like the Jews of Yemen with grasshopper diets) and offered me a meal and that's all they had, I think I'd learn to get over it. It really has to do with perception, as they look at a lot of the things people outside of their world eat and wonder "How can you eat that?!!"...and the people eating those things that they don't look at them in return saying "You're nasty eating grasshoppers!!"

    I wouldn't feel comfortable eating ANY insects in most instances. However, I have no objection to those who do eat them, especially in poorer countries, where complete protein is scarce and expensive for the average person to buy and eat. In some tropical parts of the world, where protein deprivation is all too common, I have heard of native peoples eating bandicoot rats, fruit bats, and huge beetle grubs. Most insects are too small to make much difference in our diets, but I did read about a Peace Corps volunteer, while she was teaching some young children in Africa, had some ground termites suddenly came out of the earth in their schoolroom and were flying/swarming all over the place. The children gleefully started pouncing on them and popping them into their mouths, while their teacher looked on, turning green. For others, it's a matter of choosing not to knock free protein--and that goes for grasshoppers, locusts, and crickets which are insects. [​IMG]


    Bugs have soft, squishy bodies, once you get past the exoskeleton. I wasn't brought up in my culture to eat insects! But again, if others want to, I have no objection whatsoever. ..and if in their world/saying I appreciate Jewish culture, I'd want to be honorable toward what they eat should bugs be a part of the menu.It's one thing to say one's for reaching out to those in Jewish culture/helping them...but the rubber hits the road when being challenged with eating the things that other Jewish communities eat and would perhaps take offense to if others dismissed as being horrible.

    For me, if I have some hot sauce and don't know what I'm eating before I eat it, it'd allow me to get use to liking the flavor/taste before the idea of what's being eaten takes over.:).and once I'm used to it, it'd be all good. It's how I was able to get used to things like liver and onions and other foods. I'd think that locusts would taste like "Deep-Fried CAJUN Popcorn-Shrimp ...:)

    There was a really excellent article on the issue from another Jewish scholar who works in the world of zoology...and often spoke of the ways that eating locusts/grasshopper can be really good:

     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2012
  16. Gxg (G²)

    Gxg (G²) Pilgrim/Monastic on the Road to God (Psalm 84:1-7) CF Ambassador

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    Indeed. Hit me one day when I saw lobster (I think in a tank at the supermarket) and thought back to how often I saw them in resturants...and it occurred to me that they're both insects in their body/design, with other biologists noting the same thing. What differed was their location..

    I think a lot of people have had some issues due to how even chickens (as well as cows and other creatures) have been known to carry diseases--even if/when cooked (as they carry parasites that are sometimes destroyed during cooking and other times remain)...and many times, those sources of food become harmful depending on their diet and what they're being fed.

    In modern times, qith all of the genetically engineered foods/crops being placed out to make chickens more buff, it's no surprise that often are more unsafe than back in the day.

    Loving to study the eco-system and seeing the many ways things are interconnected, I more than agree with you on how bees are essential to the ways the planet continues. The same goes for other bugs that help out with the process, be it killing other bugs that eat the plants or helping out in spreading seeds.

    When it comes to insects, only the ants have been found to play significant roles in seed dispersal, in an interaction called myrmecochory. The few plants that use ants as seed dispersers produce seeds with an elaiosome – a tasty covering that ants love. The ants carry this seed back to the nest where they feed on the elaiosome, leaving the seed itself unharmed, and the seed lies dormant until conditions are ideal enough for germination. Besides the 32 genera of ants ( number probably outdated by now) that have this interaction, other insects show unique associations. A couple of bee species, several beetles, etc. – but definitely no general trend
    Nonetheless, cool as that is, the reality is that the honey is thrown up from the bees after they've processed it from their body. Throw up is thrown up, regardless of the variation...and that honey often comes in direct contact with other dead bees/bee larvae when it comes to shaping a hive with it.
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2012
  17. Gxg (G²)

    Gxg (G²) Pilgrim/Monastic on the Road to God (Psalm 84:1-7) CF Ambassador

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    Chocolate covered ants and grasshoppers have always been advertised as tasting good...and they're still available in differing places. Grasshoppers by themselves, from what I've been told, taste like popcorn chicken:)
     
  18. yedida

    yedida Ruth Messianic, joining Israel, Na'aseh v'nishma!

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    Don't forget that bottle of liquor that has the worm in it!! I can't remember what it is, only that it used to gross me out. And I have no compunction whatsoever to eat bugs, kosher or not. Yuck!!!!
     
  19. Gxg (G²)

    Gxg (G²) Pilgrim/Monastic on the Road to God (Psalm 84:1-7) CF Ambassador

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    Scorpion?!

    That's bizzare....as I can understand ants and grasshoppers as candy, but that's a bit too far (IMHO) with scorpions as candy. Of course, in some places, others do eat them. WOuld never attempt to do so nor do I think I'd have the ability.
     
  20. Gxg (G²)

    Gxg (G²) Pilgrim/Monastic on the Road to God (Psalm 84:1-7) CF Ambassador

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    Never did understand the liquor with the worm in it. To me, I always wondered if it was done for the purposes of style or if it really made things taste better somehow.
     
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