Wednesday, November 10, 2010

To Pork or Not to Pork, That is The Question

I received and anonymous request to discuss this, and it's also been a popular topic on Facebook since the past show, so here we go. Apparently, and I didn't see the show, there was a 'pop-up' when the Duggars were eating turkey bacon that said they don't eat pork due to religious reasons. And the request was why?

The Duggars do follow some of the Old Testament laws. Why? They feel compelled to, apparently. For instance, they do not have marital relations for seven days following her cycle or for 80 days following the birth of a girl or 40 days following the birth of a boy. However, in Judaic law, she would also have to bathe in a mikva--a ritual cleansing bath--before she could have intercourse again. Also Jews who follow these laws also don't touch each other physically as long as the wife is "unclean"--until she's bathed in a mikva. They don't hug, kiss, hold hands, or sleep in the same bed. No casual or accidental touching is allowed either. Clearly, the Duggars don't follow the law that strictly.

As to the pork--well pork is considered traif (not kosher.) There are many other foods that aren't allowed either--shellfish, scavenger fish, etc. The animal has to have cloven hooves AND chew a cud to be allowed, and fish has to have fins AND scales. There are some birds that are allowed and some that aren't. You also aren't allowed to mix meat and dairy. Clearly the Duggars mix meat and dairy together in the same meals.

The Duggars apparently aren't following all the laws of kashrut, but they've decided that pork doesn't fit into their Biblical lifestyle. I'm not sure how strict they are about it, because I can remember them eating pepperoni pizza and while you can get beef pepperoni, it's not something you find easily at a corner pizza parlour, especially in the south where pig is really popular. This could be a recent choice they've made, not one that they've followed for years. I also question the non-porkness of the hot dogs they've eaten on the show.

Now some kosher Jews aren't kosher away from home. That is, they will eat in restaurants that aren't certified kosher, will eat at friends/family's homes who don't keep kosher. They still likely won't eat the foods that aren't allowed, but it's possible the Duggars will eat pork away from home if it's given to them by friends/family or at a ball park where there's no other choice. At this point, without them clarifying those choices, we only have conjecture.

It's also possible that their health led to the choice. Jim Bob has been trying to lose weight and Michelle is, as she says, a lifelong Weight Watchers member. So it's highly likely that they saw the reasoning behind pork being banned in the Torah (Old Testament) and decided it would be healthier all around if they eliminated it from their diet. Again, it's just a possible theory.

If you have any more questions, you can search "kashrut" or "kosher laws" and will likely find better information. I hope this answers your question, anonymous. Thank you for writing in!


  1. Seventh Day Adventist Christian also do not eat pork, shellfish, etc and follow the cloven hoof rule. A large share of Adventists are actually vegetarian. The diet is not Kosher but based on the belief that these Old Testament laws were actually health laws.

    It was interesting to me because in their book they also speak of coming to the belief that the Sabbath was never changed from the 7th day of the week to the 1st and God does say in the 10 commandments to "remember" his Sabbath day. They are obviously not keeping the Sabbath as either a Jew or a Seventh Day Adventist. I think their faith and their beliefs are developing as they continue to study the scriptures. I respect them for this and it is one thing that makes me a loyal fan.

    1. I believe you are right!

  2. Marybeth, your information about when the Duggars have marital relations is fascinating (waiting after a period, childbirth). I'm a pretty big Dugger fan, and even I did not know about that. How did you find out?

  3. According to the Spanish however they are on the 7th day. The Spanish week begins with Monday(lunes) and ends with Sunday(Domingo) :/)

    On a more serious note, I grew up in the worldwide church of god and they used to make us abstain from pork shellfish etc. No rules on the dairy and meat, but I know of Manu who don't eat pork for religious reasons. I personally don't eat it because of taste and health. I grew up not eating it and never developed a taste for it. It actually made me nauseas when my mother in law cooked some bacon recently

  4. Kelly...they have mentioned it on the show and it's in their book :)

  5. The Duggars have stated that they do observe the Sabbath as a 'day of rest'. they may not observe it like Jewish people do, but that's b/c they aren't Jewish ;) LOL

    And there are many Christians that follow the Old Testament laws that they feel were given for health reasons (like the laws on not eating pork or shellfish) as much as possible, but they aren't legalistic about it, meaning that they follow it as much as they are able. If they are out at a friend's and the friend serves ham they might either eat it anyway, or they might eat everything else and skip the ham. Etc.

    Mrs P

  6. I knew the Orthodox Jews had to sleep in separate beds and absolutely not have sex while the wife has her period, but no kissing? No touching?

    I would die if I couldn't touch my husband for a week. I couldn't have enough religious conviction to sleep apart from my husband for a week (one night would be hard!), can't imagine not kissing him goodbye or holding hands.

  7. i think the idea behind it is that "absense makes the heart grow fonder"....the coming together after the no-touching is that much better because of the distance...and you also have to rely on other forms of communication--talking and paying attention to body language...that's the gist of it...but no, it's not something my husband and i's more of an Chassidic tradition

  8. Thanks for writing about that! I am a big Duggar fan but I didn't know until this show that they didn't eat pork and I couldn't figure out why (other than health reasons but the show clearly said that they don't eat it because of religious reasons) because obviously Baptists don't have rules about pork. Thanks again!

  9. Marybeth, you may have found the key to Michelle's enhanced fertility. By observing the health or ceremonial laws around the time of a woman's menses and her period you would be having sex during your most fertile period without reference to any kind of calendar mapping out ovulation cycles. In the Old Testament it was indeed considered a blessing to have many children and a woman was considered to be punished by God if she had no children.

  10. People who pick and choose what rules to follow in the bible really annoy me. Thats not being faithful, thats just being whatever is convenient for you. It's just silly. Also, Christians are to do as Jesus said, to forget the old laws and only follow his one commandment, to love one another as he loved us. Christians are to follow the teachings of Christ and nothing else. The old testament laws are not for us. I don't understand why many Christians seem to overlook that. I don't know the exact verse off hand, but He said it plain and clear. Oh well. To each is own, I guess.

    On another note, not sure if you heard, but Josh and Anna are expecting. They'll announce it on an episode tonight.

  11. Also, Christians are to do as Jesus said, to forget the old laws and only follow his one commandment, to love one another as he loved us. Christians are to follow the teachings of Christ and nothing else. The old testament laws are not for us. I don't understand why many Christians seem to overlook that.
    You must be reading a different bible.

    How does one know what sin is without the law? How does one know who Christ was without the old testament?

    Christ himself actually said:
    (Matthew 5:17-19)
    17“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.

    He then went on to say EXPAND the laws, guess JESUS wanted us to remember that the laws were there for a REASON, and that we are NOT to ignore them.

  12. Amen Cyn! God word is both the Old and New Testament.

  13. Thanks so much, Marybeth! I love the internet--wow! I'm glad to know I'm not the only one going "HUH???" after seeing that. They have a unique mix of legalism and practicality. I have a hard time with accepting that some Christians feel the need to set up rules for themselves that I feel are totally unnecessary and go against the freedom we all have in Christ. But I've also learned that I shouldn't judge, so.... as long as they aren't making these issues salvation issues.... to each their own, right?!

  14. Freedom in Christ? One commandment?? I have to totally agree with Cyn and Kaydia on this one. Anyone that believes that their "freedom" in Christ is to abolish the "perfect laws" of the Torah set down by God in Exodus 20 are terribly deceived individuals.

    Regarding judgment...Christ simply told us not to judge as hypocrites. He even tells us to judge righteously (Google that one) Anyone that actually studies their bible to show themselves approved as stated in 2 Tim 2:15 should know this.

    It bothers me most when people would believe that Jesus (Yeshua) came to destroy what His Father put into place from the beginning, ie: clean/un-clean foods, Sabbath day, Feast days, etc. Those are the same folks that want to say they are just for the "Jews", don't even know what a Jew is. Ones who have this anti-Semitic attitude should do a word study on who "Israel" actually is.

    I praise the Duggar's for discovering these truths. I have associated with folks that were very close to the family there in Arkansas and our family considers this growth in their religious beliefs to be a blessing!

    Those out here claiming to know God and Jesus and are boasting about their freedoms in Christ and some "one commandment" belief system would be fair warned they're on a slippery path and should take a second look at the scriptures they have in their hand in it's full context and discover these truths for themselves!

    Praise God we have and are living a dream!
    We don't eat pork, we observe the 7th day Sabbath, we follow the Feast Days in Lev 23 (not christmas or easter) and we walk as Jesus walked (oh by the way his REAL name was Yeshua)

    We observe just as Jesus, Paul and all the Apostles did...we're Nazarene Jews! Read Acts 24:15

    The Guigars

  15. This was all settled in Acts at the council at Jerusalem. There were some, as some of you are, who were trying to say that one must be circumcised and follow the Jewish laws to be saved. Paul, Peter, James, and several others in this council (along with leadership from the Holy Ghost), concluded that salvation is by grace---not the works of the law. They felt it the wrong thing to lay a burden on the Gentiles that "neither we nor our fathers were able to bear."

    Ultimately, they sent word to the Gentile Christians to abstain from things strangled, from blood, from things offered to idols, and from fornication. They were told they would do well if they abstained from these things.

    So I don't believe that means we must today observe all ceremonies, feasts, ordinances, etc. of the Old Testament, though we may learn from them. We may also look to see Jesus symbolized in many of these things.

    Lastly, the whole law hinged on rightly loving God and one's neighbor as one's self. If a person does this, they will obey the law.

  16. This was all settled in Acts at the council at Jerusalem. There were some, as some of you are, who were trying to say that one must be circumcised and follow the Jewish laws to be saved.

    I didn't say WE were under the law, the poster I was replying to said the law no longer mattered and it DOES. If you do not know what sin is what do you need saving from? How do you know who and what Jesus is without the old Testament? In my example I used Jesus was pointing out that trying to follow the letter of the law while ignoring the spirit of the law was just wrong.

    So if someone wants to pick and chose which of the minor laws they want to follow because they make SENSE to them have at it. But neither I nor the Duggars think you are going to hell if you don't. Nor do they think they are better than anyone else because they do.

  17. This would probably be a good time to give a brief description of the Law of Moses in accordance to Jewish thought. The Mosaic Law is comprised of five books inspiredly written by Moses from the mouth of G_D, which treasures all of His commandments, statutes, and His judgments. These books are Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy which are the first five books of the bible. Genesis provides only three of the six hundred and thirteen commandments. Exodus provides one hundred and eleven of the six hundred and thirteen commandments and The Ten Commandments are included with these (Exo.20). Leviticus provides us with two hundred and fifty of the six hundred and thirteen commandments and included is the second of the two Greatest Commandments (Lev. 19:18). Numbers provides us with a total of forty-nine commandments. And Deuteronomy provides the remaining two hundred commandments including the first and greatest of the Two Greatest Commandments (Deu. 6:5). All together there are three hundred and sixty-five negative commandments, or “thou shalt not” commandments and two hundred and forty-eight positive commandments or “thou shalt” commandments. Together they make up the Law of G_D and they are also known as His Truth, His Will and His Word and not only that but they are who He is for they make up His entire character and thoughts! The Mosaic Law is made up of six hundred and thirteen commandments, which were given to Israel to observe and to keep. These six hundred and thirteen commandments are converged into ten categories that are better known as “The Ten Commandments” found in Exodus the twentieth chapter and they were written upon two tables of stone. The reason for two tables is because The Ten Commandments are broken down into two categories or “tables” of contents and the first five of these Ten Commandments are how we are to relate ourselves unto G_d and the second five are how we are to relate ourselves unto the children of G_d, both spiritually and physically. And these two tables of five commandments each fall under two other categories better known as “The Two Greatest Commandments.” And the first of these two is, “And thou shalt love the L_rd thy G_d, with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.” And it is found in the book of Deuteronomy in the sixth chapter and verse five. And the second which is like unto the first is, “…thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself:” Which can be found in the book of Leviticus, chapter nineteen and verse eighteen. What makes the second like unto the first? It is G_D’s intention for all His commandments found in the first three words of both of these commandments… “THOU SHALT LOVE!” All of G_d’s commandments hang upon these two Greatest Commandments, which promotes ONE way of life and that is in loving G_d and one another, that is why they both begin with “Thou shalt LOVE!” It was not meant to be a religion but a way of LIFE in perfect harmony of G_d’s LOVE. And the two Greatest Commandments and the other six hundred and eleven that hang there upon promote G_d’s perfect LOVE for that was why they were given, so that we would know how to LOVE one another and G_d with perfection! However, there are those who believe that these two commandments which are inspiredly deemed as the “Two Greatest Commandments” were actually new commandments that the Messiah gave in this verse,

    “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the L_rd thy G_d with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Mat.22:37-40)

  18. Of course, as we noticed earlier these two commandments is not something that the Messiah made up, but that they were actually something that was inspiredly written by Moses from G_D. And all 613 of his commandments which include the Ten Commandments and the Two Greatest Commandments were given to promote one word and that word is LOVE! And not only is it just a word but according to the Law of G_D it is an action and it is the only way to live inorder to acquire ETERNAL LIFE! Paul wrote as much in his letter to the Galatians of this unique word,

    “For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” (Gal.5:14)

    Paul even taught how the Ten Commandments were categorized into two groups of five and how each group fell under one of the Two Greatest Commandments as shown in this verse,

    “Owe no man anything, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” (Rom.13:8, 9)

    Paul was a well learned Pharisee who was brought up at the feet of Gamaliel, who is a renowned Rabbi even today amongst the Jews. And Paul was definitely capable of teaching the traditions of G_D’s Law and the testimony of the Messiah. John revealed in his first letter, chapter five and verses two and three, how it is possible for us to learn how to LOVE,

    “By this we know that we love the children of G_d, when we love G_d, and keep his commandments. For this is the love of G_d, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.”(1John 5:2,3)

  19. And He said to them, "Are you so lacking in understanding also ? Do you not understand that whatever goes into the man from outside cannot defile him, 19 because it does not go into his heart, but into his stomach, and is eliminated ?" (Thus He declared all foods clean.) Mark 7:18-19

  20. I do not think the posting of the duggars waiting an amount of days after her cycle and birth are true. If you notice alot of the boys are 10months apart so if she waited "80 days" they would be more like a year apart

  21. There was a distinction made between clean and unclean animals way back in Noah's day. They don't eat pork because it isn't healthy, just like mice, dogs and snakes, other animals God defined as dirty. Here is a secular article about pork

  22. Also, waiting after the birth for a period before intercourse allows the body to heal, this separation also facilitated bonding and breastfeeding. I think God defined a longer period for girls so that they would have their brains well imprinted for motherhood. He promised the Jewry that they would have no probs with fertility or breastfeeding in the law