Kosher Cloned Pork (Halakhah & the Biological Sciences)


According to the rabbi in this article in the Times of Israel, Yuval Cherlow of the Tzohar Rabbinical Organization in Israel, cloned meat loses its animal character, thus permitting the kosher consumption of cloned pork, with milk. The opinion suggests something of the stretchiness of halakah particularly in relation to advances in the biological sciences. There is also an ethical component worked into the idea.

There’s a full interview with Cherlow in Hebrew here. Here’s the takeaway from the TOI article:

In the interview ahead of a Bar-Ilan University symposium titled “Science and Halacha” featuring a talk by Cherlow, he advocated rabbinic approval of cloned meat “so that people would not starve, to prevent pollution, and to avoid the suffering of animals.”

When the “cell of a pig is used and its genetic material is utilized in the production of food, the cell in fact loses its original identity and therefore cannot be defined as forbidden for consumption,” Cherlow said. “It wouldn’t even be meat, so you can consume it with dairy.”

In 2013, Rabbi Menachem Genack, CEO of the Orthodox Union’s kosher division, said that meat from a lab-grown hamburger could be consumed with dairy products, although halacha, religious Jewish law, forbids it in meat produced from a live animal.

But Genack, who was commenting on the production of an artificial hamburger produced by researchers from Maastricht University in the Netherlands, did not mention pork, whose consumption is one of Judaism’s strongest prohibitions.

“Without prophesying, clearly there will be a major disagreement,” Cherlow said over the consumption of what he called cloned meat. And while “there is merit” in prohibiting this meat, too, “halachic thought should examine the needs of all humanity, not only one’s own case,” he said.


About zjb

Zachary Braiterman is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. His specialization is modern Jewish thought and philosophical aesthetics.
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1 Response to Kosher Cloned Pork (Halakhah & the Biological Sciences)

  1. dmf says:

    brings new meaning to playing G-d…

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