Will Pig Become Kosher in the Messianic Era?

Posted by on Aug 8, 2021

Some Rabbis believe and claim with certainty that the pig will become kosher in the Messianic era and be permissible to eat it.

In the era of Mashiach, the Rabbis teach that the world will be altogether purified and thus it will achieve a higher spiritual level. Therefore the pig will become kosher and permissible food. What is their argument?

Rabbi Chaim ibn Attar (the author of Or HaChaim commentaries on the Torah) suggests this theory: the Creator will alter the pig’s physiology so that the pig will chew the cud and therefore bears both kosher signs.

In his commentary on Lev 11:7, and more specifically on the words: “but it does not chew the cud”, he says,

The Torah uses these words as a condition, i.e. as long as the pig has not reverted to chewing the cud it may not be eaten. In the future, when it undergoes evolutionary changes so that it will become a ruminant, it will again be fit to be eaten by Jews. It is not the Torah which will adapt to “realities,” but “reality” which will adapt to Torah; the laws of the Torah are immutable, the nature of the pig is not.

Note: The idea that the pigs will become kosher appears in various commentaries (such as Likkutei Sichot 29:128) on the Talmud (the Oral Law) but not in the Talmud itself.

It appears that Rabbi Attar has his arguments. But can we rethink this?

The contradiction of the “kosher pig”

Rabbi Attar says, “the laws of the Torah are immutable [true], the nature of the pig is not”. If that explanation is accepted, namely, that the pig will become kosher by changing its nature, then those interpreters who advance this view are under the necessity of explaining how words “but it does not chew the cud” have set the condition the Rabbi refers to, because most definitely such conditions are not in the Torah.

First, we should notice the contradiction in his commentary: The Torah has never set “a condition” on the pig to become “kosher”, and “the evolutionary changes” that will make the pig kosher is actually a change in the nature of the pig.

The words “but it does not chew the cud” (referring to the pig) and used by Rabbi Attar to make his argument do not have more bearing on the pig than on the other named species: the camel, the rabbit, and the hare.

Here is our answer. The Torah did not wish to associate the nature of the pig with a statement which may lead the reader to conclude that somehow that nature could be changed at certain conditions. If the Torah wanted to say something in this line of words, it could have stated it plainly, but it did not.

The intelligent reader knows that by nature, the pig does not chew its cud but tears the flesh of the dead animals and swallow it up; the pig is a scavenger. And the scavengers along with the vultures are created to be the nature’s cleaners; they are good creatures doing what their Creator has made them to do, nevertheless they are not food.

What the Torah says about food

The Torah gives two specific physical signs of kosher animals whose flesh is permissible to eat: they have a split hoof completely divided and chew their cud. We read from the words of the Creator,

These are the living creatures which you do eat among all the beasts that are on the earth. Whatever has a split hoof completely divided, chewing the cud, among the beasts, that you do eat. (Lev 11:2-3)

But concerning the pig it has been said,

and the pig, though it has a split hoof, completely divided, yet does not chew the cud, it is defiled to you. (Lev 11:7)

The law of the kosher foods in Leviticus 11 is a type of law (called chukah) that does not provide explanation why or why not we should not eat pork. With such laws the only reason why we should do them is by faith, because the Creator YHVH Elohim says so.

Therefore, we should abstain from eating pork not because it carries diseases and spreads filth. Although it is all true, this is not the reason why one should not eat pork. The reason for not eating the flesh of swine is not that pork tastes bad (it does not), either, or just because we may not like it.

But rather it is because it is the word of the Creator who has said: “Pigs are not food for you”. YHVH Elohim is the Creator who created both man and animals, and He knows better than anyone else what is food and what is not.

And that should be the only reason why the pig is not permissible for eating: the Creator says so.

But if some want to argue, the Creator further says,

Because I am Yehovah your Elohim, and you shall set yourselves apart. And you shall be set-apart, for I am set-apart. (Lev 11:44)

The four unique species of non-kosher animals

We need to understand why the Torah has named specifically four non-kosher animals.

It is noteworthy that Leviticus 11 does not list the animals that have both kosher signs (split hoof and chewing the cud), nor does it list those which lack both, but only the four animals (camel, the rabbit, the hare, and the pig) that have one but not the other; they are too non-permissible for food.

If those animals that have only one of the kosher signs are prohibited, how much more so are those animals that lack both signs.

Nevertheless, these you do not eat among those that chew the cud or those that have a split hoof: the camel, and the rabbit,  and the hare, and the pig, though it has a split hoof, completely divided, yet does not chew the cud, it is unclean to you. Their flesh you do not eat, and their carcasses you do not touch. They are unclean to you. (Lev 11:4-8)

We should note here that the camel, the rabbit, the hare, and the pig are the only animals on earth that have only one of the kosher signs, and the Creator has named individually. Furthermore, the Torah even forbids us to touch them. Why?

Perhaps, The Creator wants us to notice something.

According to the plain meaning of the text, the Torah explicitly excludes the pig (and the camel, the rabbit, and the hare) from the Kosher list of animals. The Rabbis would be right to assume that one day the pig might become “kosher” only if there were a blanket prohibition not to eat animals that do not have both signs: a split hoof and chewing the cud.

But because the pig is explicitly named to have only one of the signs, and moreover, the law goes even further to prohibit the touching of its carcass, the pig is completely excluded from the kosher list of food, unless the Rabbis say that when haMashiach comes the Creator will change His mind and make the pig kosher. But neither does He change His mind nor His Law.

Until haMashiach comes, however, men can change the Creator’s laws of nature and “create” a GMO kosher pig, as they do to other creatures and plants.

In conclusion, this assumption of the Rabbis that the pig will become kosher (as every intelligent reader knows it), is not in the Torah, not even hinted in the Torah, and the Creator has never spoken such words. Hardly the pig will ever become kosher and the opinion of the Rabbis that the Creator will make the pigs chew the cud is just that: an opinion. Nevertheless, it is a valid opinion as long as it stays an opinion, not presented as the word of YHVH.

Suggested readings:

Did Peter eat unclean animals in his vision?

How far can mankind go in eating detestable things?

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May we merit seeing the coming of our Mashiach speedily in our day!