Home > Sermons > SERMON: Kosher Giraffes and Smelling a Rat

SERMON: Kosher Giraffes and Smelling a Rat

March 10, 2014

I usually pick the subject for my sermon, but not today! Today you picked it! I was
asked the question enough times, pressured to give my response … so here goes.
The question: Is a giraffe kosher?

Okay–the truth is, not all that many of you asked this question. The truth is, NONE of you asked this question! But I gave it some thought because a giraffe recently made news around the world.

First, is a giraffe kosher? Answer: yes! The Torah lists ten animals that are kosher …
the tenth one listed is the zemer – which is translated in the King James Version
as the “chamois.” But according to rabbinic tradition, the zemer was a giraffe. And besides, the Torah gives us two qualifying factors that every kosher animal must have; it must have split hooves and chew its cud. The giraffe has both. So, why don’t we eat the giraffe? Some think it is because we don’t know exactly where on its neck to slaughter it, but the truth is, the giraffe’s neck provides a better target than the neck of a cow! Why don’t we eat it? Well, it has something to do with cost, and it has something to do with taste, and it has something to do with catching it! You go try to catch a giraffe! They are amongst the most difficult animals to restrain.

But I know of one giraffe that would have been very happy to have been killed by a
Jewish shochet. The giraffe’s name is Marius. Marius’ slaughter in Copenhagen made news around the world last month when the Danish zookeepers decided that they didn’t need Marius anymore because they didn’t consider him genetically compatible with other zoos and wanted to prevent in-breeding. I have no idea what that means, but what I do know–and everyone around the world was shown–was that Marius
was taken and cut into pieces in front of zoo-goers, including young children. His meat was then thrown to the lions to devour. READ MORE

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