Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Kosher Cheeseburgers?

Although I do not have any particular urge to eat non-kosher cheeseburgers(although as in Rashi Vayikra 20:26, that is not the reason why to refrain from eating non-kosher food), I found this news blurb on Yeshiva World interesting.

This is the part of Talila's menu which discusses the item:

"Talia’s To Go offers something that customers observing a diary-free diet, due to religious or health reasons, are going to love - Kosher Parve Cheeseburger. Add a slice of American or Mozzarella flavored Tofu Cheese to your burger, sandwich, or wrap. Longing for a smear of dairy free cream cheese? We got it! All cheeses are made from Tofu. They are parve, 100% vegan, cholesterol and fat free. Best of all – they taste like the real thing!"

Is this simply a negative aspect of consumerism which drives up demand for additional exotic kosher products? Or can anyone find a positive aspect to availability of this food product(eg, helping someone non-frum abstain from actual cheeseburgers)? What is actually the difference between this and any imitation milk product ?

Relevant mareh mekomos could be the oft-quoted Ramban in Kedoshim, as well as the gemara in Chullin quoting Yalta(109b). There was a recent article in Journal of Halacha and Contemporary Society( I believe by Rabbi Ari Z. Zivotofsky) which discussed just this question.

On a related note, here is a link to an article which discusses surimi(scroll down to "Kosher Lobster?!" in the CRC article) by Rabbi Zushe Blech, who parenthetically, I heard this past Motzoie Shabbos on the Zev Brenner show.

I suppose that the topic of food caught my interest just after the taanis, and I will conclude by stating the obvious, that this post is for discussion purposes only.

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