During thousands of years people have developed certain laws and traditions. Later, modern laws and legal codes were written on their basis. Some people think that all these rules of our life were given by the God, some by aliens, and some people think that they are the product of years of experience and logic. The important thing is that these laws and rules work.
In Judaism there is a whole body of laws of proper nutrition – Kashrut. The great Torah scholar Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon (Rambam), who was also one of the most famous doctors of his generation, attempted to provide a logical explanation of the laws of kashrut on a medical basis. He proceeded from the principle that whatever the Torah forbids Jews to eat is harmful to health. And everything that the Torah permits cannot harm.
If you observe kashrut, the condition must be that the amount of food and the times at which it is eaten are strictly defined. The Rambam, for example, said that the absence of scales on a fish (which is a sign of non-kosher fish) is only a purely external indicator, allowing people to see that a given fish is unfit for food. The Torah, by requiring us to keep kashrut, provides us with a reliable key for discerning what is healthy and what is harmful. It should be noted that modern medicine recognizes that there is much that is medically correct in the basics of Rambam’s system, and often uses his approach.
However, many Torah authorities, who also had great knowledge of medicine, and one of them was Rabbi Moshe ben Nachman (Ramban), did not agree with Rambam. His argument was: If non-Jews eat most of the foods that are forbidden to Jews, can we say that it is really harmful to their health?
The Ramban believes that the food forbidden by the Torah is detrimental, not to the health of our bodies, but to the health of our souls. He points out that most of the birds forbidden by kashrut are birds of prey (eagle, falcon, hawk). In contrast, the birds that are allowed (chickens, pigeons, geese, swans) are of a peaceful, quiet disposition and do not eat meat. According to the Ramban, the meat of birds of prey influences the character of the person who eats it and gives him those negative qualities characteristic of these birds.
From this point of view, the Torah’s repeated prohibition to eat blood (badly fried food) becomes understandable: eating blood develops a habit of cruelty in a person, develops in him the qualities of a destroyer and murderer. The Torah says, “Blood is the soul,” and the soul is harmed by eating blood.
Other thinkers, however, explain kashrut not in terms of whether forbidden food harms the soul or the body, but as a means against the assimilation of the people of Israel among other peoples. However, we will leave that to each individual to decide for himself – this is a beer portal, not a religious forum.
Beer was born in the Middle East, in those days it was called “sheikhar”. Over the years, certain rules and requirements for its production have been developed, and they have not changed much today.
The kashrut requirements for the production of beer are quite clear and not overly stringent in comparison to the production of other cereal products. Beer, unlike wine and bread, can also be brewed by “non-Jews” as long as the other kashrut rules are observed.
The main problems are with malt. The most important requirement for malt is the barley harvest. Kosher barley is considered barley that was grown and harvested during the winter season (between Sukkot and Passover), otherwise, it must rest. All batches of malt are strictly monitored by a special rabbi based in Munich, who sends the breweries a list of the allowed batches of grain for brewing.
It is categorically forbidden to have all sorts of bugs in the ingredients. Usually problems sometimes arise not with malt, but with its substitutes, such as corn. Also, there are no problems with hops and yeast, because they are not of animal origin, and bugs do not breed there. And, of course, the brewery must have a person well versed in these complexities, i.e. a rabbi, with the proper credentials.
In addition to the requirements for materials, there exist certain rules for the production of beer itself. They are fairly standard. Jews are not allowed to work on the Sabbath, by the way, this is an excellent rule. Jews are not only are we not allowed to produce, but we are not allowed to touch the ingredients of beer during Peisach. In case of technical problems during this period, they can be fixed by “non-Jews” people who also work in breweries.
You can agree or disagree with these rules, you can abide by them or break them, but to ignore the wisdom that has come to us through the millennia is unwise, to say the least.