Kosher 101

The lives of the Jewish people are governed by the Holy Torah (Bible), the Talmud and the Code of Jewish Law (Halacha) which instructs and guides every aspect of life.

The Hebrew word “kosher” literally means “proper” or “fit”. The Torah explains that certain foods and beverages are fit for consumption by a Jew, whilst others are not (Leviticus 11:44-47). These are a set of technical laws set out by the Torah. The Torah explicitly declares the issue to be a metaphysical one, non-kosher food has a negative effect on Jewish spirituality, while kosher food is conducive to a state of purity and spiritual sensitivity.

Ultimately, the kosher laws fall within a category of Jewish law known as Chukim – beyond rational human understanding. We fulfil these commandments solely because Hashem (G-d) commanded us to. In the above passage (Leviticus 11:44-47) the Torah instructs the Jewish people that they should not eat certain animals, fowl, fish or insects which would render them spiritually impure.

This guide is not intended to be a comprehensive or exhaustive study of this subject, but a reference guide to enable the layman to follow the basic principles of what renders something kosher or not.

So much more to learn about Kosher.

View the full guide here

Fruit & Veg Checking

The Torah (Vayikra 11:20-23) states that insects and crawling creatures are not Kosher. Consequently, many vegetables, fruit and other products that are prone to infestation, must be checked and the insects removed. The method of checking and removing insects from vegetables, fruit and other products differ according to each species as will be detailed below. Most locally picked unprocessed fresh produce such as raw fruits, vegetables and nuts are technically kosher, but need to be checked for various issues.

General stages of vegetable checking



Where the infestation is easy to wash off, we simply clean the produce.



Where it is possible to visually detect all infestation, we very carefully check the produce visually with the aid of strong lighting.



Sometimes we do not examine the produce at all. Instead, we shake the produce over a surface and scan that surface for infestation.

view the easy to use guide Veg checking order form

What is Yoshon?

Yoshon literally means “old”. The Torah (Vayikra 23:14) forbids using the new crop of grain (known as Chadash) before the second day of Pesach. This restriction applies to 5 types of grain (wheat, barley, oats, rye and spelt). There is a dispute between the Halachic authorities whether this applies outside of Israel, and in Israel whether it applies to the crops of a non-Jewish farmer. Many authorities rule that these restrictions do not apply outside of Israel, and consequently Kosher SA do not require our establishments and manufacturers to adhere to these stringencies.

For those who wish to follow the more stringent opinion, we compile a list of products and sell-by dates which will assist in making observance of this mitzvah (commandment) easier. The only way to avoid using any new-season products containing wheat, barley, oats or rye is by stockpiling enough of these products to last until Pesach. However, before Pesach has arrived infestation may occur. Therefore, if you want to keep Yoshon, make sure to store flour etc in the freezer and other things in a cool, dry place. Also check carefully for infestation before use.

Initially wheat flour, pasta, wheat grains, and cereals containing wheat are affected. Barley and oats become affected only later in the season.The Kosher Department will issue regular bulletins updating information during the period when Chadash is a problem.

Download the latest Yoshon Bulletins


Kashering means spiritual decontamination. It is the process of re-koshering items previously used. It can be used to make items fit for use on Pesach and can also be done to change an item’s status from milk to parev and meat to parev. The material from which the item is made, as well as how it became non kosher determines if/how it can be kashered. Generally, the item is kashered in the same way it is used. For example: a braai grid that has been used on an open fire needs to be kashered with fire at a high temperature, or a spoon that has been used in liquid needs to be kashered using boiling water.

View the full guide

There are two basic methods of Kashering

Method 1 Fire

There are two processes:


Until red hot or equal to that temperature


Light burning

Method 2 Water

There are three processes:


Immersing items into vigorously boiling water, i.e.water with large bubbles on the surface


Pouring boiling water from a kettle while it is still boiling


Pouring boiling water from any container in which it was boiled

Different methods of Kashering


Utensils manufactured by or bought from a non-Jew that come into direct contact with food require tevilah (immersion) in a mikva (a body of water designed to specifications of Jewish law) or ocean.

Utensils made from metal, glass and pyrex must be toiveled with a blessing. Glazed ceramics, however, without a brocha.

Utensils made from wood, paper, stone, plastic, heavy stoneware or unglazed ceramic do not require tevilah.

Electrical appliances, such as urns require toiveling unless it will damage the appliance (usually, toiveling does not damage most equipment if allowed three days to dry out).

How to Toivel

Make sure the utensil is completely clean and remove any labels and their sticky residue (using nail polish remover may help).


Recite the following blessing say: בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְ‑יָ אֱ‑לֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְצִוָּנוּ עַל טְבִילַת כֵּלִים/כֶּלִי Baruch ata ado-noi elo-heinu melech ha'olam asher kidashanu bemitzvotav vetzivanu al tevilat keilim/keli
Blessing are you G-d, King of the Universe who sanctified us with your Commandments and commanded us to immerse utensils/a utensil


Ensure the entire vessel is immersed under the water (unlike hagolah which may be done in sections).


It may be necessary to turn the utensil so that its opening faces upward allowing trapped air bubbles to escape.

Please consult your Rabbi if you have any questions.

Toiveling Locations



Be'er Gittel: Yeshiva College Complex Hours Sunday - Friday
8:00 - 9:00am
12:00 - 1:00pm
4:30 - 5:30pm
Address Be'er Gittel situated at 65 Nicholson Road, Glenkay (behind the Yeshiva College Campus)


Be'er Chaya Esther Mikva Hours By appt via whatsapp or ask guards at Maharsha Boys' school Address 25 Warne Street cnr Sandler Rd, Fairmount 2192



Umhlanga Jewish Centre (UJC) Hours All daytime hours Address 81 Campbell Dr, Izinga Ridge, Blackburn, 4319


Shalom Mikvah Hours All daytime hours Address 11 Flamingo Lane Umhlanga Rocks

Cape Town

Sea Point

Arther's Road Shul Hours Mornings: 9:15am–12:15pm (Mon/Sun)
Afternoons: 2:15pm-5pm (Tues/Thurs/Fri)
Closed Wednesdays and Saturdays
Address 31 Arthurs Road, Sea Point

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