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Old Testament Health and Shellfish


The transmission of gastrointestinal infections (including typhoid fever) via polluted shellfish or water testifies to the wisdom of the Hebrews in warning against such sea food and impure water. In Judaism, the concept of “unclean animals“, or more accurately “impure animals“, plays a prominent role in the part of Jewish law that specifies which foods are allowed (kosher) or forbidden to Jews. These laws are based upon the Books of Leviticus and Deuteronomy, of the Torah and in the extensive body of rabbinical commentaries (the Talmud). The concept of unclean animals is also mentioned in the Book of Genesis, when Noah is instructed to bring into the Ark all sorts “of pure beasts, and of beasts that are impure, and of fowls, and of everything that creepeth upon the earth“.


Leviticus 11:2 “Speak to the children of Israel, saying, “These [are] the animals which you may eat among all the animals that [are] on the earth: “Among the animals, whatever divides the hoof, having cloven hooves [and] chewing the cud–that you may eat. “Nevertheless these you shall not eat among those that chew the cud or those that have cloven hooves: the camel, because it chews the cud but does not have cloven hooves, is unclean to you; “the rock hyrax, because it chews the cud but does not have cloven hooves, [is] unclean to you; “the hare, because it chews the cud but does not have cloven hooves, [is] unclean to you; “and the swine, though it divides the hoof, having cloven hooves, yet does not chew the cud, [is] unclean to you. “Their flesh you shall not eat, and their carcasses you shall not touch. They [are] unclean to you. “These you may eat of all that [are] in the water: whatever in the water has fins and scales, whether in the seas or in the rivers–that you may eat. “But all in the seas or in the rivers that do not have fins and scales, all that move in the water or any living thing which [is] in the water, they [are] an abomination to you. “They shall be an abomination to you; you shall not eat their flesh, but you shall regard their carcasses as an abomination. “Whatever in the water does not have fins or scales–that [shall] [be] an abomination to you. “


Again in Leviticus: “Of all the creatures living in the water of the seas and the streams you may eat any that have fins and scales. But all creatures in the seas or streams that do not have fins and scales – whether among all the swarming things or among all the other living creatures in the water – you are to regard as unclean. And since you are to regard them as unclean, you must not eat their meat; you must regard their carcasses as unclean. Anything living in the water that does not have fins and scales is to be regarded as unclean by you.“

Leviticus 11:9-12


For seafood or fish to be kosher, it must have fins and easily removable scales, like tuna, carp and herring. Shellfish generally, lobsters, shrimp, mussels, clams and oysters, are not kosher. Shell fish of any sort is considered an unclean food by the Jewish Code of Law. The reason they are called unclean food and forbidden is because they are all scavengers. Their purpose is to keep the earth, air and waters clean. That means unclean animals, eat or ingest toxins and waste but do not have the digestive systems to release them. That means they are absorbed into their flesh and cannot be cleaned of them, boiled, fried, grilled or baked out. You literally eat what they have eaten. A myriad of disease and other ailments are the result of people eating unclean foods.


Because of our understanding through science, we know that shell fish clean the oceans and are a potential death threat to the consumer if water reaches a certain temperature.  With climate change destruction, taking place around the world, we should consider shellfish, a key warning device, alerting humans, by sickening them, to the rising temperatures of the oceans.


Ancient tribes observed that clean fish have fins and scales: anchovy, bass, bluefish, carp, cod, crappie, drum, flounder, garfish, grouper, grunt, haddock, halibut, hardhead, herring, mackerel, minnow, perch, pickerel, pike, rockfish, salmon, shad, sheepshead, skipjack, smelt, snapper, sole, sunfish, tarpon, trout, tuna (albacore, bonita, yellowtail).


The ancients deemed shellfish and fish without fins and scales unclean because of the animal’s biology. Shellfish like shrimp, crab, lobster, oysters, scallops, and clams, as well as catfish, gar, swordfish, fresh water cod, and others are nature’s filter system; a way of keeping the water clean. These animals are scavengers, that eat dead and decaying animals, and any other pollutants they find, including those put there by man. They filter oceans, seas and lakes. As a result, they can maintain high levels of mercury, heavy metals, and industrial contaminants.


According to author Rex Russell, MD, “Shellfish can be placed in a body of water that is contaminated with cholera bacteria, and they will purify the water. Shrimp, oysters, crab, scallops and mussels are particularly efficient at this. They filter large volumes of water every day. Sewage laden with chemicals, toxins, and harmful bacteria, parasites and viruses become concentrated in those shellfish. The cause of cholera outbreaks in several areas has been traced to contaminated shrimp, crab, oysters and clams.“


Catfish (one of the most beloved fish in America), do the same thing, only in lakes and ponds.


As we look at modern science and nutrition vs. the Old Testament there is an amazing overlap between the original ancient laws of clean and unclean and solid hygienic principles adhered to today. Next time you eat shrimp, look at it carefully after biting into it. Sometimes there is a dark line which represents the waste that has yet to be expelled, not to mention what else is in its system that can’t be seen. It is common knowledge that these creatures feed largely on the raw sewage and pollutants in the water. Prevention magazine carried an interesting article entitled “Shellfish Are Dirty and Dangerous.“ The author appeared reluctant to take a stand, but was committed to telling the truth on the sensitive subject. “They’re succulent; they’re delicious; they’re even nutritious. But, because of the nature of the mollusk and the sewage-like pollution of its habitat, we must in good conscience advise you to avoid shellfish, no matter how they tempt you, end even though those around you seem to be swallowing them with delight. The day of reckoning cometh. “Why are shellfish so dangerous? Because they are many times more polluted than the filthy waters they inhabit. “Unfortunately they choose to live and love and multiply in estuaries along coastal regions. These estuaries are particularly subject to the discharge of sewage, sewage effluent, and other water-borne pollution from municipal discharges, from suburban home drainage and agricultural runoff. “The polluted aspect of their habitat is one danger. The fact that they are filter feeders compounds the danger. “Oysters, for instance, because of their way of obtaining and absorbing food, have been found to concentrate polio virus up to 20 to 60 times the level of the surrounding seawater. “No other animal food offered on the menu of your favorite eating place would be served to you whole; complete with its intestinal tract.“


Over and over again outbreaks of hepatitis have been traced to the eating of seafood. After feeding on raw sewage, the creature is harvested and sold. The disease is simply cycled from man to mollusk and then back to man. Precisely because of this uncleanliness, the books of Leviticus and Deuteronomy forbid the eating of shellfish because they were considered unclean. Old Testament promotion of health believed that an animal that eats filth and waste and is potentially contaminated with parasites would make people sick; whereas an animal that processes its food properly and eliminates the toxins from its body would be far healthier.


Shellfish consists of lobster, shrimp, oysters, clams, crabs, scallops, and mussels. All shellfish can be a serious health risk. They are scavengers that live at the bottom of the ocean and eat the waste of other animals and the pollutants that man dumps into the ocean. Although only 0.1% of all shellfish consumed is eaten raw, that tiny percentage is responsible for a large proportion of reported food-caused illnesses. Poisoning from shellfish can come from bacterial or viral contamination. Generally adequate cooking eliminates this danger, but is it worth the risks in the long run. Poisoning can also arise from heat-stable toxins derived from the food that the shellfish have been eating. Shellfish are notorious for being high in mercury, heavy metals, and industrial contaminants in the environment because they’re bottom feeders that eat the ocean’s waste. Heavy metals and toxins can be dangerous to your health.


Thousands of years ago, the Old Testament prescribed dietary laws as a health precaution to help the human body function and to keep people from succumbing to disease.


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