Zeke Freeman
Written by Zeke Freeman

Who Knew? We did.

Yes, it's kosher. Now, the Mishnah states it quite clearly: "That which comes from something which is not kosher is not kosher." So how, since bees are not kosher, is the honey we get from them kosher?

"The mere fact that bee honey is kosher is itself odd," my favorote Rabbi Jason Miller wrote in a recent Huffington Post article while standing amidst a buzzing hive in Michigan's Amish country. "After all, it is a product of the non-kosher bee (no insects except for certain locust species are deemed kosher by the Torah). So, how can a product of a non-kosher animal be kosher? It is believed that honey is kosher since it is produced outside of the body of the bee. But that isn't totally true. In actuality, bees suck nectar from flowers with their proboscis (mouth) and this nectar mixes with saliva and is swallowed into the honey sac, where enzymes from the saliva break down the nectar into honey. The nectar is never digested, but rather transformed into honey by the saliva. The honey is regurgitated when the bee returns to the hive and the water is evaporated, thereby thickening it into honey which is then sealed in the honeycomb. The rabbis of the Talmud explain that bee honey is kosher since it is not an actual secretion of the bee, but rather the bee functions as a carrier and facilitator of the honey-making process."

Who knew? We did. Happy Passover friends.—Zeke

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