Jewish "KASHRUT" [hygiene]
tradition and law, involves the dehydration of meat
for its preservation. The practice of preserving food can be traced to prehistory, when
fruits and vegetables were dried, cereal grains were parched, and fish and game were
salted and dried. These age-old methods developed very slowly and were purely
empirical--fermentation, drying, smoking, and curing with salt being the principal
techniques. As the biological causes of food spoilage became better understood, rapid
advances followed, and appropriate methods were soon developed for dealing with the
causative agents. The requirement in ancient times, and to this day, was to prevent the
meat from deteriorating, so that it could be kept long enough, to allow its gradual
consumption over a period of time after the slaughter (or sacrifice) of the animal. This
basic law , to ensure the hygienic distribution and consumption of the meat, was also a
central theme in many other religions. The ritual of sacrifice, and salting, which
was the basis for a healthy, life sustaining meat and protein diet, at the same time
fulfilled critical physiological needs. It became part of a
"covenant", particularly for the Jewish religion, and around which, most other
religions, and many religious traditions developed:- -
and their "abattoir", became
their temple. and
later their tax collector
In the courtyard of Solomon's Temple stood what the Old
Testament calls a "molten sea," said to have held 2,000 baths, for salting meat.
It was also reputed to have been used by the celebrants to wash their hands and feet
before entering the sanctuary. According to one source, the "sea" or laver was a
replica of the apse, the layer that Babylonian priests used in their temple rites, except
the Babylonian layer was chiselled out of stone. Herod's monopoly of the
salt supply from the Dead Sea mountain, finally provided the
Jerusalem with a highly profitable source of income, at a time when salt
supplies were temporarily unavailable from Mediterranean sea shore sources due to
Sacrifice - Embalming - Rites & Rituals - Kosher -
Slaughter - TAX [tithe]
Sodium salt solution has a desiccating
effect of attracting water from the animal tissues since the salt solution water pressure
is considerably lower than the tissue liquids. In effect osmosis. The result was to
dehydrate the meat to a point where no bacteria could grow and cause decomposition of the
meat. The required salt solution for cheese and butter, is 2%, 6% for meat, and 20% for
fish. For this additional use of salt, for the preservation of meat, the daily individual
consumption of salt could be as high as 100 g per day. Jewish "KASHRUT" [health]
laws, involve the dehydration of meat for its preservation, or the draining of all liquids
including blood from the carcass. The requirement in ancient times, and to
this day, was to prevent the meat from deteriorating so that it could be kept long enough,
to allow its gradual consumption over a period of time after the slaughter of the animal.
Kosher salt crystals have large surface
areas and large crystal form
is Koshering ?
Deuteronomy 15:3 Excluded are those species
"that only chew the cud, or them that only have the hoof cloven: the camel and the
hare...because they chew the cud, but part not the hoof...and the swine, because he
parteth the hoof, but cheweth not the cud."
Deuteronomy 15:21 " Thou shalt nor seethe a kid in its
Deuteronomy 14:21 " Ye shall not eat of anything that dieth
Deuteronomy 15:23 "Thou shalt not eat the blood thereof;
thou shalt pour it on the ground as water."
the animal slaughter Draining the carcass, of the blood, was a relatively easy process By
slinging the animal up in a hanging position the blood could flow by gravity . But the
last of the blood and the remaining body fluids could only be drawn off by osmosis
in a second stage:
- # stage 1:
These fluids ares known as
"hanafesh" in Jewish law : by hanging the carcass in such a way as to enhance
drainage of the blood.:
The remaining body liquids in
the carcass tissues could only be drawn off by osmosis:
# stage 2:
By increasing the liquid pressure, with
salt, either with solid salt crystals, or by soaking in a concentrated brine, and
attracting the remaining liquids with a pressure difference [these liquids are known as
"hamatitz"], very similar to the process our own bodies employ to retain the
ratio between salt and water.
- There are a number of ways of achieving meat and
fish preservation. The dehydration process includes soaking the carcass in a
"natrum" brine [ salt solution] or washing the carcass with salt brine, or
placing the carcass in a bed of salt crystals. Other methods involved, for example the
'anointing' of oils, and "broiling" with vinegar and water, to 'seal' the
carcass, if complete drainage was not possible.
BATHS in most Abattoirs [Temples] were were used to
to soak the carcasses and precise quantities of salt were required to ensure
the Osmosis process dehydrated the tissues to a point where bacteria would
no longer be a polluting factor. Jars were used to measure
the salt content.
See LMLK jars and the methods of controlling this hygiene process
- The process of dehydration was well known
to most ancient civilisations, and although the 'salt' process was not exclusive to all
communities, it was recognised as the easiest and the most efficient, provided that salt
was in good supply. The Chinese prepared a "spice" which typically was a
recipe of mainly salt, but with small amounts of pepper called "fu-la" to ensure
the meat would not become too salty, but neither would it go rancid . The mixed
powder with only 75% salt and small amounts of pepper are familiar to all who frequent
Chinese restaurants called "chiou yen" an aromatic salt mixture for keeping
- The preparation and the concentration of the
salinity of the brines, was not so easy and it required a sophisticated water supply and a
drainage system. A typical example of such
a system designed for this purpose was Hezekiah's centralising of an hygienic hydraulic
system in the Temple in Jerusalem, from a fresh water source, the Gihon spring, amongst
others, into a reservoir called the Pool of Siloam [Shiloach] The water was cleverly
directed through the Temple by gravity, and exiting the Temple as waste at the southern
side. 2000 ritual baths were reputed to have been available in the Temple, with a
hydraulic circuit for feeding and draining the baths and reslurrying the salt.
- The requirement in ancient times, and to this day,
was to prevent the meat from deteriorating, so that it could be kept long enough, to allow
its gradual consumption over a period of time after the slaughter (or sacrifice) of the
animal. This basic law , to ensure the hygienic distribution and consumption of the meat,
was also a central ritual for many other religions. The ritual of sacrifice, and salting,
which was the basis for a healthy, life sustaining meat and protein diet, at the same time
fulfilled critical physiological needs.
- It became part of a "covenant",
particularly for the Jewish religion, and around which, most other religions, and many
religious traditions developed:- -and
"abattoir", became their temple
This community "service" was not without cost and the "tithe" system of
payment later became the community
Laws of Religion
Judaism and Islam
||Salting and storing poultry in amphorae
Herodotus describes the process of
"Mummification" by the ancient Egyptians, for the most part, " laying the
body in a natrum bath for at least 70 days". One might assume that in Egypt this
process became a standard procedure, so much so that it was taken for granted, both for
burial procedures and for slaughter meat dehydration and consumption.
"industrie" alone would have required considerable quantities of salt [NaCl]..
in addition to the leather, tanning, tinder and glass requirements, etc.
The Egyptian [for example
Tell el-Dab'a] salt manufacturing facilities were mainly situated in the Nile
"Delta" and typically produced salt in quantity, not unlike similar salt
production units around the world today, by solar evaporation in so called
The sea brines were directed into solar evaporation
pans, gradually increasing the concentration as evaporation took place, until the brine
reached a point of precipitation. The salt crystals were then raked up off the floor of
the pan into piles that lookedvery much like "pyramids" and due to the
consistent angle of "repose" were easy to measure volumetrically.
SALTING and BRINING in the TEMPLE
To increase the production capacity of the solar
pans, and to produce a purer salt, "straws" [Hebrew :'kane'] were planted in the
shallow brines. The "damp". straws were ideal for nucleation of the salt
crystals, which, exposed to the sun, grew quickly and "mushroomed" into pure
[white] salt briquettes.
JEWISH SALT technology [during Egyptian
The production of these "Levanim"
[white salt briquettes] was probably the responsibility of the Jewish
"slaves",who lived in bondage in the Nile Delta, and who relied on a supply of
"straw" from the harvest. A bad harvest meant no straw to make the salt bricks
King James bible - Exodus 5
Levanim and 'straw' bricks [levan:Hebrew:=white]
5 And Pharaoh said, Behold, the people of the land now
[are] many, and ye make them rest from their
6 And Pharaoh commanded the same day the taskmasters
of the people,
and their officers,
7 Ye shall no more give the people straw to make
brick, as heretofore : let them go and gather straw for themselves.
8 And the tale of the bricks, which they did make
heretofore, ye shall lay upon them; ye shall not diminish [ought] thereof for they [be]
idle; therefore they cry, saying, Let us go [and] sacrifice to our God
9 Let there more work be laid upon the men, that they
may labour therein;
and let them not regard
10 And the taskmasters of the people went out, and
and they spake to the people, saying, Thus saith
I will not give you straw
11 Go ye, get you straw where ye can find it: yet not
ought of your work
shall be diminished.
12 So the people were scattered abroad throughout all
the land of
Egypt to gather stubble instead of straw.
13 And the taskmasters hasted [them], saying, Fulfil
your works, [your] daily tasks, as when there was straw
14 And the officers of the children of Israel, which
had set over them, were
beaten, [and] demanded, Wherefore have ye not
your task in
making brick both yesterday and to
day, as heretofore?
salt production technique used by the Jews in the Nile Delta evaporation pans was a simple
salt in solar pans, in hot climates, occurred naturally, at the surface
of the brine.
The crystals first formed float, until they become
soaked - since the surface brine reaches saturation point before the cooler lower layers.
Additional crystals grow beside these crystals partially submerged,
rather than below them, or above them, thus a typical
"funnel" or wedge form takes shape.
The specific gravity of a Sodium Chloride crystal
is 2.16. and the saturated brine at 25 C contains 26.7% salt. and has a specific gravity
of 1.2004. At 15 C a saturated solution may
26.5% salt, and has a specific gravity 1.203.
Hence a solution saturated at
a higher temperature is specifically lighter, even though it
contains a greater
quantity of salt.
It is this explanation that allowed salt makers to
crystallise "blocks" or
of salt on the surfaces of ponds, using floating elements such as sticks and
straws to form the crusts of salt. .
It should be noted that with most other substances,
crystallisation can not occur at the the solution surface because their
solubility increases more rapidly than their specific gravity decreases.
geometric form floating on the surface of the pan brine, or planted vertically in the
shallow brine, enabled crystallisation to occur, encrusting the floating form, with salt
on the brine surface
Such geometric forms , mostly made of straws, or
sticks, were most efficient when constructed to allow the salt to crystallise over a large
area yet not be influenced by wind and waves. These geometric forms were mainly crosses or
squares with diagonal or tangential struts to strengthen the form. The most popular form
of straw construction with the greatest surface area and strength, was the "Star of
Since salt making of this kind occurred well
before most of today's religions developed, it is quite reasonable to assume that the Jews
and their particular interest in salt and "kashrut" hygiene, later used the star
form also as a symbol
The star of David used to crystallise salt in salt pans in
Mexico, La Concordia - from "Maya Salt Production and Trade - Antony P. Andrews
" courtesy Gertrude Blom.
- The dictates of "Kashrut" law have always confined
Jews to living, within an accessible proximity of salt supplies and
have had a sense of its importance for every day living essential to
Jewish philosophy. This is not a coincidence and down the ages Jewish communities have always been close to salt trading routes, nor is it coincidence that Jews have always been
directly connected with those allied industries to KASHRUT involving uses of salt, such as tanning
and leather and many other bye-products, Not least of these, was the use of salt
sometimes, as "money" and as a means to pay tax or as a prime taxable item.
- Since the
Jewish literacy rate has always been high, close involvement in the collection of
taxes for and on behalf of the local administrations probably contributed greatly to
Paying tax to Jewish bureaucracy clearly could not have been popular
also be possible to correlate the
resulting consistently high physiological salt intake by Jewish populations to high
standards of hygiene and health, in spite of periodical famine. and also possibly to
the high cultural and "thinking" reputation of these Jewish communities.
Herodotus reveals the
secret of the Egyptian 'mummies' - Not less than 70 days soaking in a Natrum' bath.
Was this a Jewish technology -- The same process
used for dehydrating meat to Kosher standards ?
MITHRAISM, MARII, ZOROASTRIANISM
- under construction
"Mithraism - the slaughter of the bull" In each
mithraic temple there was a central scene showing Mithras sacrificing a bull (often called
Mithraism was very much a cult for Roman
soldiers, who possibly spent their "salarium" in return for salted meat after
the rituals. ROMAN GODDESS "Salus" - of -
"Health" Health, represented by the serpent.- Salus in Roman religion, the
goddess of safety and welfare, later identified with the Greek Hygieia . Her temple on the
Quirinal at Rome, dedicated in 302 BC, was the scene of an annual sacrifice on August 5.
Always used for the seasoning of food and for the
preservation of things from corruption, had from very early days a sacred and religious
character. The Prophet Eliseus employed it to make palatable the waters of a well (IV
Kings, ii, 19 sqq.). The Orientals used it to cleanse and harden the skin of a newborn
child (Ezech., xvi, 4); by strewing salt on a piece of land they dedicated it to the gods;
in the Jewish Law it was prescribed for the sacrifices and the loaves of proposition
(Lev., ii, 13). In Matthew 5:13, salt symbolizes wisdom, though perhaps originally it had
an exorcistic signification.
Its use in the Church belongs exclusively to the Roman
Rite. The Ritual knows two kinds of salt for liturgical purposes, the baptismal salt and
the blessed salt. The former, cleansed and sanctified by special exorcisms and prayers, is
given to the catechumen before entering church for baptism. According to the fifth canon
of the Third Council of Carthage it would seem that salt was administered to the
catechumens several times a year. This use of salt is attested by St. Augustine (Conf., I.
1, c. xi) and by John the Deacon. St. Isidore of Seville speaks of it (De off., II, xxi),
but in the Spanish Church it was not universal. The other salt is exorcized and blessed in
the preparation of holy water for the Asperges before high Mass on Sunday and for the use
of the faithful in their homes. The present formula of blessing is taken from the
Gregorian Sacramentary (P.L., LXXVIII, 231). Both baptismal salt and blessed salt may be
used again without a new benediction. The appendix of the Roman Ritual has a blessing of
salt for the use of animals and another in honour of St. Hubert. The Roman Pontifical
orders salt to be blessed and mixed in the water (mixed in turn with ashes and wine) for
the consecration of a church. This is also from the Gregorian Sacramentary. Again salt
(not specially blessed) may be used for purifying the fingers after sacred unctions.
FRANCIS MERSHMAN Transcribed by Charlie Martin from the Catholic Encyclopedia
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