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Glossary of Kosher Terms

Compliments of Star-K, OU, & National Jewish Outreach

Batul - Batul - to nullify. Batul refers to a situation when a small amount of one food is accidentally mixed into a larger amount of a different food. When the ratio is one part to 60 parts or less, the smaller ingredient is generally considered to be null and void.

Bishul Yisroel - Bishul Yisroel refers to the preparation of certain foods for which it is necessary for the Mashgiach to light the fire.

Chodosh - Chodosh, literally, new, refers to the grain (wheat, barley, oats, rye, and spelt) that has not taken root before Passover. It is called "new grain." Its consumption may be restricted until the following Passover.

Cholov Yisroel - Cholov Yisroel refers to all dairy productions, including cheese and non-fat dry milk powder, which have been under constant Rabbinical supervision.

Fleishig - Fleishig - meat, denotes meat and poultry products, as well as dishes and utensils used in their preparation.

Glatt Kosher - Glatt is the Yiddish word meaning smooth, and refers to beef from kosher slaughtered animals whose lungs are free of adhesions. Kosher consumers who are very stringent in accepting only high standards of kosher, demand that all meat products be "glatt." The term is often mistakenly used to differentiate food items that have higher standards of kashruth from those, which have a more relaxed level of kosher certification.

Hashgacha - Hashgacha, literally, supervision, generally refers to kosher supervision.

Hechsher - Hechsher refers to the certification of a kosher product or ingredient, given by a Rabbi or a kosher supervisory agency.

Kasher - Kasher - to make kosher, usually applied to the salting and soaking procedures used in the production of kosher meat and poultry. The term is also used to describe the kosherization procedure of a non-kosher facility or utensil, so that it may be used in the preparation of kosher food.

Kashruth - Kashruth - the state of being kosher.

Keilim - Keilim - vessels or utensils.

Kli Rishon, Kli Sheni, Kli Shlishi - Kli rishon, literally the first utensil, refers to a utensil that is used for cooking, baking or roasting food or liquid, and contains that hot food or liquid. When hot food or liquid is transferred from the kli rishon into a second utensil, this utensil is called a kli sheni. A kli shlishi is the third utensil into which hot food or liquid is transferred.

Kosher - Kosher is the Hebrew word meaning fit or proper, designating foods whose ingredients and manufacturing procedures comply with Jewish dietary laws.

Kosherization - Kosherization - the process of changing the status of equipment which had been used with non-kosher ingredients or products, to use with kosher ingredients or products.

Mashgiach - Mashgiach - one who is trained to supervise kosher food production.

Mehadrin - Mehadrin refers to the most stringent level of kosher supervision.

Mikvah - Mikvah, literally, gathering, refers to a structure, a ritualarium, in which water is gathered for purposes of immersion.

Milchig - Milchig - dairy, refers to dairy products as well as dishes, utensils, and equipment used in their preparation.

Mevushal - Mevushal refers to wine which has been cooked.

Orla - Orla refers to the Torah commandment to wait for three years before partaking of any fruit from fruit-bearing trees. The forbidden fruit of this period is known as orla.

Pareve - Pareve - neutral, indicates a product which contains no derivatives of poultry, meat, or dairy ingredients and can therefore be eaten with either a meat, poultry or dairy meal. Pareve items include all fruits, vegetables, legumes, grains, eggs, kosher fish, etc.

Pas Yisroel - Pas Yisroel refers to baked goods prepared in ovens which are turned on by the mashgiach.

Shechita - Shechita - the Torah prescribed manner of slaughtering an animal or fowl for consumption.

Shochet - Shochet - one who is specially trained to slaughter kosher meat and poultry according to the Jewish tradition.

Shmitta - Shmitta refers to the agricultural cycle observed in Israel, in which every seventh year the land lies fallow.

Tevilas Keilim - Tevilas Keilim, meaning dipping of utensils, refers to the immersion of vessels, utensils, or dishes in a ritualarium (mikvah) before their first use.

Tovel - To dip or immerse in a ritualarium (mikvah).

Traiboring - Traiboring refers to the process of removing forbidden fats and veins from meat in order to be prepared for the next stage of kashering, namely, the salting process.

Treifah - Treifah refers to food that is not kosher. The term is generally used to refer to all foods, vessels, and utensils that are not kosher. Literally, it means an animal whose flesh was torn or ripped.

Terumah and ma’ aser from Israeli produce. When the Temple was extant, these separated portions were distributed in a specified manner to the Kohanim, Leviim, and the poor, or eaten in Jerusalem. The laws apply even today when the food is eaten in the Diaspora. Prior to the required separations, the food is called tevel, and may not be eaten.

Yoshon - Yoshon, literally, old, refers to the grain that has taken root before Pesach, even if it is harvested after Pesach. It is called "old grain." It is permitted to be eaten without restriction. When a product is yoshon, it means that yoshon grains, including wheat, barley, oats, rye, spelt, were used in its preparation.

Glossary of Pesach Terms

Chometz - Chometz refers to leaven and any food products containing any grain (wheat, barley, rye, oats, or spelt) or grain derivative, not specially prepared for Passover use that comes in contact with water for 18 minutes or longer (without kneading or manipulating).

Chometz Gamur - Chometz gamur, colloquially called "real chometz," refers to products containing fermented grains. These products are biblically prohibited on Passover.

Gebrotz - Gebruchts - Foods containing matzah with liquid. Numerous communities have accepted upon themselves a stringency not to eat gebruchts for fear that additional fermentation may occur when the matzah and liquid are combined.

Kitniyos - Kitniyos - legumes, are those grains that can be cooked and baked in a fashion similar to chometz grain and yet are not considered, in the eyes of halacha, to be in the same category as chometz. Some examples are rice, corn, peas, mustard seed, the whole bean family (i.e. kidney, lima, garbanzo, soy, lentils, etc.), buckwheat/kasha, millet, sesame seeds, sunflower and poppy seeds. Iggeros Moshe (O.C. III:63) assumes that peanuts are not kitnios but notes that some have a custom to be machmir.It is customary for Jews of Ashkenazic descent to refrain from eating kitniyos on Passover.

Kosher Gelatin - In general the standard is to allow no gelatin at all from animals. The only gelatin-type product which is acceptable is Kolatin, which is fish gelatin. At Passover time, especially, beware of marshmallows or any chewy candies from Israel, which might have gelatin in them.

Kosher for Passover - Kosher for Passover - foods acceptable for use during the Passover holiday which require special preparation. Passover – The English name of the holiday derives from the fact that G-d "passed-over" the Jewish homes during the plague of the first born.

Matzah Shmura or Shmura Matzah - Literally "guarded matzah," shmura matzah has been specially supervised since before the wheat was cut so that it did not come in contact with chametz. This practice is based on Exodus 12:17, "And you shall guard the matzot...". It is best to use shmura matzah for the Seder

Pesach -- The Hebrew name of the holiday refers to the Pesach offering, the Pascal Lamb that was an integral part of the Seder during the time of the Temple. During the actual exodus, G-d commanded the Jewish people to take a lamb into their homes, slaughter it five days later, and put the blood on the doorposts of their homes to indicate that it was a Jewish home.