Nazarene Space

I know that according to the Talmud, mushrooms are kosher. But I am compelled to ask what the intelligent minds of Nazarene Space have to say about it, given the following facts:


  • Genesis 1:29 states, Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. Notice that it says seed-bearing plant, yet Mushrooms lack seeds (they reproduce by spores, just like mold and some forms of bacteria).
  • Mushrooms are neither fruit nor vegetable, but a fungus. Fungi traditionally grows out of death. It seems that the whole point of kosher eating is to avoid death, and death oriented foods. The Torah contains explicitly directions on getting rid of (and not coming in contact with) mold and mildew (Leviticus 13-14); would mushrooms be considered part of this, as they are of similar biological origin?


I'm not saying that I have a personal conviction against eating mushrooms, just asking what you all think. Thanks in advance!

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There is a company in Kittanning, Pa., Sylvan Industries, which used to supply rye seed to (the now defunct) Moonlight Mushrooms (they also marketed mushrooms under a different brand name, but the name escapes me at the moment).

Moonlight mushrooms were grown in a huge underground mine, one of the largest in the nation. The point is, the mushrooms (several varieties) were grown from rye seed. Mushrooms have zero calories and contain many beneficial minerals.

Personally, I see nothing in Scripture, science, or medicine that would prohibit eating mushrooms. There are varieties that can be poisonous, but we find the same thing in nature among green,seed-bearing plants. We must choose carefully.

Before making any firm decision as to whether mushrooms are kosher or not, it may be a good idea to do some additional research.

When grilling outdoors, in lieu of a hamburger, I like to coat a large Portebella with a garlic/olive oil mixture and grill that. I add a large onion slice and maybe a few hot peppers, a tomato slice, and. a bit of salsa. I put it in a kosher hamburger bun and enjoy. The underside of such large mushrooms have serrations and should be thoroughly rinsed in case the have any insects.

Hope this helps. Shalom and thank you for your diligence in guarding Torah.        

Wow.  Perhaps not.  One observation I've noticed about unclean food is that they are often used in magic rituals.  Does anyone remember watching cartoons with those witches making magic potions with "bat's wings" or "eyes of newt"?  Likewise we get a lot of medicines from slugs, frogs etc.  Also many mushroom species are poisonous.  And, of course, we can't forget the magic mushroom.  Has anyone else made the connection between non-kosher foods and magic?

I believe you are right on this same as potatoes dont have seed


Christopher Hernandez said:

Although mushrooms are classified as fungi today, they were known as plants for most of the world's history. I still consider fungi to be plants, and spores are seeds. This is how they were known before the "scientific revolution". We are told in Genesis to eat plants that bear seeds. This means that fungi are kosher, but plants that never produce seeds, such as GMO plants, are non-kosher. But that's just my opinion, I don't want to be preaching false doctrine here.

Also, fungi do not have to grow out of death, they can grow from ordinary soil. The first mushrooms YHWH made did not grow from decaying organic material, because nothing had died yet.

Well, first of all, I think that people realized that mushrooms were different than animals and plants. I mean, they were pretty enlightened back then. And I think that man cannot change whether a food is Kosher or not by genetically modifying it; you just shouldn't eat them. Lastly, there is debate about whether there were thorns or not in the garden, and if thorns weren't there, mushrooms might not have been there either. Or just the mycelium was there and the stalk and cap part hadn't come up yet. I think it is worth noting that fungi animals and plants are all completely separate kingdoms, but even though people often get plants and fungi confused, it is mushrooms and animals (not plants) that are together in the "superkingdom" Opisthokont. 

Kimba, try to understand that in order to correctly classify mushrooms, we must use the Hebraic classification and not the modern Latin classification. The modern Latin classification system is only very recent in history and is based on atheism. The "kingdoms" you mention, such as "opisthokont", are based on the atheist belief in all living things evolving from a common ancestor millions of years ago. The Hebrew classification system is based on the Bible and Hebrew culture, and is identical or nearly identical to other non-Latin classification systems. For example, the whale has always been classified as a fish in Hebrew and ancient Chinese. According to the Bible, whales are fish.

In 2 Kings 4:39-42, mushrooms are eaten. Elisha approved of them even though the people were afraid to eat them. These were most likely truffles, even though it is translated as gourds, cucumbers, or muskmelons.

"Mushrooms, especially of the Boletus type, were gathered in many areas, particularly when plentiful after a major rainfall. The Talmud mentions mushrooms in connection with their exemption from tithes and as a dessert at the Passover seder."

The above quote is from "Encyclopedia of Jewish Food", p.413, concerning the diet of ancient Israelites.

Mushrooms are kosher, but the bugs that live in them are not. When eating mushrooms, inspect them to make sure no buggy thing is calling it "home sweet home" and wash thoroughly. 

That is my rabbi's advice. Hope that helps.... 

Thanks to all and especially Christophe Hernandez with the quote from "Encyclopedia of Jewish Food" p.413. I eat mushrooms. I have loved them from my childhood. I did get talked into eating a wild one on the lawn and got really sick as a preschool kid. I just avoid the unknown ones and stick to the marketed brands.


I have a friend that asked me about them and I was sure it was mentioned in Scripture. I went right to 2 King 4:38-41 only to find my memory was, or so I thought then and until now, that it was a gourd and not a mushroom. I am so glad to see it has the other option of translation. With this encouragement I looked in a number of resource books including "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge" and there I found this quote:


“a wild vine: Isa_5:4; Jer_2:21; Mat_15:13; Heb_12:15
“wild gourds: The word pakkuoth, from peka, in Chaldee, to burst, and in Syriac, to crack, thunder, is generally supposed to be the fruits of the coloquintida, or colocynth; whose leaves are large, placed alternately, very much like those of the vine, whence it might be called a wild vine. The flowers are white, and the fruit of the gourd kind, of the size of a large apple, and when ripe, of a yellow colour [color], and a pleasant and inviting appearance. It ranks among vegetable poisons, as all intense bitters do; but, judiciously employed, it is of considerable use in medicine. It is said that the fruit, when ripe, is so full of wind that it bursts, and throws its liquor and seeds to a great distance, and if touched, before it breaks of itself, it flies open with an explosion, and discharges its foetid [fetid] contents in the face of him who touched it.”


Just because the passage itself indicated that the item was on a vine, I did not at first rule out mushrooms, because many wild mushrooms do have circles of vines around which the mushrooms grow, even though the "vines" are more like underground root systems 


However, the more I search, the more likely it seems to be more like a gourd or strangely shaped wild cucumber, but especially this pakkuoth which fits better than the mushroom, even though all options could fit the Hebrew  root word which is a description of its shape as being a semi-round "KNOP." Like the knops used in the sanctuary furnishings. So, based on this text I am not convinced whether it is or is not a mushroom.


My inquisitive friend, who is an expert on molds, but not on fungus, yeasts, or some bacteria all of the other which he knows only as they relate to and interact with each other, as being territorial enemies. They fight each other with chemical warfare deterrents to other species, some of which, especially with molds, create airborne hazards for humans too even though not designed to attack them.  


He tells me that mushrooms are closest in DNA structure as a plant equivalent to shrimp and other sea-foods, and to spiders. Yuck, but still it is a plant or possibly an herb and not one of those creatures.


He showed me on my current lawn the "Fairy Ring" around which the mushrooms grew. As I looked at the ground I could see the resemblance to an 8 foot diameter spider web pattern of the single organism's root / vine system poking through the partly dying grass. In a circle all around the circumference of the outer edge of the web circle grew the mushrooms.


Well, I do not think I am giving up on mushrooms as not kosher yet. Seeds or spores, the command after the fall added herbs which included other types of plants. The Hebrew etymology of herbs can be related to shiny green or to globular shaped. I have not seen any green mushrooms, but many good ones are globe or half globe shaped, both of which fit the Hebrew descriptors; supported by the Chaldean “knop”!  So before mankind’s fall or after, mushrooms have the shape and possibly the seeds or a type of one type or another of potentially edible “kosher” plants.


I will keep searching, staying away from poison or questionable ones, and enjoying mushrooms fresh or canned until I have a more definitive answer. When in doubt, stick with the Jewish traditions unless or until they are proven wrong. Some Rabbis may seem like, and even think they do, “know it all,” but they do not, they cannot know everything. I know, I’m one of them.


If any come up with other ideas or data please post it here. I am interested to know more even if it causes me to delete mushrooms from my diet.

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