Being a shochet (Jewish religious slaughterer), Peretz went to great lengths to convince relevant rabbis that oryx and kudu (from the antelope family) as well as gazelles are some of the clean animals mentioned in Deuteronomy 14:5. Declaring these animals kosher is not about expanding the Jewish culinary horizon, but about the authority of Talmudic laws of slaughter that are of paramount importance.
Hunting wild kudu means using bullets that can hit lungs or certain tendons that, according to slaughtering regulations, must be intact for the animal to meet kosher requirements. Damaged lungs, for example, render the entire animal “dead” and thus uneatable. Such laws run so deep that altering them means a dramatic change of the Oral Law that Jews believe would change only when the Messiah comes.
It is at this point in our conversation that Rabbi Peretz’s point begins to hit home. Drinking coffee in an ordinary place with what looks to me like an ordinary man, Peretz begins to tell me an amazing story. Baby Elijah was born in Casablanca, Morocco on December 25, 1965, exactly at...
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