A few years ago, stories were floating around the internet about how certain terrorist groups were rumored to be feeding parent's their children in a demonic and wicked act of cruelty. People were appalled at such horrifying examples of cannibalism. Yet, as disturbing as this was to people, justification for cannibalism is actually happening amongst believers and it needs to be addressed.
Publishing this article may make a large number of faithful women angry, hurt, or upset, but it must be said. This is not something Torahforwomen.com ever thought we would need to address, yet we find ourselves in the position to take a stand on what may end up causing women serious sadness, grief, and anger. It is not our intent to hurt anyone, yet this subject, although it may be upsetting to some, needs to be addressed from a Biblical perspective, no emotion, just pure biblical Teachings.
Here it is: It IS NOT Torah (biblical teaching) to eat your baby’s placenta, ever. It is also NOT Torah to consume the placenta in pill form because, although it is not being cooked & served, or made into a "placenta smoothie", it is still the consumption of human tissue.
First let me say that it is uplifting to see women of deep faith so diligent about every little detail of what goes into their bodies or what they use in their home when it comes to pork and other unclean ingredients. In fact, women will not use gelatin capsules because of the concern for pork gelatin being hidden in the capsules ingredients. Mothers and wives will purge their cupboards of every food, soap, shampoo, toothpaste, or medication that may have contained pork or even seafood ingredients derived from unclean aquatic life. Out of concern for their own or their family’s eternal well-being, they will remove all the potential of sinning through ingesting something Yahweh has commanded as unclean. Yet, they will defend with angry outrage, their “right” to ingest their newborn child’s placenta.
To sum up the reasoning behind this practice: someone they know, either before or during their pregnancy, has convinced these women that they will not be able to control their hormonal fluctuations without consuming their baby’s placenta. I have studied all the defensive articles advocating this practice, as well as the history of the practice. I could go into more detail, but in all honesty, it does not matter what the reasons are, it all comes down to what YAHWEH says.
Leviticus 11:2-3 "Speak to the children of Israel, saying, 'These are the living things which you may eat among all the animals that are on the earth. Whatever parts the hoof, and is cloven-footed, and chews the cud among the animals, that you may eat. . .”
Ask yourself one question based off Yahweh’s description: What makes meat clean food? Parted hooves (cloven) and chewing cud. Creatures that DO, we may eat, those that don’t? No. It’s that simple - Honestly. Yahweh has made a rule, a commandment, a clarification for us. Simply put, some living creatures ARE food and some are NOT. If a creature does not have a parted hoof (cloven foot), and/or does not chew the cud, we may not eat it. Period. So let me be the one to break the news to everyone, humans don’t meet the qualification as food. Humans are not edible according to the Levitical definition of “food”. End of discussion.
A placenta is human tissue - it is created when the fertilized egg splits inside the womb. One half of the egg becomes the infant growing inside the mother, while the other half becomes the organ which feeds the infant and acts as a filter for waste during the pregnancy. It is considered an human organ. When the child is born, the placenta is no longer needed, and the mother’s body expels it. Has it changed genetic properties simply by being expelled from the body? No. It is still human flesh or tissue and does not qualify as “food” for the mother or father, or anyone else, for that matter.
Someone will likely say, “But I am not eating it as ‘food’, I am taking it as a nutritional supplement.” Let me ask those people this: Would you take PORK ingredients as nutritional supplements? How about any of the other unclean beasts: Vulture? Eagle? Hawk? Shark? Shrimp? Tiger? Cat? Dog? Now, some of these might sound ridiculous, yet many (not all) of these are made into supplements of some kind or another and used in Chinese medicine which happens to be the biggest contributor to the original teaching on eating human placenta. If you would not take these supplements because they are unclean and unfit for you or your family, why would you take human tissue? On the other hand, I have discussed this issue with several women who WOULD take unclean items through supplements, for that I have to say, you should take this to the scriptures, weigh it against Yahweh’s truth, and seriously pray about whether it is right, and if you are living right according to HIS Torah (teaching).
Consuming human tissue, placenta, must be weighed against the teaching that Yahweh has given us for clean foods. There are some who have attempted to change the definition of “cannibalism” by redefining it as eating only the part of a human that is found between skin and bone.” Thus, by their definition, cannibalism only occurs when someone eats the meaty portion of a human that is found on legs and arms. This definition would leave any portion of the torso found beneath the skin and ribs free for human consumption - so they would justify eating human organs, and anything else you find inside. Crazy!! “Food for thought,” the OLDER definition used to be that cannibalism involved eating ANY human remains or parts, period!! No attempts were made to draw a line between what parts of a human are edible and which are not. One must kind of step back for a few moments and honestly ask, why would anyone even consider redefining the term??? For what purpose???? - Obviously to justify their practice.
Now that I have totally grossed most of you out by this description, let me clarify that the above "new" definition IS NOT our opinion of the proper definition of eating human flesh, also known as cannibalism. Cannibalism is eating any human flesh - period. We base our decision and definition solely on the description of food found in Leviticus 11. Plain and simple. Any variation from that definition given by Yahweh would be sin.
Some will say that it is acceptable to eat the placenta because cannibalism IS mentioned in the bible. However, what they do not teach is that when it IS brought up, it is always discussed in negative terms. Yes, Yahweh mentions women who are starving first eating placenta (afterbirth) and then consuming children in Deuteronomy 28:56-57 “The refined and delicate woman among you, who would not venture to set the sole of her foot on the ground for delicateness and refinement, shall be hostile toward the husband she cherishes and toward her son and daughter, and toward her afterbirth which issues from between her legs and toward her children whom she bears; for she will eat them secretly for lack of anything else, during the siege and the distress by which your enemy will oppress you in your towns.” I pray you will see that this is a CURSE, not a blessing, and certainly not, by any means, some form of permission or a commandment from Yahweh to eat human flesh! It is a curse as a result of their sins, a consequence of what is taking place in the world at that time. Because of their sins, they will end up eating their afterbirth, and then they will consume their children. Do you want to willingly participate in the fulfillment of this curse for sin?
One big detail here that also needs to be considered is this: Who is more powerful and whose instructions should you follow - that of a friend, blogger, midwife, naturopath, or doula? Or Yahweh? When we take the advice of another person over the teachings of Yahweh, and that advice is not in any way backed by the word of Yahweh, we have elevated them and their teachings above Yahweh and his Torah. This places us in a dangerous position spiritually.
It is complicated for the woman of faith who believes that consuming placenta has helped her overcome something as devastating as post-partum depression, and we have great compassion for those who have gone through such a trauma following childbirth. We run the risk of being called cold-hearted and unkind, or being accused of not understanding. That is a risk that we are willing to take in an effort to teach Yahweh’s truth, and it is a responsibility we must do, no matter the fall-out from women who profess to follow the scriptures.
There are options that an expectant mother can and should talk about with a qualified nutritionist, faithful midwife who follows Yahweh, or a believing naturopath, which should be someone willing to respect and honor the commandments of Yahweh above claims that there is some form of "medical" benefit. There are herbal supplements and remedies that may be taken safely following childbirth to stabilize and alleviate symptoms mothers may experience. There are also nutritional adjustments that may be able to be made through diet and even exercise. These should all be discussed with your professional caretaker, remembering that all supplements should meet the needs of both mother and newborn, as well as the commandments of Yahweh.
For additional scriptural discussion and information on this topic, please feel free to print and study the scriptural references, historical information and such contained in the PDF located below this blog article. We pray with all our hearts that you will find peace and comfort in Yahweh’s teachings, and that you will find a way to bring peace to your pregnancy as well as your weeks and months following birth, so that your experience and new motherhood will be a fulfilling blessed time for you and your new baby, as well as your spouse and family.
May you be blessed with much joy and Shalom.
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Lead Author (Bio)
Jim, (Judi's husband), has Sephardi Jewish ancestry and is a minister and head of Shofar Productions. Jim was a denominational pastor, hospital chaplain, and former director of a non-profit community organization.
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