Civilized Gentiles have their own kosher laws, though these are arbitrary. Westerners won’t normally eat monkeys or cats (out of instinctive affection), snakes or roaches (out of instinctive disgust). They also resist unreasonably brutal killing of animals, such as eating the living monkey’s brain.

The Torah’s commandments are simple enough even for children. Rabbis heaped superfluous legislation and therefore had to increase the age of legal responsibility to twelve or thirteen years. Bar mitzvah has no root in the Torah: every Jew of any age must observe the commandments.

Rabbis are full of contempt for common Jews. They even interpret the Torah’s wonderful metaphor for humanity, “soul,” as a shorthand for “dead,” which is parallel to the pejorative use of “mortal.” Rabbis made themselves into a class of priestly intermediaries with the right to “bind and loosen,” to add and distract from divine commandments. Even priests had no such rights. Jews have to consult rabbis on myriad obscure situations not covered in the rabbinical tractates and accept the rabbis’ arbitrary answers.

The Torah’s laws on kosher food have no problem with shrimps. They are not prohibited because they swarm. In Genesis 1:20-21, two classes of sea inhabitants are created: “swarming sea souls” and “large creatures.” The lawgiver considers all fish swarming. The only swarming creatures prohibited are those that swarm on land (Lev11:29), including those who touch the land occasionally (ibid., 11:23). The Torah differentiates between land and sea (Gen1:10); the sea bottom is not considered land. Swarming in the sea doesn’t make creatures unclean for food.

Shrimps pass the other two tests, erroneously understood as fins and scales. The word for fin means anything used for swimming; Rashi on Lev11:9 concurs. Etymologically, it is anything that makes the water flow. Shrimps have organs for swimming. The word for scales means any hard cover, like a shield. Shrimps have such a cover.

Lobsters are hardly prohibited, either. Crawling animals are non-kosher on earth only; there is no comparable prohibition for water creatures. Lobsters have hard cover (“scales”), and the only question remains whether they have a likeness of fins. They do: a fin-like tail. Indeed, they not only crawl, but swim with great speed.

The lawgiver wouldn’t have included ubiquitous classes of swarming water organisms among the non-kosher. Water is the perfect medium for transferring impurities (Lev.11:34,) and logically speaking, impure shrimps should render everything around them impure: such sweeping impurity would have affected every fish.

All fish have at least rudimentary scales, and there is no biblical reason for Jews to refuse sturgeon. The only exceptions are sea mammals; it is they who are prohibited in the Torah. It makes sense to avoid eating dolphins and other intelligent water creatures.

Besides sturgeon being a kosher fish, its caviar is kosher for yet another reason. Rashi clarifies that kosher prohibitions apply only to flesh but not bones, sinews, and such (Lev11:8). Caviar is not the fish’s flesh and doesn’t contract its impurity, if there is any. Moreover, once outside the fish, caviar loses connection with it, just as egg is parve (neither meat, nor milk) while chicken is considered meat.

Excavations in Jerusalem and other areas uncovered a lot of catfish bones: while non-kosher under rabbinical law, it was kosher at the time of the prophets.

Rabbis introduced an additional prohibition: Jews, they say, should refuse large fish such as tuna because it could eat non-kosher fish or exhibit predatory behavior. Any fish can be prohibited on such grounds. Kosher fish eats non-kosher plankton; kosher pike predates on gudgeon. Kosher chicken eats non-kosher worms, and cows also imbibe worms along with hay. The rabbinical rule is unwarranted.

Lev17:14: “The soul of any flesh is its blood.” The Torah also places the soul in the head or heart. We may conclude that whatever organism lacks blood, head, and heart, the Torah doesn’t treat as a living soul. The Bible doesn’t relate some aboriginal superstition; rather, “soul” is a metaphor for a living being. In the next verse, man is similarly called “a soul.” Where there is no blood, head, or heart, there is no life. Now, some argue that even moving corals are alive, but the Torah defines a live being as one that has blood. What is blood? In Hebrew, the word for “blood” is etymologically related to “red,” and cannot denote the colorless hemolymph of oysters. Oysters lack blood, head and heart, the possible receptacles of the soul, and thus cannot be regarded as the “living souls in water,” to which the kosher prohibition applies.

Read the section carefully: Lev11:9 commands us to eat anything in the water which has fins and scales, and 11:10 prohibits everything which lacks them. But there is a critical difference between v.v.9 and 10: verse 9 applies to “anything which is in water”, while verse 10 is restricted to swarming water creatures and living souls. Oysters being neither, the prohibition doesn’t apply to them. There is no imperative to eat them, but no prohibition against it.