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Question
Would it be permissible to eat your own flesh? For example, if someone has the bad habit of picking/biting the skin around their nails and eating it, is that kosher?
Answer
Shalom, Thank you for your question. There is an interesting discussion amongst the Rabbis if the flesh of humans is kosher or not. However, your question is slightly different – it relates to the flesh taken from a living person. It is clear that a living human is kosher – thus, if a person were by mistake to put their finger in a pot of hot food, the food would still be kosher (and it would not be like putting a piece of non-kosher meat in the pot). As to eating small pieces of skin from a living person (such as the dried skin from one’s lips etc), I have seen quoted that the Ben Ish Chai (Parshat Emor) is strict and forbids it, but the Kaf HaChaim (79,11) is only concerned that a person may get used to detaching the skin on Shabbat (which all agree is forbidden), but is not concerned about any issues of kashrut. The Yalkut Yosef (79) rules that such skin is permitted. If this is an almost non-conscious act of habit, there is even greater reason to be lenient, as the act is done without intent. So, in such a case one should not be concerned that they are inadvertently eating non-kosher. Blessings.
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