Question:

Why do Jews give the poor old pig such a hard time? Is pig more unkosher than other animals?

Answer:

The pig has copped it pretty badly in the collective Jewish psyche over the years. It has always been the personification of unkosherness. It is not uncommon to find Jews who say "I may not keep kosher, but at least I don't eat pig!" Although a pig is no more unkosher than a cheeseburger or a lobster, the pig has something to it that is anathema to what Judaism stands for: it is a fraud.

There are two signs that identify a kosher species of animal. 1) It has split hooves, and 2) it chews its cud (i.e. it regurgitates its food and chews it over a second time.) The first sign is easy to spot - just look at the hooves. But the second is not so apparent. You have to study the animal's digestive system to know if it chews its cud. A cow is an example of an animal that fulfils both requirements, and is thus kosher. A horse is not kosher because it fulfils neither. There is only one animal in existence that seems kosher because it has split hooves, but is really not kosher because it doesn't chew its cud — the pig.

And that's why we denigrate the pig. Every other non-kosher animal is up front about it. The horse says "I don't have split hooves, so I'm just not kosher." But the pig presents a kosher facade. "Look, I have split hooves, just like a kosher animal should!" But what lies hidden behind that kosher veneer is a non-kosher inside: it doesn't chew its cud. For Judaism, nothing could be worse than making a holy facade when your inside is rotten.