I have type 2 diabetes, and I'm unable to control it adequately with oral medication, and thus require insulin injections. The products my doctor is suggesting are made either from human cadavers or porcine (pork) product. What should I do?


Taking shots made of porcine product does not pose any problem whatsoever. We are forbidden to orally ingest pork, but may benefit from non-kosher foods or their byproducts in other ways.1 This applies to non-medical areas as well, such as playing football with a pigskin ball, or wearing clothing made of leather which comes from a non-kosher animal.

[Bear in mind that the laws of kosher are suspended in many instances for medical purposes. Speak to an expert rabbi if you find it necessary to take oral medicine which is not kosher.]

Injections which contain human remains do present a problem because we are forbidden to benefit from human bodies (see Are cadaver transplants allowed?).2 I would therefore advise you to take the porcine product insulin shots.

Wishing you continued success in your efforts to keep healthy under trying circumstances.

Wishing you a happy, healthy and sweet new year!

Yours truly,

Rabbi Menachem Posner