Is it improper and hypocritical to recite a blessing on non-kosher food? I'm starting to become more observant of the Torah laws, but I'm not yet at the stage of keeping 100% kosher. What do you advise?


First of all, may I commend you for your desire to keep growing in your Judaism and spirituality. Our sages tell us (Ethics of the Fathers 4:2) "A mitzvah brings another mitzvah." Doing mitzvot puts one in a "positive cycle," where one mitzvah leads to another. So, generally speaking, "all or nothing" is definitely not a Jewish mentality… and the fact that you are not yet observing one mitzvah is not a reason not to do another. And starting slowly and moving upwards steadily but sincerely in one's observance is certainly not hypocrisy! (See also I'd feel hypocritical wearing a Kippah full-time...)

But as it happens, this particular case is an exception to the abovementioned rule—allow me to explain:

What exactly is the purpose of making a blessing on food? With the blessing we are acknowledging G‑d, the Creator of the food, and thanking Him for providing it for us. So it is a mockery to bless and thank G‑d for the un-kosher food that one is eating—in opposition to His will.1

If, however, you unintentionally or accidentally ate nonkosher food, according to many opinions, you should make an after-blessing. 2

Additionally, if non-kosher food was eaten to stave off life-threatening danger, all agree that blessings are said before and after. This is because, in this instance, eating this food is a mitzvah.3