The medieval philosopher, halakhist and physician, Maimonides, (1135-1204), suggested that the laws of kashruth were a means of enhancing human health (Guide for the Perplexed, Part III, Chap. 48). For this he was roundly taken to task by the famed Don Isaac Abarbanel,(1437-1508): “G-d forbid that I should believe that the reasons for forbidden foods are medicinal! For were it so, the Book of G-d’s law should be in the same class as any of the minor brief medical books… Furthermore, our own eyes see that the people who eat pork and insects and such… are well and alive and healthy at this very day…” (Abarbanel, Commentary to Leviticus, Shemini).
We now know what a healthy diet is and we know how to cook foods properly. We don't need kasharut to tell us how to be healthy. In fact in lots of synagogues on Shabbat, little kids have access to ALOT of junk food. Shiiit man. You should see it some time. You can get diabetes just looking at it.
Abarbanel, R. Isaac Arama (Akeidat Yitzchak) and Nachmanides, (1194-1270), suggest that the dietary laws were given not for the good of the body, but for the benefit of the soul. They maintain that animals that are permitted to be eaten are of a higher spiritual nature, resulting in a higher spiritual health and a more saintly character for humans who consume them.
There is of course no way to measure the spiritual plane that animals are on ROFLMAO so this is just blowing smoke.
The Midrash Tadshe and Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzato,(1707-1746), see self-discipline as the primary reason for kashruth observance. Kashruth laws allow the Jew to be in control of his food rather than have the food control the Jew. Thus each Jew is led to acknowledge the yoke of his Maker, and to remember G-d and His Providence that act “as a restraining factor on our passions and implants in us the fear of G-d that we should not sin,” (Luzzato).
Keeping kosher doesn't make people work hard, keeping kosher doesn't soothe tempers, keeping kosher doesn't stop the ultraorthodox from rioting when the state of Israel disagrees with them, keeping kosher does not stop clerics and other observant people from becoming gay pedophiles, keeping kosher doesn't create self discipline where it counts.
CONSEQUENCE OF SEPARATION
As indicated at the outset, there are many who maintain that the dietary laws were designed to serve as a barrier to separate the Jews from the nations of the world. Rabbi David Zvi Hoffman,(1843-1921) in his commentary to Leviticus, takes issue with that formulation, positing that the separation of the Jewish people from the other nations has already been performed by G-d, and as a result Jews are obligated to observe the Divine precepts. To Hoffman, kashruth is not a vehicle for separation but a consequence of it.
There is no need to force separation or integration in the modern western world. Kosher because of being separate is nonsense.
TO DISCOURAGE MEAT CONSUMPTION
Contemporary commentators have found new meaning in the kashruth laws and rituals. Some point out that until the time of Noah, early man was vegetarian, and meat was permitted only as a concession to man’s base nature, suggesting that vegetarianism is a more spiritually uplifting diet. Certainly, the regulations governing the preparation of kosher meat make life more difficult and expensive for the observant Jew, thus insuring that meat consumption is likely reduced or held to a minimum.
ROFLMAO Kasharut has NEVER EVER EVER discouraged meat consumption. This is total crap.
MORAL AND ETHICAL VALUES
Many commentators emphasize the moral and ethical values of the kosher diet–viewing all food as a Divine gift. Any flesh that was roduced in a process that caused undue pain to the animal may not be consumed.
As per the Rubashkin scandal the meat production industry is just as ugly either kosher or treif. Yeah I love my meat but there's room to clean up the industry a lil bit.
Whatever the reasons for its observance, Kashruth for the contemporary jew has become a rallying point for Jewish identity.
There are more jews who don't keep kosher than the ones who do keep kosher. Isn't it true that kasharut has utterly failed to maintain jewish identity amongst the vast majority of jews?