Klingons speak frequently about eating the heart of a Targ, and it is eaten in the Klingon Day of Honor ceremony. If a Jew were invited to join with some Klingon friends, could the Jew partake of a Targ heart as well?
Many people say seem to believe that since blood is not allowed to be eaten, an animal’s heart may not be eaten either. On the contrary, the mishnah mentions the procedure for removing blood from a heart so it can be eaten, and it is codified by the Shulchan aruch and Rema as well. There are a few people who say that the heart of an animal should not be eaten because it causes forgetfulness. (Horayot 13b, Shach YD 72:2). However the general halachic attitude is to allow it. That being said, they are difficult (but not impossible) to find commercially here in the 21st century.
While hearts of kosher animals may be eaten, we need to determine if the Targ is a kosher animal. The Torah gives the signs of a kosher animal – specifically the need for the animal to have split hooves and chew its cud. This is accepted as the halacha for almost everyone. There are a small number of people who follow the Hazon Ish who maintained that for an animal to be kosher there needs to be a tradition of it being kosher. In other words, an animal must have traditionally been part of the kosher diet for it to be kosher. The Hazon Ish forbade new world animals like bison, moose, and zebu, and would clearly also forbid all alien animals, including the targ. Although the Hazon Ish was an incredibly influential posek, this is a minority opinion and few people follow it today, so a targ should be kosher according to most if it contains these two indicators. As a side note, if the targ is kosher then targ milk is also kosher, making this question of practical importance to vegetarians as well.
Does the Targ Have Split Hooves?
Targs have appeared on screen a handful of times. The first (and probably best look at their feet) comes from the TNG episode Where No Man Has Gone Before. The Targ that appears on the Enterprise bridge clearly has split hooves. This can also be confirmed by the noting that the Targ was played by a terrestrial wild boar, which has split hooves.
Although less authoritative, the Toby The Targ plush doll that Molly O’Brien has in DS9 was made from a warthog doll, and also had split hooves.
Does a Targ chew its cud?
Unfortunately we have no solid evidence one way or the other on whether or not a Targ chews its cud. Their physical appearance is based on boars, which do not chew their cud, however since they are native to a different planet, their is no reason to assume that physical similarities also imply biological similarities. In the Enterprise episode Sleeping Dogs we see a Targ carcass. While an inspection of the Targ’s stomach should reveal some information about it’s biology, the shot is from the back and all we can see is the Targ’s back.
Another possible indicator of whether or not a Targ chews its cud may come from an examination of it’s teeth which could indicate it’s diet. In the aforementioned episode Sleeping Dogs, we see a live targ and it growls at the Enterprise crew. Because of that, we can get a good look at it’s teeth. On earth at least, the only animals the ruminate are herbivores – the animal needs to ferment the plant matter to extract nutrients from it. Any animal that eats meat could probably be assumed to not chew its cud. The targ’s teeth are almost entirely molars – there are no canines or other tearing type teeth to be seen. This would seem to indicate that Targs do not eat meat, and leaves open the possibility of it chewing its cud.
The targ needs to both have split hooves and chew it’s cud. While it has the first, the latter is unclear. All available evidence leads to the conclusion that it’s possible, but nothing can be solidly proven. For the time being, Jews will have to avoid eating targ meat and targ milk.