Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Meat and milk, the basics

Today is the 28th day of Shebat , 5771

The Torah forbids consuming meat with milk.

In the Book of Shemot (23, 19) the Torah says: "You shall not cook the calf in its mother milk".

The Rabbis explained that the prohibition to mix milk with meat does not refer exclusively to the cow's milk with her calf's meat, but to any meat of a mammal (cows, goats, sheep) with milk from any other Kosher mammal.

The Torah, explains Maimonides, brought the case of the calf and its mother's milk because that was the most common "meal" (a palatial meal, actually) done with milk and meat in Biblical times. The Torah presented that case as an illustration of the general rule, not as a specification.

The Rabbis extended the prohibition of milk and meat to any other 'meat', including bird's meat (chicken, turkey, duck) but they excluded fish (fish and meat belongs to a different category) and bird's eggs.

Why meat and milk is forbidden? There are some Mitzvoth (a.k.a. Chukim) for which the Torah does not bring any explicit reason. However, a Jew is not prevented from researching and finding numerous benefits behind the Mtizvot. For example, much has been said and written about the harms for digestion at the level of enzymes, if meat and milk are eaten together. A second more mystical approach indicates that meat and milk actually represent two different opposite states which should be kept apart: Milk represents life. Is taken from a living animal and gives life to the calf. While meat is part of a dead animal's body.

More about meat and milk, from

Rabbi Yosef Bitton. YMJC | 130 Steamboat Rd. | Great Neck | NY | 11024