Wednesday, March 13, 2013

You shall not cook a kid in the milk of its mother

I originally wanted to create a separate blog where I would express my thoughts about subjects that are not directly related to the Tabernacle. However, after a lot of thinking I have realized that it would be beneficial to post it here, as the Tabernacle covers almost all subjects in the Pentateuch, and is, in a way, a microcosm of the creation. Therefore, I have created a separate label called "My Torah Thoughts" where you can read my thoughts on these subjects. Posts will not follow any particular order, as this way I can write with an inspiration instead of  mundanely going from verse to verse.

In my first post I would like to discuss the issue of "milk and meat" as it is presented in verses of Exodus 23:19, Exodus 34:26, Deuteronomy 14:21. I'm sure you have heard about this issue. If not you can read this wikipedia article here

First and foremost, I would like to say that it most certainly NOT forbidden to eat meat and milk together, as in Genesis 18:7-8. Abraham was a prophet so he most certainly was aware of the laws of clean foods (kashrut) and three mortals whom he had feed also were messengers of God so they were also aware of what can be eaten and what could not be eaten, and thus if they ate milk and meat together we can come to the conclusion that eating meat and milk is not forbidden. 

However, verses dealing with the issue of meat and milk are still obscure, so I would like to direct your attention to the article called “A Young Goat in Its Mother’s Milk”? Understanding an Ancient Prohibition by  Stefan Schorch, published in Vetus Testamentum Journal, Volume 60, Issue 1, pages 116 – 130. You can read the original here (or here) (or backup copy - here). Here is what he writes:

"The passage אמו בחלב גדי תבשל לא should be understood as “you shall not cook (for eating purposes) a sucking kid”. This is not only the meaning of the passage in the Covenant Code (Exod 23:19) and in the so-called “Privilegrecht” (Exod 34:26), but it was the way as well in which this passage was understood by the authors of Deuteronomy (Deut 14:21). Amos 6:4 seems to contain an early reference to the prohibition of the sucking kid."
I do not agree completely with this statement or this article, because it is not very coherent and the logic is not very sound. However, this article is the best that I've seen so far that discusses the issue more or less without a bias, as well as the comprehensiveness of this article.

After taking this article in the consideration, and after checking my Normalized Interlinear Pentateuch, I can safely say that Exodus 23:19 (also see it my NIP), Exodus 34:26 (also see it my NIP), Deuteronomy 14:21  (also see it my NIP) are pretty much identical between MT and SP and there are no surviving DSS fragments for any of these verses. Except of'course Exodus 23:19, where in SP it adds "כי עשה זאת כזבח שכח ועברה היא לאלהי יעקב" which roughly translates "that one doing this as sacrifice forgets and enrages God of Jacob".

So, my opinion on the matter is that the prohibition must refer to what is described in Exodus 22:29-30. In other words, it is not acceptable to bring the kid boiled in its mother's milk as a firstborn sacrifice (or any sacrifice for that matter), until the kid reaches at least 8 days of age.

I think this is as close as I can come to understand these passages at the moment.


  1. Isn't the word ' gedi ' in Hebrew a goat?
    One shouldn't cook a goat in its mother's milk

  2. See here

  3. No, in these verses the word gedi is used without izim (goats) so it means that the word gedi perhaps refers to age of the animal, not its species.

    The link that you have provided is one of the explanations, which is old and not correct.

  4. "In other words, it is not acceptable to bring the kid boiled in its mother's milk as a firstborn sacrifice (or any sacrifice for that matter), until the kid reaches at least 8 days of age."

    Seems to me that once the kid is at least 8 days old, it is still not acceptable to 'seethe' it. There is something about that specific cooking action that seems to be prohibited. Comment?

    I read the post and the whole (fascinating) article and your related references. The only thing clear to me now is that eating milk with meat (the rabbinical prohibition) is NOT what the verse refers to. It certainly is complex.

  5. I guess I should've added that it is not acceptable to "seethe" the kid less than 8 days and more than 8 days, as this is what is required for the firstborn sacrifice Exodus 22:29-30. Same goes for the sin offering.

  6. Ok, with all that being said. Based on the chronological order of the law given; in devrim the passage isn't in reference to sacrifice. The logic behind that is the fact of desecrated dishes only for H". Today, there isn't a large spread of butchers whom practice kashrut therefore, it is logical to not eat meat with dairy. The confusing info is the Chicken, it dose not lactate and that is also a animal prohibit to mix in dairy. Fish is not a mammal but, is approved.

  7. I'm sorry Shisheen, I did not understand what did you mean by "The logic behind that is the fact of desecrated dishes only for H"?

    But what you later say is traditional explanation. my post tries to make the point that the traditional explanation is invalid. These verses indeed talk about sacrifices and not about dietary laws. And just because today the Hebrews are in such disarray, still does not make these verses any more related to the dietary laws.


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