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.

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