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You shall not boil a kid in its mother's ?????

Jayhawker Soule

-- untitled --
Premium Member
The law:

The mixture of meat and dairy (Hebrew: בשר בחלב, romanized: basar bechalav, lit. 'meat in milk') is forbidden according to Jewish law. This dietary law, basic to kashrut, is based on two verses in the Book of Exodus, which forbid "boiling a (goat) kid in its mother's milk"[1] and a third repetition of this prohibition in Deuteronomy.[2] [source]​

First, a couple of Hebrew terms:
  • חָלָב (n-m) heb; halav: milk
  • חֶלֶב (n-m) heb; helev: fat
One website notes:

The commandment not to cook a kid in its mother’s milk appears three times in the biblical text with the exact same wording. It is important to note that the MT reads ḥălēv (milk) and not ḥēlev (fat). If anyone wants to argue that the prohibition is about fat and not milk one has to prove without a doubt that the MT uses the wrong reading (Some Egyptian Karaites who didn’t read Hebrew very well made this mistake in the past). However, Jewish reading traditions, Samaritan, and Greek traditions show it is milk. Hence, the discussion will only be based on this common reading and not the speculation of what may have been (Propp, 2006, 286). [source]​

I know nothing about Egyptian Karaite Hebrew literacy. Still, I'm not convinced that scribal error should be discounted.

Thoughts?
 

Spice

StewardshipPeaceIntergityCommunityEquality
I guess one reason I can't ascribe fully to Judaism is because I'm too weak in conviction to give up cheese-burgers.

I'm curious as to the health and safety issue behind this law. I'm a firm believer that all biblical laws were for the good of humankind, such as the unlawfulness of pork and shellfish -- probably due to the dangers of eating these undercooked.
 

crossfire

LHP Mercuræn Feminist Heretic Bully ☿
Premium Member
LOL, now I'm totally confused. I thought that a French archeologist translated an Ugarit tablet describing a religious rite involving boiling a kid in its mother's milk, but it seems that it has been disputed as to the meaning.
 

crossfire

LHP Mercuræn Feminist Heretic Bully ☿
Premium Member
Do you think it might be related to the prohibition of taking both a mother bird and her eggs or young? (You have to let the mother bird go free.)

(Is a chicken omelet kosher?)
 
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Guitar's Cry

Disciple of Pan
I never realized that was something prohibited in Jewish Law. I once worked in an institutional kitchen where I would be asked "What is veal parmigiana?" and my reply would be: "Baby cow cooked in its mother's milk." (At least, that was my answer until the head cook heard about it.) It always struck me as pretty grim, so it doesn't surprise me that there may be specific prohibitions on it and that prohibition may be interpreted generally and not just for one type of animal.
 

Jayhawker Soule

-- untitled --
Premium Member
How do scholars with deep understanding of the Torah get from that to a blanket decision not to mix milk and meet under any circumstances?
I'm not qualified to speak for "scholars with deep understanding of the Torah," but I suspect that some point to Chumra. You may not be sure what the prohibition means, but if you don't mic meat products and milk products, you can be pretty sure that you're in compliance.
 

Brickjectivity

Veteran Member
Staff member
Premium Member
Thoughts?
I have only this: This is reaching but does a cow make enough milk to boil its own calf in? It would have to be a small calf. Perhaps this could be interpreted as a figure of speech saying not to cook them when they are young with implications about other things. If it is written three times I don't know why, though I was told that anything written three times was very significant. I've no idea why, but perhaps it is about more than cows. By extension if you may not cook a calf you certainly may not kill a human child. This is not how the verse is explained though. It is a dietary restriction not to combine meat with milk.
 

Jayhawker Soule

-- untitled --
Premium Member
FWIW, I was hoping for thoughts on scribal/translation error being the more likely explanation. I would probably have placed this in the Judaism DIR.
 

sun rise

The world is on fire
Premium Member
FWIW, I was hoping for thoughts on scribal/translation error being the more likely explanation. I would probably have placed this in the Judaism DIR.
Translation errors are certainly possible. And given the problems inherent in translation I would consider it a totally possible explanation.
 

Ehav4Ever

Well-Known Member
The law:

The mixture of meat and dairy (Hebrew: בשר בחלב, romanized: basar bechalav, lit. 'meat in milk') is forbidden according to Jewish law. This dietary law, basic to kashrut, is based on two verses in the Book of Exodus, which forbid "boiling a (goat) kid in its mother's milk"[1] and a third repetition of this prohibition in Deuteronomy.[2] [source]​

First, a couple of Hebrew terms:
  • חָלָב (n-m) heb; halav: milk
  • חֶלֶב (n-m) heb; helev: fat
One website notes:

The commandment not to cook a kid in its mother’s milk appears three times in the biblical text with the exact same wording. It is important to note that the MT reads ḥălēv (milk) and not ḥēlev (fat). If anyone wants to argue that the prohibition is about fat and not milk one has to prove without a doubt that the MT uses the wrong reading (Some Egyptian Karaites who didn’t read Hebrew very well made this mistake in the past). However, Jewish reading traditions, Samaritan, and Greek traditions show it is milk. Hence, the discussion will only be based on this common reading and not the speculation of what may have been (Propp, 2006, 286). [source]​

I know nothing about Egyptian Karaite Hebrew literacy. Still, I'm not convinced that scribal error should be discounted.

Thoughts?

There are several issues you run into with a topic like this. Here are a few I can identify.

  1. Who is to say that the word (חלב) means milk or fat at all?
    • i.e. what is the oldest and most reliable source of information about the definitions of Hebrew words and the proper grammetical context of the word and the text?
    • One of the oldest sources is the Targumim and the Talmud is the second. There are no known dictionaries, lexicons, etc. of the Hebrew language prior to these texts.
  2. Same goes for the word (בשר) or literally any word in the text.
  3. How does one determine which statements are cultural idiom? Esepcially when the text does not include a description of the idioms are of the time?
  4. Given that the Samaritan Torah also uses the word Halav in relation to meat, the Samaritans seperate milk and meat 6 hours in each direction, and given the Samaritans reject the Jewish / Talmud and have their own Oral Torah - if one attributes the Jewish text as a scribal era when did it enter the Samaritan text as well?
  5. Lastly, how does one know that the written Torah, in Hebrew, includes all the details that the author intended to actually perform the information included in it?
    • This is esepcially important given that the Torah also dictates a judicial system to answer questions about what the text means and what the actual practice is was to be.
For example, about the Targumim - below is a comparison of the Targum Onkelos Aramaic vs. the Hebrew.

In Aramaic as (חלב) for (חלב) Milk in Hebrew

1712471455230.png


In Aramaic as (תרבא) for (החלב) Fat in Hebrew - The Aramaic word (תרב) which means fat is used in the Targum.

1712471618371.png


1712472844293.png
 
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Ehav4Ever

Well-Known Member
The below is from the Samaritan web-site here in Israel that describes their traditions of keeping Torah. They detail seperating milk and meat by 6 hours in each direction. Again, it must be noted that the Samaritan Torah is not a MT (Masoretic Text). See example below.

1712472034697.png


1712472096514.png
 

Harel13

Am Yisrael Chai
Staff member
Premium Member
It's My Birthday!
Still, I'm not convinced that scribal error should be discounted.
It's more about vowelization traditions than scribal error. Vowel points only appeared on the scene in the Islamic period, so scribal error is only relevant from the time of the Masoretes who created the first vowelized chumashim. Proving a certain pronunciation in Hebrew is difficult (perhaps impossible even), unless, perhaps, you would find an ancient scroll which features the spelling חאלב. And even then there will certainly be people who would say that reflects the reading of only one particular sect.
 

Jayhawker Soule

-- untitled --
Premium Member
It's more about vowelization traditions than scribal error. Vowel points only appeared on the scene in the Islamic period, so scribal error is only relevant from the time of the Masoretes who created the first vowelized chumashim. Proving a certain pronunciation in Hebrew is difficult (perhaps impossible even), unless, perhaps, you would find an ancient scroll which features the spelling חאלב. And even then there will certainly be people who would say that reflects the reading of only one particular sect.
Yes, I know, and I clearly should have used different terms. Be that as it may, great post. Thanks.
 
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Ehav4Ever

Well-Known Member
How do scholars with deep understanding of the Torah get from that to a blanket decision not to mix milk and meet under any circumstances?
It is because the written text of the Torah was proceeded by an oral Torah. This is recorded in the text, where it constantly says that Hashem said / spoke / instructed Mosheh something which was all verbal.

1712492234206.png


The written text came after the events it records to give a summary of the information that was given.

Thus, in order to understand what the following statements mean, as well as how to even pronounce it, there would have had to have been an oral instruction before it was written to explain it.

1712492188207.png


Torah scrolls, historically, have no vowels included so even the pronuciation was an oral Torah that proceeded the creation of vowel symbols.
 
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IndigoChild5559

Loving God and my neighbor as myself.
I'm curious as to the health and safety issue behind this law.
The laws of kashrut have nothing to do with health or safety. For example, there is absolutely nothing unhealthy about eating horse.

While we really don't know the purpose of these laws, there is one possibility that makes most sense to me -- that the laws of kashrut are there to prevent socialization between Jews and non-Jews. Socialization over food would lead to intermarriage, and intermarriage leads to idolatry. Let's say Joe Jew goes to the local pizza parlor and there meets Betty Baptist. They get married, and then the next thing you know, Joe has a Christmas tree in his living room.
 

metis

aged ecumenical anthropologist
The laws of kashrut have nothing to do with health or safety. For example, there is absolutely nothing unhealthy about eating horse.

While we really don't know the purpose of these laws, there is one possibility that makes most sense to me -- that the laws of kashrut are there to prevent socialization between Jews and non-Jews. Socialization over food would lead to intermarriage, and intermarriage leads to idolatry. Let's say Joe Jew goes to the local pizza parlor and there meets Betty Baptist. They get married, and then the next thing you know, Joe has a Christmas tree in his living room.
Some, such as Spinoza, felt that it's being disciplined in life that we all need, thus not all of halacha needs to have alternative purposes.
 
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