3-5771 Mitzvah N-92

Torat Emet

3-5771 Mitzvah N-92
11/01/10

Negative Mitzvah 92– This is a negative commandment: do not eat meat that was cooked in milk.

Hafetz Hayim – As Scripture says: “You shall not boil a kid in its mother’s milk.” (Exodus. 34:26); For eating an olive’s amount of the both, one should receive whiplashes. He is punishable even if he has no enjoyment in eating it: for example, if it was so unduly hot that it burned his throat when he ate it, or he put something bitter into it with the result that he had no enjoyment whatever in eating it. Nevertheless, he should be given whiplashes. If meat and milk were prepared not by cooking but by steeping (soaking), or they were salted together, it is forbidden to be eaten by the law of the Sages, but benefit from it is permitted. If the meat of an untamed animal or a fowl was cooked with the milk of either a domestic or an untamed animal, the ban on eating it is only by the law of the Sages. It is permissible to cook fish or locusts with milk, and permissible to eat them.
This applies everywhere and always, for both men and women.

There is not much different here than in last week’s lesson. In fact, the only real difference is that the quote is from a different chapter of Exodus. This tells us that there is another law being taught, one that is different enough from last week that it needs to be taught separately.

Here, the difference seems to be in the way the food is cooked. The law applies even if there are good reasons not to eat it. If the food is too hot to be eaten or has been prepared so that it tastes terrible, the fact that it is being eaten still warrants flogging. If the mixture was not “cooked” but mixed in another way, then one is still in violation of the law but not by Torah law, but by the extension of the Sages. Since the law refers to “its mother’s milk”, untamed animals that one cannot milk or poultry that has no milk might be understood to be exempt from the law. The Sages have ruled that these too are prohibited and the mixture must not be eaten. The reason for this prohibition by the Sages is because both of these are “meat like” and if they permitted it, it would be too easy to make an error and think that other meats could also be eaten with milk. This kind of an extension of Torah law is common in rabbinic literature where it is considered a “fence” protecting us from getting too close to violate a Torah law. Fish and locusts clearly are not meat and therefore there is no prohibition of eating these if they are cooked in milk.

I should note here that not all locusts are permitted to be eaten and we are not very sure today which locusts the Torah permits and which it prohibits. For this reason we don’t eat locusts anymore. (I know that will make you feel better!)

The rules of the Sages prohibit eating these kinds of meat with milk but it does not extend to deriving benefit from them. One can sell these food, cooked improperl,y to those who are not bound by Torah Law.

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