“Do not cook a young goat in its mother’s milk.”
Today we’re going to take a look at Exodus 23:19, which is that singular verse behind why Jews do NOT mix dairy products and kosher meat while dining.
Before getting into the thick of my discussion, a quick word of explanation to clear up a bit of confusion that seems to have arisen concerning how the articles on this site are organized.
Notice the “E23-7” that precedes the title?
This does NOT mean verse 7 of Exodus chapter 23.
It means the 7th article I’ve wrote dealing with the content in Exodus 23.
That’s all it means, it is NOT referring to the verse.
This is just how I’ve decided to index the posts so I can tell at a glance which chapter of which book I’m on and how many articles I’ve written for each chapter.
You’ll know which verse I’m expounding on because I’ll post it at the top of the article like I’ve done with this post and many of the others.
Alright, so today we’re looking at the last half of Exodus 23:19 about not boiling a young goat in its mother’s milk.
The truth is the sages have been arguing about the meaning and practical implications of this verse for centuries.
Here is just a tiny sampling of the possible reasons given by commentators:
-Because it was an idolatrous Canaanite practice
-Because it was some kind of voodoo occult practice used to make the land more fertile
-Because it was cruel to boil a baby goat in the very milk which sustained it
-Because the digestion of milk and meat together are just not compatible
-Because it shows outright contempt for the parent-child relationship
-Because it would symbolically profane the Feast of Ingathering (SUCCOTH)
-Because a strict distinction is to be made between blood and milk (remember the Torah strictly prohibits eating blood)
In order to expand on this prohibition prohibiting mixing meat and milk, some rabbis will quote Leviticus 23:27: “When an ox, or a sheep or a goat is born it shall stay seven days with its mother.”
After going through a variety of commentaries and research essays on this topic, I’ve come to the conclusion that we simply cannot know the exact reason why God prohibited this.
Nevertheless, it is this very verse that would become the basis of rabbinic dietary regulations for the absolute separation of meat and dairy foods.
The degree of obedience to this command depended on the strictness of certain Jewish sects.
Some require that one has to wash and purify utensils that touched meat before those same utensils can touch dairy products.
Some utilize completely separate sets of utensils for dairy and meat.
In some kosher kitchens, completely separate refrigerators are used!
Well, for our purposes, let’s cut to the chase and answer the $64,000 question that I know is on everybody’s minds.
In light of this prohibition, can we enjoy cheeseburgers or not?
Can I drown my 100% beef meat sauce spaghetti in parmesan cheese (in my case, the whole bottle) or not?
Well, I’m going to share my opinion, and please keep in mind that this IS JUST MY OPINION.
I am well aware that many are going to disagree and I’m totally kosher (pun intended) with that.
Okay, so here goes.
In light of Scripture, I don’t have a problem with eating cheeseburgers or drowning my meat sauce pasta in parmesan cheese.
And the reason why?
I believe, just as Yeshua did, that it is important to make a distinction between Scripture and tradition.
There is no way you’re going to catch me eating pork, shellfish, or any of the other creatures the Torah clearly forbids as unfit for consumption by God’s people (and when I say God’s people, I’m talking about the native-born Hebrew AND the grafted in gentile).
But, I’m not obligated to keep all of the Talmudic kosher rules, many of which are not based on Scripture, but on Talmudic rabbis’ opinions.
The reason I don’t have a problem with chomping down a cheeseburger is simply because I do NOT see any prohibition in Scriptures stating that it is an abomination to eat milk and meat together.
The only commandment I see is to not boil a calf in its own mother’s milk.
I don’t believe that fulfilling this practice means never allowing milk and meat to come into contact with each other.
For those, who feel strongly about keeping the Talmudic kosher rules and only eating meat that has been killed in a halachically acceptable way, go for it!
There’s no condemnation or judgement from me.
I would just request that the same respect be extended to me when you see me eating meat and dairy together.
So my conclusion?
A juicy double cheeseburger?
A bacon cheeseburger?
CONNECTING THIS TEACHING TO THE NEW TESTAMENT
do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink,
or with regard to a religious festival,
a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day.