Tuesday, June 27, 2017

That pesky verse about “not boiling a kid in its mother’s milk”….

Remember that verse about not boiling a kid in its mother’s milk (Exodus 23:19)? Because of this verse, Jewish halacha literally forbids the mixture of milk and meat, and consequently many refuse to eat cheeseburgers. I’ve seen many arguments about the “real meaning” of this verse, but last night while doing my yeshiva studies through Rabbi Brian Tice’s Messianic Jewish Rabbinate, I finally found a GREAT explanation of this verse. It is contained in Avigdor Bonchek’s book, Studying the Torah: A Guide to in-Depth Interpretation. Bonchek explains it like this:
The first of the first fruits of thy ground thou shalt bring to the house of the Lord thy God; Thou shalt not seethe a kid in its mother’s milk” (Exodus 23:19).
This injuction forbidding seething a kid in its mother’s milk is the biblical basis for the laws of Kashruth requiring the separation of meat and milk. See how the following Plain Sense interpretation, based on the Contiguity Principle, completely divests this clause of that familiar meaning. At first glance, we have here two unrelated clauses within the same sentence.
Not so, according to the early commentator Joseph Bekhor Shor. He points out that the word Bashail, regularly translated here as “seethe,” really means “to become ripe or mature.” The phrase then means “Thou shalt not allow a kid to become mature with its mother’s milk,” that is, you should not allow the kid to mature, rather bring it as a sacrifice in the Temple. In this way, both clauses of the sentence are related: Bring your first fruits as an offering and likewise bring your first—young—animals as offerings to God.

1 comment:

  1. wow, never heard that before but it makes sense!

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