The Prohibition against Mixing Milk and Meat
Moshe said to Hashem, " I am amazed! You instructed me to write in the Torah, 'Do not cook a kid in its mother's milk.' Yet orally you explained to me that is also prohibited to eat the two together! Give me permission to write in the Torah, 'Do not eat a mixture of meat and milk!'" Hashem answered, "Write as I told you; do not change my words!"
Moshe argued, "Isn't it possible that in the course of their lengthy exile, the Bnai Yisrael might forget the Oral Explanation of the Torah?"
Hashem answered, "I have entered into a covenant with them which guarantees that the Oral Torah shall never be forgotten by their descendants!"
The reason that Hashem did not permit Moshe to incorporate the Oral Explanation into the Written Text of the Torah was that He foresaw that some of the nations would in future times claim that they were Hashem's chosen nation, the true possessors of the Torah. They would, however, never be able to pretend that they knew the entire Torah, for the Oral law would elude them. Since it had been handed down by word of mouth from the time of Moshe, from one generation to the next, but was not committed to writing, it remained the sole possession of K'lal Yisrael.
Although Bnai Yisrael did not understand the precept of not mixing milk and meat (which is a chok), they all accepted it in perfect faith without asking any questions. Hashem chose to give His commandments to the Generation of the Wilderness because they were the most righteous of generations.
Mitzvahs for food:
Laws of Forbidden Foods
176 To examine the signs of animals to distinguish between kosher and non-kosher Lev. 11:2
177 To examine the signs of fowl to distinguish between kosher
and non-kosher Deut. 14:11
178 To examine the signs of fish to distinguish between kosher and non-kosher Lev. 11:9
179 To examine the signs of locusts to distinguish between kosher and non-kosher Lev. 11:21
180 Not to eat non-kosher animals Lev. 11:4
181 Not to eat non-kosher fowl Lev. 11:13
182 Not to eat non-kosher fish Lev. 11:11
183 Not to eat non-kosher flying insects Deut. 14:19
184 Not to eat non-kosher creatures that crawl on land Lev. 11:41
185 Not to eat non-kosher maggots Lev. 11:44
186 Not to eat worms found in fruit on the ground Lev. 11:42
187 Not to eat creatures that live in water other than fish Lev. 11:43
188 Not to eat the meat of an animal that died without ritual slaughter Deut. 14:21
189 Not to benefit from an ox condemned to be stoned Ex. 21:28
190 Not to eat meat of an animal that was mortally wounded Ex. 22:30
191 Not to eat a limb torn off a living creature Deut 12:23
192 Not to eat blood Lev. 3:17
193 Not to eat certain fats of clean animals Lev. 3:17
194 Not to eat the sinew of the thigh Gen. 32:33
195 Not to eat meat and milk cooked together Ex. 23:19
196 Not to cook meat and milk together Ex. 34:26
197 Not to eat bread from new grain before the Omer Lev. 23:14
198 Not to eat parched grains from new grain before the Omer Lev. 23:14
199 Not to eat ripened grains from new grain before the Omer Lev. 23:14
200 Not to eat fruit of a tree during its first three years Lev. 19:23
201 Not to eat diverse seeds planted in a vineyard Deut. 22:9
202 Not to eat untithed fruits Lev. 22:15
203 Not to drink wine poured in service to idols Deut. 32:38
15 Nevertheless, you may slaughter your animals in any of your towns and eat as much of the meat as you want, as if it were gazelle or deer, according to the blessing the LORD your God gives you. Both the ceremonially unclean and the clean may eat it. 16 But you must not eat the blood; pour it out on the ground like water. 17 You must not eat in your own towns the tithe of your grain and new wine and oil, or the firstborn of your herds and flocks, or whatever you have vowed to give, or your freewill offerings or special gifts. 18 Instead, you are to eat them in the presence of the LORD your God at the place the LORD your God will choose—you, your sons and daughters, your menservants and maidservants, and the Levites from your towns—and you are to rejoice before the LORD your God in everything you put your hand to. 19 Be careful not to neglect the Levites as long as you live in your land. 20 When the LORD your God has enlarged your territory as he promised you, and you crave meat and say, "I would like some meat," then you may eat as much of it as you want. 21 If the place where the LORD your God chooses to put his Name is too far away from you, you may slaughter animals from the herds and flocks the LORD has given you, as I have commanded you, and in your own towns you may eat as much of them as you want. 22 Eat them as you would gazelle or deer. Both the ceremonially unclean and the clean may eat. 23 But be sure you do not eat the blood, because the blood is the life, and you must not eat the life with the meat. 24 You must not eat the blood; pour it out on the ground like water. 25 Do not eat it, so that it may go well with you and your children after you, because you will be doing what is right in the eyes of the LORD.
Clean and Unclean Food
3 Do not eat any detestable thing. 4 These are the animals you may eat: the ox, the sheep, the goat, 5 the deer, the gazelle, the roe deer, the wild goat, the ibex, the antelope and the mountain sheep. [a] 6 You may eat any animal that has a split hoof divided in two and that chews the cud. 7 However, of those that chew the cud or that have a split hoof completely divided you may not eat the camel, the rabbit or the coney. [b] Although they chew the cud, they do not have a split hoof; they are ceremonially unclean for you. 8 The pig is also unclean; although it has a split hoof, it does not chew the cud. You are not to eat their meat or touch their carcasses.
One of the requirements for animals to be considered kosher is having cloven hooves such as goats (upper left), pigs (lower left) and cattle (lower right). In spite of their cloven hooves, pigs remain non-kosher because they lack the other kosher sign, cud-chewing. Horse hooves (upper right) are entirely uncloven, and therefore non-kosher.
9 Of all the creatures living in the water, you may eat any that has fins and scales. 10 But anything that does not have fins and scales you may not eat; for you it is unclean.
11 You may eat any clean bird. 12 But these you may not eat: the eagle, the vulture, the black vulture, 13 the red kite, the black kite, any kind of falcon, 14 any kind of raven, 15 the horned owl, the screech owl, the gull, any kind of hawk, 16 the little owl, the great owl, the white owl, 17 the desert owl, the osprey, the cormorant, 18 the stork, any kind of heron, the hoopoe and the bat. 19 All flying insects that swarm are unclean to you; do not eat them. 20 But any winged creature that is clean you may eat. 21 Do not eat anything you find already dead. You may give it to an alien living in any of your towns, and he may eat it, or you may sell it to a foreigner. But you are a people holy to the LORD your God. Do not cook a young goat in its mother's milk.
Eating Fat and Blood Forbidden
22 The LORD said to Moses, 23 "Say to the Israelites: 'Do not eat any of the fat of cattle, sheep or goats. 24 The fat of an animal found dead or torn by wild animals may be used for any other purpose, but you must not eat it. 25 Anyone who eats the fat of an animal from which an offering by fire may be [b] made to the LORD must be cut off from his people. 26 And wherever you live, you must not eat the blood of any bird or animal. 27 If anyone eats blood, that person must be cut off from his people.' "
Clean and Unclean Food
1 The LORD said to Moses and Aaron, 2 "Say to the Israelites: 'Of all the animals that live on land, these are the ones you may eat: 3 You may eat any animal that has a split hoof completely divided and that chews the cud.
4 " 'There are some that only chew the cud or only have a split hoof, but you must not eat them. The camel, though it chews the cud, does not have a split hoof; it is ceremonially unclean for you. 5 The coney, [a] though it chews the cud, does not have a split hoof; it is unclean for you. 6 The rabbit, though it chews the cud, does not have a split hoof; it is unclean for you. 7 And the pig, though it has a split hoof completely divided, does not chew the cud; it is unclean for you. 8 You must not eat their meat or touch their carcasses; they are unclean for you.
9 " 'Of all the creatures living in the water of the seas and the streams, you may eat any that have fins and scales. 10 But all creatures in the seas or streams that do not have fins and scales—whether among all the swarming things or among all the other living creatures in the water—you are to detest. 11 And since you are to detest them, you must not eat their meat and you must detest their carcasses. 12 Anything living in the water that does not have fins and scales is to be detestable to you.
13 " 'These are the birds you are to detest and not eat because they are detestable: the eagle, the vulture, the black vulture, 14 the red kite, any kind of black kite, 15 any kind of raven, 16 the horned owl, the screech owl, the gull, any kind of hawk, 17 the little owl, the cormorant, the great owl, 18 the white owl, the desert owl, the osprey, 19 the stork, any kind of heron, the hoopoe and the bat. [b]
20 " 'All flying insects that walk on all fours are to be detestable to you. 21 There are, however, some winged creatures that walk on all fours that you may eat: those that have jointed legs for hopping on the ground. 22 Of these you may eat any kind of locust, katydid, cricket or grasshopper. 23 But all other winged creatures that have four legs you are to detest.
24 " 'You will make yourselves unclean by these; whoever touches their carcasses will be unclean till evening. 25 Whoever picks up one of their carcasses must wash his clothes, and he will be unclean till evening.
26 " 'Every animal that has a split hoof not completely divided or that does not chew the cud is unclean for you; whoever touches the carcass of any of them will be unclean. 27 Of all the animals that walk on all fours, those that walk on their paws are unclean for you; whoever touches their carcasses will be unclean till evening. 28 Anyone who picks up their carcasses must wash his clothes, and he will be unclean till evening. They are unclean for you.
29 " 'Of the animals that move about on the ground, these are unclean for you: the weasel, the rat, any kind of great lizard, 30 the gecko, the monitor lizard, the wall lizard, the skink and the chameleon. 31 Of all those that move along the ground, these are unclean for you. Whoever touches them when they are dead will be unclean till evening. 32 When one of them dies and falls on something, that article, whatever its use, will be unclean, whether it is made of wood, cloth, hide or sackcloth. Put it in water; it will be unclean till evening, and then it will be clean. 33 If one of them falls into a clay pot, everything in it will be unclean, and you must break the pot. 34 Any food that could be eaten but has water on it from such a pot is unclean, and any liquid that could be drunk from it is unclean. 35 Anything that one of their carcasses falls on becomes unclean; an oven or cooking pot must be broken up. They are unclean, and you are to regard them as unclean. 36 A spring, however, or a cistern for collecting water remains clean, but anyone who touches one of these carcasses is unclean. 37 If a carcass falls on any seeds that are to be planted, they remain clean. 38 But if water has been put on the seed and a carcass falls on it, it is unclean for you.
39 " 'If an animal that you are allowed to eat dies, anyone who touches the carcass will be unclean till evening. 40 Anyone who eats some of the carcass must wash his clothes, and he will be unclean till evening. Anyone who picks up the carcass must wash his clothes, and he will be unclean till evening.
41 " 'Every creature that moves about on the ground is detestable; it is not to be eaten. 42 You are not to eat any creature that moves about on the ground, whether it moves on its belly or walks on all fours or on many feet; it is detestable. 43 Do not defile yourselves by any of these creatures. Do not make yourselves unclean by means of them or be made unclean by them. 44 I am the LORD your God; consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy. Do not make yourselves unclean by any creature that moves about on the ground. 45 I am the LORD who brought you up out of Egypt to be your God; therefore be holy, because I am holy.
46 " 'These are the regulations concerning animals, birds, every living thing that moves in the water and every creature that moves about on the ground. 47 You must distinguish between the unclean and the clean, between living creatures that may be eaten and those that may not be eaten.' "
Eating Blood Forbidden
10 " 'Any Israelite or any alien living among them who eats any blood—I will set my face against that person who eats blood and will cut him off from his people. 11 For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one's life. 12 Therefore I say to the Israelites, "None of you may eat blood, nor may an alien living among you eat blood."
13 " 'Any Israelite or any alien living among you who hunts any animal or bird that may be eaten must drain out the blood and cover it with earth, 14 because the life of every creature is its blood. That is why I have said to the Israelites, "You must not eat the blood of any creature, because the life of every creature is its blood; anyone who eats it must be cut off."
Meat, Dairy and Pareve
Kosher foods are divided into three categories: meat, dairy and pareve. One of the basic principles of kashrut is the total separation of meat and dairy products. Meat and dairy may not be cooked or eaten together. To ensure this, the kosher kitchen contains separate sets of dishes, utensils, cookware, and separate preparation areas for meat and dairy. A third category, pareve, is comprised of foods which are neither meat nor dairy and may therefore be eaten with either.
Following is a detailed description of meat, dairy, and pareve foods, and practical guidelines for cooking and serving the foods within each category according to kashrut specifications.
The category of meat includes meat, fowl and their byproducts, such as bones, soup or gravy. Any food made with meat or fowl, or with meat or fowl products, is considered "meaty;" also called fleishig (Yiddish). Even a small amount of meat in a food can cause it to be fleishig. All meat, fowl and meat parts in any product, including items such as liver pills, must come from a kosher animal that was slaughtered, examined, and its blood drained off according to the dietary laws to be considered kosher.
All foods derived from or containing milk are considered dairy, or milchig (Yiddish). This includes milk, butter, yogurt and all cheese -- hard, soft and cream. Even a small amount of dairy in a food can cause the food to be considered dairy. All dairy products require kosher certification. They must meet the following criteria in order to be certified kosher:
* They must come from a kosher animal.
* All ingredients must be kosher and free of meat derivatives. Non-kosher dairy products are often made with ingredients of animal origin. For example, hard cheese is made with rennet, yogurt sometimes contains gelatin, and butter may contain non-kosher additives.
* They must be processed on kosher equipment.
Many kinds of "non-dairy" creamers, candy, cereal and margarine do contain milk derivatives, as do some low-calorie sweeteners. Dairy ingredients whose names appear on many product labels include caseinate, lactose and whey.
Foods that are neither meat nor dairy are called pareve. This means that they contain no meat or dairy derivatives, and have not been cooked or mixed with any meat or dairy foods.
Eggs, fish, fruit, vegetables, grains, and juices in their natural, unprocessed state are common pareve foods. Other pareve foods include pasta, soft drinks, coffee and tea, and many types of candy and snacks. Products that have been processed in any way should be bought only if they bear reliable kosher certification.
Although pareve foods present fewer kashrut complexities than either meat or dairy foods, certain points must be kept in mind:
* Pareve foods may lose their pareve status if processed on dairy equipment or when additives are used. The label may give no indication of this processing. Chocolate, cookies and other snacks should not be used with meat or meaty foods unless they are certified pareve.
* Certain fruits, vegetables and grains must be checked for the presence of small insects and larvae
* Eggs must be checked for the presence of blood spots
Separating Meat and Dairy
Meat and dairy foods may not be cooked together or eaten together. One may not even derive benefit from a combination of meat and dairy foods; for example, selling such a combined product or feeding it to a pet.
To ensure this total separation, the kosher kitchen requires the use of separate utensils, accessories and appliances for meat and dairy. It is useful to have some separate pareve utensils as well.