Thursday, September 8, 2011

Meat and Milk: Gevurah and Chesed

"You shall not cook a kid in its mother's milk." [Mishpatim 23:19]

Ramban writes that it is prohibited to eat meat cooked in milk, since it is an act of moral insensitivity.  Rashi points out that not only are we forbidden to eat milk and meat together, but even cooking the mixture is forbidden.  This renders the prohibition of milk and meat unique in that even the preparation of the prohibited mixture is also prohibited by the Torah.

From this we can learn how far we must take care to refrain from being morally insensitive.

According to the Kabbalah, milk and meat may not be mixed as this would cause the negative interaction of opposing spiritual forces.  Meat is a physical manifestation of the Divine power of Gevurah (severity), as suggested by the red color of meat.  Milk has its spiritual roots in the Divine power of Chesed (kindness), indicated by its white color. Being that these two powers have an opposite effect, they must not be mixed.

Bachaye writes that in the Messianic Era, it will become permissible to eat meat that was cooked with milk. This is because, in the spiritual realms, the mixing of Chesed and Gevurah is not counterproductive.  Each Divine power works in harmony with the other, since both powers respect the fact that they emanate from the One God.

In the physical world, this harmony does not persevere, since physical things feel their own existence as paramount, and will not coalesce to a higher purpose.  Therefore, the mixing of meat and milk in the physical world is forbidden for it will result in a "corruption" of the spiritual forces that they embody.

However, in the Messianic Era, we are promised that G-d will be felt tangibly within the physical world.  Therefore, it will become possible to mix Chesed and Gevurah - through cooking milk and meat - even in the physical world.

Source: Based on Likutei Sichos of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Gutnick Chumash


Anonymous said...

Some say we'll revert back to vegetarianism, that we are allowed to eat meat now to satisfy our animal soul. When evil is banished from this world by Hashem our animal soul will go with it along with the need to eat meat..

Anonymous said...

This is correct and ultimately this implies that we will all reach a new level of kedusha, the kedusha of Nazirut. This is the secret that Moshiach will reveal to the world. A king cannot rule over a nation until he conquers his own body first (animal soul). Once he succeeds the rule over his animal instinct, he attains a new level of kedusha, the same level of kedusha that was reached by Yakov when he gave a neder to Hashem in time of trouble fleeing Eisav. May we reach that level soon, amen

Joe said...

Could not be more in agreement with the Torah giants and the Halachah of this mishpat.

However, there is an observation that I like to propose to you for your consideration.

"From this we can learn how far we must take care to refrain from being morally insensitive."

The Sages teach that not one word or incident of Torah is superfluous or without reason and its placement is not happenstance.

The first two times we see this mishpat is in Sefer Shemot, in chapter 23 v 19 and chapter 34 v 26.
Whilst it also occurs in Devarim chapter 14 v 21 where it is placed with other mishpatim relating to kashrut, its positioning in Sefer Shemot is extremely peculiar and challenging.

In these two chapters the mishpat is recorded in both cases with the mitzvot of Shlosha Regalim and Shabbat.
Don't you think it is odd that the Torah states the prime importance of keeping of Pesach, Shavuot, Succot, Shabbat .........and "do not boil a kid in its mother's milk."
So why here in amongst some of the most profound mitzvot of Torah ?
Is there a message ?
I believe so.

When one thinks of a baby kid the initial thought that enters the mind is "innocence."
If there is a kid then there must be a mother goat, and if so there must be a flock, and if there is a flock there must be a shepherd.
The Sages often refer to Torah as milk...... pure, unadulterated and nourishing.

Now if HaShem is the shepherd, Am Yisrael is the flock, the Torah is the mother's milk, then the innocent kids are those that depend on the nourishment of Torah..... pure and unadulterated in order to grow to full maturity as members of Am Yisrael.

So the very nourishment that is meant to bring life, and abundant life at that, must never be used to seethe the innocent through boiling condemnation. Torah is life and life is Torah.

Even when reading this mishpat in Devarim chapter 14 v 21 you will see that Am Israel was not allowed to eat anything that died of itself.

This I believe is the true message from refraining from being morally insensitive.

Just a thought.

Anonymous said...

Joe says:




May I quote you? (b'shem Omro?)