Thursday, February 7, 2013

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

5 comments:

  1. Find it hard for any observant Jew to even fathom such an idea as meat with milk. Most likely, in the Messianic era, people will not even be eating meat (that would be preferable) to such an obnoxious combination as meat & milk together. We pray for the coming of Moshiach and that we may actually know all truths in the world of truth that will be.

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  2. Not all meat is red meat. What then?

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  3. To Anonymous #2: Doesn't make a difference. Kosher considers both red meat (cattle) and fowls the same - waiting 3 to 6 hours to eat dairy. The thought of eating such a combination (meat & milk together) is revolting to those who observe.

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  4. Strange how so many others (non-Jews I mean) may find a real taste for things like buttered chicken. And yet these are supposed to be such opposites in 'energies'. Strange how numb we can be to things like this. And yet humanity can be very numb to a lot of 'unG-dly' things.

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  5. I've been an Orthodox Jew since birth and though I've never done it and never will, I've always been very tempted to eat a cheeseburger. Mmmmmm.
    I don't keep the meat-milk laws because I think it's revolting to eat the two together, I keep them because G-d commanded it.
    Isn't that supposed to be the reason, people?

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