By : Isidore Singer Julius H.
Greenstone Cyrus Adler
—In Rabbinical Literature:
Milk and Meat.
common article of food among the
is praised in the Bible as a "land
flowing with milk and honey"
(Ex. iii. 8 et al.), milk representing
the common necessities of life,
and honey referring to luxuries.
In Isa. lv. 1, milk is coupled
with wine to denote a similar
idea (comp. Ezek. xxv. 4). The
Israelites used the milk of goats
(Deut. xxxii. 14)and the milk
of sheep (Prov. xxvii. 27). Cows'
milk is rarely mentioned (comp.
Deut. l.c.), probably because
of its scarcity owing to the unsuitability
of the mountainous country of
Palestine for pasturing large
cattle. Milk was received in buckets
(Job xxi. 24) and kept in skins
(Judges iv. 19), and was used
as a refreshing drink at meals
(Gen. xviii. 8).
Milk was supposed to give
whiteness to the teeth (ib.
xlix. 12), and was employed as a
simile for the whiteness of the
human body (Lam. iv. 7; comp.
Cant. v. 12). Deborah refers to
milk ("hem'ah" in parallelism to
as "a cup of the nobles"(Judges
v. 25); and in several other texts
it is spoken of as one of the
most delicious beverages (comp.
Cant. iv. 11, v. 1). Ben Sira
counts milk among "the principal
things for the whole use of man's
life" (Ecclus. [Sirach]
xxxix. 26). The abundance which
the Israelites will enjoy in
Messianic times is pictured in
the figure that the hills of
Palestine will flow with milk
(Joel iv. [A. V. iii.] 18; comp.
Isa. vii. 22). Cream or butter
is also used as a figure denoting
abundance (Isa. l.c.; Job xx.
17), and is frequently mentioned
with milk (Gen. xviii. 8; Deut.
xxxii. 14; Judges v. 25; Prov.
xxx. 33; et al.). See
regarded as a pleasant beverage
(Ket. 111a; "Agadat Shir
ha-Shirim," ed. Schechter, p.
187, note, Cambridge, 1896),
milk was probably used more by
the poorer classes of the
community than by the rich (hul. 84a; Yalk.,
Prov. 961). It was especially
used as food for infants (Seder Eliyahu Zuta, ed. Friedmann, p.
195, Vienna, 1903; comp. Heb.
v. 12; I Cor. iii. 2; I Peter
ii. 2). A mixture of milk and
honey was regarded as a delicious
drink (Cant. R. iv. 22). One is
counseled against drinking beer
or wine after milk (M. K. 11a).
In a figurative sense milk was
used to denote whiteness and purity
(Gen. R. xcviii. 15; Cant. R.
v. 10). One who wishes his daughter
to be fair should feed her in
her youth on young birds and on
milk (Ket. 59b). Milk is one of
the five things (three, in Yalk.,
Isa. 480) to which the Torah was
compared (Deut. R. vii. 3; comp.
Kimhi's commentary on Isa. lv.
1). On this account some maintain
that the custom arose of eating
food prepared with milk on the
festival of Shavu'ot ("Kol
Bo," 52; comp. Shulhan 'Aruk,
Orah hayyim, 494, 3, Isserles'
Shavu'ot). He who devotes
himself to the study of the Law
will be greeted in the future
world with sixty cups of milk,
besides many other delicious beverages
("Agadat Shir ha-Shirim,"
p. 84, note).
The permission to drink milk was
regarded by the Rabbis as an
exception ("hiddush"), since it
was held that the milk of mammals
is derived from decomposed blood
(Nid. 9a), and is furthermore
something separated from a living
animal and therefore to be included
in the general prohibition against
eating anything that comes from
the living ("dabar min ha-hai";
Bek. 6b). The milk of an unclean
animal is forbidden in
accordance with the general
rule, "that which comes from the
unclean is unclean; from the
clean, clean" (ib. 5b; comp.
Gen. xxxii. 16). It is forbidden
also to use the milk of an
animal suffering from a visible
malady which causes the animal
to be ritually unfit for food ("terefah"),
or that of an animal found,
after the ritual slaughtering,
to have suffered from such a
disease as late as three days
before its death (hul. 112b; comp. ib. 11a,
Tos., s.v. "Atya"; Maimonides,
"Yad," Ma'akalot Asurot,
iii. 16; Shulhan 'Aruk, Yoreh
bought from a non-Jew is forbidden,
the apprehension being that the
non-Jew in his carelessness or
from a desire to improve it may
have mixed with it some forbidden
ingredient. If, however, a Jew
has been present at the milking,
the milk may be used. Different
customs prevail with regard to
the use of butter bought from
a non-Jew; and even with regard
to milk and cheese later authorities
are more lenient ('Ab. Zarah 29b,
35b; "Yad," l.c. iii.
12-17; Yoreh De'ah, 115; see
Cheese). The process of curdling
milk was effected in Talmudic
times either by rennet ("kebah,"
'Ab. Zarah, l.c.) or by the juice
of leaves or roots ('Orlah i.
is one of the three beverages
which, if left uncovered overnight,
should not be used, because it
is possible that a serpent may
have left its venom therein. In
places where serpents are not
found, this apprehension does
not exist (Ter. viii. 4, 5; Yalk.,
Judges, 45; "Yad,"
xi. 7; Yoreh De'ah, 116, 1; comp.
"Pit?e Teshubah," ad
loc.). Milk is also one of the
seven beverages that make articles
of food liable to receive impurity
(Maksh. vi. 4; See Purity).
Rabbis did not hesitate to admit
their inability to assign a reason
for the prohibition against eating
meat with milk ("basar be-halab"),
and they accordingly labeled it
as "hiddush," an exception,
a unique law (Pes. 44b; hul. 108a;
Rashi and Tos. ad loc.).
Maimonides says in this connection:
"Meat boiled with milk is
undoubtedly gross food, and makes
overfull. But I think that it
was probably prohibited because
it was somehow connected with
idolatry, forming perhaps part
of the services at a heathen festival."
This latter theory he supports
by the fact that in Exodus the
prohibition against seething a
kid in its mother's milk is mentioned
twice in connection with the festivals
("Moreh," iii. 48).
Basing their opinions on an
ancient tradition, the Rabbis
explained the thrice-repeated
prohibition against seething the
kid in its mother's milk (Ex.
xxiii. 19, xxxiv. 26; Deut. xiv.
21) as referring to three
against cooking meat and milk
together; (2) against eating
such a mixture; and (3) against
(deriving any benefit from such
a mixture (hul. 115b;
comp. there the various attempts
made to find Biblical support
for the prohibition against eating
meat with milk). It is curious
to note in this connection that
On?elos, a most literal
translator, renders the passages
in all the three places by "ye
shall not eat meat with milk" (
; comp. LXX. to Ex. xxxiv. 26).
The expression "kid" was
accepted to be a generic term
including all mammals and,
according to some, even birds (hul. 113a).
The prevalent opinion, however,
is that the prohibition against
eating poultry with milk is of
rabbinic origin merely (Maimonides,
"Yad," Ma'akalot Asurot,
ix. 4; Shulhan 'Aruk, Yoreh De'ah,
87, 3). Fish and locusts as well
as eggs are excluded from the
prohibition (hul. 103b, 104a;
The prohibition against eating
meat with milk was extensively
elaborated by the Rabbis, who
provided for every possible
occurrence. Not only was the
eating of meat with milk
forbidden, but also the eating
of meat that had a taste of
milk, or vice versa; for "the
taste of forbidden food is
forbidden as the food itself" ;
98b, 108a; Pes. 44b; 'Ab. Zarah
67b; et al.). If a piece of meat
that had become forbidden as food
becauseit had absorbed milk to
an extent which made the taste
of the latter appreciable in it
was cooked with other meat in
a pot, all that the pot contained
was forbidden, unless the contents
were sixty times as great as the
prohibited piece. It was not sufficient
that there should be in the pot
sixty times as much meat as the
quantity of milk absorbed in the
piece of meat; for with regard
to meat and milk the principle
was that the forbidden piece became
in itself a "carcass,"
i.e., a forbidden object; and
when it could not be recognized,
it was necessary that the taste
of it should be annihilated (;
Yoreh De'ah, 92, 4; comp. Isserles'
gloss, where the principle is
extended to all kinds of forbidden
pot in which meat has been cooked
should not be used for cooking
milk, and vice versa. If such
a pot be so used within twenty-four
hours after it has been used with
milk or meat respectively, everything
that is in it becomes ritually
unfit, unless the contents of
the pot are sixty times as much
as the pot itself. If the second
cooking takes place twenty-four
hours or more after the first,
the contents of the pot are permitted
for use; for the food which the
pot has absorbed in the first
cooking has by that time lost
its agreeable taste, and the general
rule is that any vessel which
communicates an offensive taste
() does not render food ritually
unfit for use. The pot itself,
however, should not be used either
with meat or with milk (Yoreh
De'ah, 93, 1; comp. Shak ad loc.).
prepared with milk and food in
which meat is an ingredient should
not be eaten at the same meal.
The general custom is to wait
six hours between a meal at which
meat has been eaten and one at
which food prepared with milk
is to be eaten, although custom
varies in this particular, some
persons waiting one hour only.
There is no need to wait at all
after eating food prepared with
milk; it is necessary only to
see that there is none of the
food left on the hands, and also
to wash the mouth before partaking
of meat. It is forbidden to place
meat upon the table at the same
time with food prepared with milk,
lest by mistake both be eaten
together. In the households of
observing Jews not only are there
two separate sets of dishes and
of kitchen utensils, but different
table-cloths are used for meals
consisting of food prepared with
milk and those at which meat is
eaten (Yoreh De'ah, 88, 89). As
bread is eaten with meat it is
not permitted to prepare it with
milk unless the form and size
of the loaf or cake are different
from those of ordinary bread (ib.