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Thought for the Day: What You Can't Do WIth What Kind of Meat and What Kind of Milk

My granddaughter (three years old and very verbal) got a fish a couple of weeks ago.  If you can get away with it, they are a great way to "give in" to children who want a pet; apparently her parents got away with it.  Fish are neither cute nor cuddly; they are basically animated plants.  You might not think so, but that's actually a big advantage.  The day after she got the fish, it died.  Avigayil, however, was excited that her fish was so talented: "Look, Mommy; he is swimming upside down!"  Mommy and Tatty smiled and then switched in a new fish.  Avigayil is naive, but not stupid, after all.

The Torah tells us three times, "lo s'vashel g'di b'chaleiv imo" - Thou shalt not seethe a kid in its mother's milk.  (Want references?  Don't be so lazy, just do what I would do; google it.  Sheesh.)  Why three times?  Everyone knows that!  Once to forbid eating, once to forbid cooking, and once to forbid getting benefit.  However, Chazal actually have another drash on the three times; this time as exclusions.  That is, the Torah is telling us that the issur cooking/eating/benefiting from mixtures of milk and meat does not apply to:
  1. non-domesticated animals; deer and the like
  2. tamei (ie, non-kosher species) of animals; pigs and the like
  3. birds; chickens and the like
Not that bothered me for a long time for two reasons.  First, how do you get six drashos from three occurrences?  Second, how did birds get on that list?  That list should be animals to which I would have thought the issur applies.  I would have thought animals that give milk, but that doesn't include birds.  If, on they other hand, I would have thought any non-plant living thing, then fish should be on the list also.

After searching and searching, I found an answer to my first question in the Sifsei Chachamim.  ("Searching and searching"... Allen, the Sifsei Chachamim is printed right there next to Rashi!  Sheesh... talk about lazy!)  [Please ignore that parenthetical remark; it's just my alter ego trying to keep my honest.]  Anyway, and I think with a little squinting it helps with my second question also.

The Sifsei Chachamim says that the drash regarding which species of animals to exclude is going on the Torah's use of the word "g'di" (kid) in each instance.  The Torah could have just said "don't cook an animal in milk"; using the word g'di is to add the additional drash.

How does that help with my second question?  Rashi explains the word g'di to mean any soft cuddly offspring ("valad rach").  It's a bit of a chidush, but I would like to propose that besides calves and lambs (which Rashi specifically mentions as examples), baby chicks are also soft and cuddly.  Fish (as proven by my granddaughter) are not cute and cuddly at all.  What about the whole milk issue?  I have an idea about that, but it needs more research.  Not like my cute and cuddly baby chicks theory, for which I have ample evidence.

In case you are worried that Avigayil is soon going to notice that "swimming upside down" is a lot like "dead"; apparently she herself has already thought of that.  Avigayil has acquired for herself  a pet rock.  Not the brilliantly marketed pet rocks of several year ago, this was a stray that she picked up and named "peto" (pronounced "pet'-oh").  The kid is nothing if not practical and resilient.


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