Should Cheeseburgers Be Kosher?
A different interpretation of five Hebrew words
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”You may not seethe a kid in its mother’s milk” is one of the Bible’s more puzzling interdictions. This short phrase—only five words in Hebrew (lo’ tebasûsûel gdi bah\aleb ‘immo)—is repeated three times, once in Exodus 23:19, again in Exodus 34:26 and finally in Deuteronomy 14:21.
Since Talmudic times, that is after 200 C.E., these few words have anchored a major component of Jewish dietary laws, laws that forbid the mixing of milk and meat products in food preparation. To this day, that means no cheeseburgers or meat lasagna if you’re kosher. Clearly, Jewish tradition has interpreted the passage distinctively. But has it interpreted accurately its true purpose?

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