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Blood, milk, honey and the right way to sacrifice donkey – Tablet

Written critic Adam Kirsch reads the Talmud page a day with the Jews around the world.

Why do Jews drink milk? I never got here to ask the query solely final week when it was born in the first chapter of Traktate Bekhorot, which Daf Yomi readers started during Easter Day. "Bekhorot" means "from the primaries": By probability, the phrase seems prominently in Haggadass in the record of ten plagues that culminate in makas bekhorot, a plague that killed the firstborn youngsters of the Egyptians. Numbers on paper this plague shall be the cause why the first-born of Jewish mothers, sons and descendants of the first-born of Jewish-owned kosher animal is consecrated to God: "On the day I discovered all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, I hallowed to me all the firstborn of Israel, both man and beast.

When the temple stood, the first-born male descendant of every Kosher animal had to be given to the clergymen who sacrificed its altar and ate the meat. In addition to human boys and kosher animals, one different species is included in the dedication of the firstborn: donkey. Donkeys usually are not kosher – they do not chew them and shouldn’t have woven claws, two standards for kosher animals, so they can't be sacrificed in the temple and eat. As an alternative, the Jew ought to redeem the firstborn donkey by sacrificing it as an alternative of a lamb; if he doesn’t need or does not need to do that, he should kill his ass by breaking his neck.

Why are donkeys devoted to consecration among all nonkosher animals? "How do donkeys differ from first-born horses and camels?" Asked Rabbi Chanina. Rabbi Eliezer replies that there isn’t a need for any rationalization: "It is the Torah of the Torah, and there is no need to look for reasons for God's commandments. But this does not prevent Eliezer from providing an explanation in any case: It is that the Asses "helped the Jews throughout their Exodus in Egypt." The people of Israel used donkeys to carry their possessions, including "silver and gold", which they seized from Egyptians as slavery. "There have been no Jewish individuals who had no 90 nubian asses," Eliezer says, although it isn’t clear the place she gets this chapter.

The treatise Bekhorot deals with many things that outcome from redeeming the firstborn. The primary chapter, in a typical Talmud trend, didn’t begin by drafting the regulation itself or its causes, but by addressing a specific drawback. What occurs to mishna inquires when a Jew does a transaction involving the spirit of a pregnant donkey? If a Jew sells a still-born donkey for Gentile – that’s, he’s now taking money in return for a promise to surrender his donkey when it’s born – who’s the authorized owner when the donkey rises in the uterus, Jewish or pagan? On the opposite, what if the Jews purchase a fetus from a pagan-owned donkey?

These are essential questions as a result of if the Jew is the legal owner of the newborn, the donkey is mechanically sanctified and have to be moved to the clergymen; whereas if the refugee is the owner, it isn’t sanctified. Mishna replies that the donkey shouldn’t be sanctified in either case, as a result of it is partly owned by the gentile, and Torah specifies that God only claims "all the firstborn of Israel." According to Rav Hunan, this is true regardless that the Jew and the Gentile are unequal companions, for example, if the Jews solely transfer the assumption of the brain of the donkey to the non-Jew, it becomes uncomfortable.

As a result of the rabbis are usually not watching slowly, this opens up alternatives for legal chicanery. The Jew might promote the unborn donkey to the ears of the Gentiles simply so that he shouldn’t have given the entire donkey to the clergymen when it was born. In truth, in Bekhorot 3b, Gemara says that Rav Mari Bar Rachel, who has once tried this very trick. (In Talmud it’s unusual for a person to be described as his mom's son – "at the bar Rachel" – as his father. The Koren Talmud says that it’s because his father was Gentile, so he’s referred to as his Jewish son.) Rav Mari "would transfer his own cattle to his possession his unborn births to refugees, so they are not technically considered to be the firstborn. " However when the rabbis can't shut this legal loophole, God can: "The Rav Mari's Rachel animals died," Gemara says with satisfaction.

Over time, the discussion raises the question of unkosher animals, similar to camels and horses. It is clear that these animals cannot be eaten; however how do we all know that their milk can also be forbidden? The reason being that the rabbinic regulation bans the "juice and sauce and sediments" of a nonkosher animal with its meat, and milk belongs to this category. Then Gemara asks the following question: How do we know that the milk of even Kosher animals, resembling cows, is allowed to be consumed?

It might have been merely taken without any consideration; however in Bekhorot 6b, rabbis increase the drawback of their prior understanding of animal biology. One among the key rules of Jewish eating regimen is that Jews are forbidden to eat blood. But the rabbis consider that the animal's milk is actually the similar as its blood: In the nursing mother, "the blood is spoiled and it becomes milk." Why should we drink milk if it's simply blood in one other type?

In fact, to say that milk is blood is definitely fallacious. Koren's Talmud interprets Talmud's phrases, a fairly generous way of claiming what a contemporary biologist knows, that an animal's mammary gland "synthesizes bloodstream ingredients such as calcium, protein, fats and sugar." rabbis did not know anything about glands or bloodstream; What they seem to say is that milk actually is blood.

They have been led to this belief that the sucking mom was not menstruated. At present, we all know that it’s because medical care produces hormones that forestall menstruation. However in the case of the rabbis, it appeared to prove that the blood that might normally be lost throughout menstruation would have been converted into the inner milk of the mother's physique. (At the very least that is considered one of the Talmudian theories why breastfeeding moms do not lose their menstruation. One other principle is that after childbirth, "his limbs are broken and his soul will not return to him until 24 months later.")

by some means, the milk drink continues to be there allowed. As Gemara says, this can be a slowdown, a authorized novelty – in other words, one thing that would not have been inferred from the recognized authorized rules. In this way, Torah should declare it as a separate rule. But it’s surprisingly troublesome for Rabbe to find the Torah fraction to permit milk consumption. There’s a verse that forbids eating meat cooked in milk (which was extensively mentioned in the earlier block, Chullin): As Gemara factors out, this appears to mean that "milk itself is allowed." However Gemara opposes that perhaps this simply signifies that milk is allowed to 'benefit', that’s, Jews should buy and sell it, but don't eat it.

What about Proverbs 27:27, who says, "And there is enough goat milk for your food"? This feels straight. But as soon as again, Gemara is opposed to the concept that milk is bought and the income used to purchase meals. What about the episode of Samuel's guide, the place a younger David is shipped to meet the brothers who are in the military, preventing towards Goliath and the Philistines and carrying "10 cheeses"? This definitely exhibits that cheese, a dairy product, might be eaten. Gemara is making an attempt again to resist – perhaps David was supposed to promote cheeses and give cash to his brothers? – But this appears naturally unlikely: "Is trading a trading target during the war?", Rabbi demand. [19659002LopuksirabbitviittaavatkuuluisaanExoduksenjakeeseenjokakuvaaIsraelinmaata"maanajokakulkeemaidonjahunajankanssa""JosmaitoeiollutsallittuantaakojaekiitostamaallejokaeisoviGemarakysyyTämäeiainoastaan​​todistaettämaitoonsallittua;seonsamahunajaavartenjokaonavoinvastalauseellesiitäettäseontehtymehiläistentoimestajotkahyönteiseteivätolekosheriaMuttahunajarabbitsanovatBekhorot7b:ssäeioleteknisestituotettumehiläisenruumiista;pikemminkinseontehtykukkiennektaristajamehiläinenvainkuljettaasitäTämäononnellinenloppukeskustelulle:kukaaneiolekiellettysyömästämehiläisiämuttajuutalainenruokavalioilmanhunajaaolisipaljonvähemmänmakea


Adam Kirsch started Daf Yomi every day Talmud cycle studies in August 2012. All the archives of reaching click here

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