Cooking Meat and Milk Definitions and Applications
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The Torah portion of Ki Tissa includes the mitzvah of not cooking a kid in
its mother’s milk (Exodus 24:36). Our sages understood this mitzvah to include any kosher meat with any kosher milk (see Chullin 103b). In addition, our sages explained that the reason the mitzvah is repeated three times is to teach us that one may not cook meat and milk together, nor may one eat or benefit from such meat (ibid 113a). This article will focus on the laws of not cooking meat and milk together. (Many of the sources for this article are in Hilchot Bassar BeChalav by Rabbi Dovid Morechai Hofstater, Jerusalem, 2019.)
The Definition of Meat and Milk
By Torah law, the laws of not mixing meat and milk (Bassar BeChalav) apply only to red meat of a kosher domestic animal. Since the word g’di (kid) is repeated three times, we exclude wild animals, fowl, and non-kosher animals. By Rabbinic law it is forbidden to eat chicken or venison that was cooked with milk. However, the sages did not forbid the cooking of these foods.
One may, by the letter of the law, cook chicken and meat. One may then give these items to a gentile but, of course, not eat it.
Some say that for reasons of public perception (marit ayin), one may not cook chicken and milk as people can mistakenly think that he is cooking red meat and milk together (Taz 87:5). Others permit this (Levush 87:3).
Yet others say that even by the letter of the law, one may not cook chicken and milk together (Rashal quoted in Shach 87:4). The final halacha does not follow this view (ibid).
Non Kosher Animals and Non Kosher Milk
One may cook meat of a non-kosher animal with milk. One may also cook non-kosher milk with kosher meat. Certainly one may cook non kosher meat with kosher milk. The reason for this is that the Torah only forbids the cooking, eating and benefitting from a mixture of kosher meat and kosher milk. The sages didn’t feel the need to forbid such items as Bassar BeChalav since the consumption of such items is forbidden since one of the products is not kosher.
Despite this, for reasons of public perception (marit ayin) one may not cook these items together (Rama 87:4). Some permit this (Shach 7).
Non Slaughtered Animals
One may not cook the meat of a kosher animal that was not slaughtered properly (neveilah) with milk. Although some permit one to benefit from such a mixture, all agree that the cooking of such items is forbidden (Chullin 113b).
Skin and Bones
By Torah law, one may cook animal bones, skin, sinews, placentas, horns, and hooves with milk. This is forbidden, however, by Rabbinic law (87:7).
Butter and Cheese
Butter and cheese are considered milk regarding this prohibition (Rav Pa’alim Y.D. 1:10).
The Definition of Cooking
The Torah writes that one may not cook a kid in its mother’s milk. As such it is permissible to mix these foods in a manner which is not defined by the Torah as cooking. Nevertheless, should one mix these items in any manner, it is forbidden to eat them by Rabbinic law. It is, however, permitted to benefit from such a mixture.
Therefore, One may soak (or pickle) meat in milk and then use it for medicinal purposes or to feed to one’s animals. If one did so, he may not then cook this mixture (see below).
Despite this, it is preferable to not mix these items with the intent of benefitting from the mixture (Rabbi Akiva Eiger 87 D.H. Mutar Behana’ah).
It is questionable if one may fry meat in butter, e.g. for the purpose of feeding an animal. In practice one should be strict regarding this (See Aruch Hashulchan 87:10 and 11).
Cooking with Trace Amounts
By Torah law, one may cook in a way that does not change the flavor of the foods (i.e., one adds a minute amount of milk to the ingredients of a meat pot which doesn’t affect the flavor at all) as this is not a usual way to cook. By Rabbinic law, however, this should be avoided (Responsa of Rabbi Akiva Eiger 207). In addition to the fact that one may not, purposefully, nullify prohibited foods.
How Cooked is Cooked?
It is forbidden to cook meat and milk together even for a short period of time (Kaf HaChaim 87:8). One does not transgress a Torah violation, however, unless one cooks the two items until they become edible (Chullin 108b Rashi D.H. Acheirim) or at least somewhat edible (Pri Chadash 87:3).
It is questionable if smoking (cold smoke) is defined as cooking for the purpose of Bassar BeChalav. In practice, one should be strict regarding this (O.C. 87:6).
Most opinions believe that cooking in hot smoke (steaming) is considered cooking by Torah law regarding bassar bechalav. As such, one may not use animal food made with meat and dairy that was cooked with steam (see Achiezer 4:36).
Some say that cooking with a microwave is considered cooking by Torah law regarding Bassar BeChalav. As such, if meat and milk were heated up or cooked in a microwave, no Jew may benefit from such a mixture (Shvut Yitzchak 6:5 in the name of Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach).
Cooking after Cooking
Some say that just as on Shabbat there is “no cooking after cooking,” so, too, regarding Bassar Bechalav. As such it would be permissible to reheat meat and milk that were cooked together (Rabbi Akiva Eiger, beginning of Siman 87). Others disagree and forbid this (Siftei Da’at 87:2). All would agree that if these items were cooked separately, it is then forbidden to cook them together (Rabbi Akiva Eiger ibid). There is more reason to be strict regarding a liquid that was cooked and has now cooled off (Elya Zutah 673:1).
If meat and milk were mixed through salting or pickling it is certainly forbidden to then cook that mixture since the original mixture was not considered “cooked” by Torah law (Rabbi Akiva Eiger ibid).
Cooking for Demonstration
It is forbidden to cook meat and milk even if one does not plan to eat the dish one is cooking (see Rama 87:6). In addition, one may not cook meat and milk even if neither item belongs to him (ibid). As such one who needs to cook for culinary school or the like may not cook meat and milk even if he plans to give it away or throw it out afterwards.
One may also not stir a pot of meat and milk that is cooking or increase the heat under such a pot (see ibid).
Burning Meat and Milk
Some say that one may not burn a mixture of meat and milk since, before they are burnt up, it is considered as if one is cooking meat and milk (See Chatam Sofer Responsa , Y.D. 92)
For a Gentile
It is forbidden to give a gentile meat and milk and instruct them to cook it for themselves (see O.C. 307:21 and Biur Halacha there).
Wishing you a Shabbat Shalom UMevoach!