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Friday, January 24

The Weekly Shtikle - Mishpatim

This coming Wednesday, 28 Shevat, marks the first yahrtzeit of my wife's grandfather, R' Yitzchak Yeres. The shtikle is dedicated le'iluy nishmaso, Yitzchak Chaim ben Moshe Yosef.

This week's parsha contains the first of three instances of the of the prohibition of  lo sevasheil gedi bachaleiv imo (23:19), not to cook a goat in its mother's milk. As all my kids learned this week, this is the source for the prohibition of milk and meat. The three instances are necessary to indicate a prohibition against cooking, eating or deriving any other benefit. In this instance and in Ki Sisa, (34:26) the phrase appears right next to the mitzvah of bikurim. In Re'eih (Devarim 14:21), however, it does not. Netziv explains in Ha'ameik Davar that it is the way of the nations to mix meat and milk together and put it in the ground as a very effective fertilizer. Thus, the prohibition of the mixing of meat and milk was put next to bikurim to tell you that even for the purpose of growing nice fruit for bikurim, one may not mix meat and milk. The prohibitions of cooking and deriving benefit may be connected to this agricultural phenomenon. But the prohibition of eating may not. After all, if you've eaten it, you can't put it in the ground. As the saying goes, you can't eat your basar b'chalav and plant it, too. Therefore, it is exactly twice that lo sevasheil gedi appears next to the mitzvah of bikurim.

My Rebbe, R' Kulefsky, zt"l would often tell over this explanation of Netziv, accompanied with a rather humourous anecdote involving Rav Yonasan Eibeshitz. He was once in the bathroom and reading a secular agriculture book when he came across this fact that putting milk and meat together in the ground helps the soil. Immediately, this fact sparked the idea in his mind to understand the pesukim as Netziv did above. Since this caused him to think about Torah, he had to run out of the bathroom right away!

Have a good Shabbos.

Eliezer Bulka

Shtikle Blog Weekly Roundup:
Dikdukian: The Ox and his Friend
Dikdukian: Answer vs. Torture
Dikdukian: Give it to me
Dikdukian: Ha'isha viladeha
Dikdukian: Jewish Milk

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