Meat And Milk Dishes -- By: Louis Berks

Journal: Central Bible Quarterly
Volume: CENQ 10:4 (Winter 1967)
Article: Meat And Milk Dishes
Author: Louis Berks


Meat And Milk Dishes

Louis Berks

The Basis Of Milk And Meat Dishes Of Orthodoxy.

It is my purpose to discuss the basis for the rapidly dying custom among the Orthodox Jews of keeping meat and milk dishes separate. Strange to say, there is no mention anywhere in the Old Testament writings of anything about this religious custom of the traditional Jews. But in the New Testament writings, particularly in the Gospel according to Mark, there is quite a bit said about this practice. In the seventh chapter is recorded the opposition of the Nazarene Jesus, expressed in no uncertain terms. He denounced the Pharisees for promoting this practice as a religious duty and demanding that all Jews observe it. Jesus in speaking of this practice declared that this was a “traditional” observance and did not rest upon the Word of God, which was of course in that day the Old Testament.

It is commonplace knowledge today that the larger part of our present-day population of Jews have turned their backs upon this practice because it is no longer valid or vital to their ideas of religion. It is also commonplace that the Judaistic group known as “Orthodox” promote the custom of keeping meats and milk separate as a traditional inheritance from the days of Moses. They insist that Moses gave two laws: one on tablets of stone, and the other orally. It is upon the oral law of Moses that all claims of Orthodoxy rest. In this respect, it is important to examine the writings of Moses to see whether or not Moses gave such a law, teaching that the highest relation of man to God rested upon whether or not he separated meat from milk. It is a notorious fact that Jews have turned away almost en masse from the words of the Old Testament prophets. If Moses gave the faintest inkling that Judaism of the prophets rested upon the separating of foods, the Jews are justified in turning their backs upon the prophets and their messages for Israel. But I can show to you that Moses never gave such a teaching. In fact,

the very Scripture that Rabbinic theology gives as a basis for this custom contradicts it; for these very Scriptures quoted were given for an entirely different purpose and had nothing whatsoever to do with the eating of foods; and least of all, making this observance the highest value before their God.

The History Of The Orthodox Custom.

Everyone should see that, first of all, that as a religious commandment this practice appeals only to “tradition” as its authority. The promoters of this custom are called the “Orthodox” Jews. Curiously enough this word “orthodox” means “straight” and is not a Hebrew word but a Greek word. It is my belief that this custom of separating foods be...

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