Meat and Milk Mixtures


Dear Rabbi,

Why can’t you cook meat and milk together? I was thinking of making a cheeseburger for a friend who is not Jewish but my mom told me we don’t cook meat and milk together. I thought the only issue is to not eat them together but that cooking them together was okay. Please help!




  1. Your mom is correct and cooking meat and dairy together is not permitted.

    Three verses in the Torah say, “Do not cook a lamb in its mother’s milk.” Our teachers explain why there are three verses instead of only one. They say that each verse teaches a different meat/dairy prohibition: not to cook them together, eat them together or benefit in any way from their mixture (such as feeding to a pet).

    There are a few reasons given to help us understand the rationale for not mixing meat and dairy.

    The pagans who worshipped idols ritually cooked lambs and meat in its animal milk, thinking it would increase the agricultural yield. The Torah and our teachers warn us to not practice the methods of the pagans so as not to be drawn in to their idol worship.

    On the surface, boiling a lamb in its mother’s milk sounds cruel. This cruelty might rub off on a person cooking, eating or benefiting from this meat-dairy mixture.

    It is a mitzvah that falls in the category of “statutes,” which are purely for the sake of do them so that God will increase our reward for fulfillment.” Besides “statute mitzvahs” there are “judgment” (social fabric) mitzvahs such as not stealing or withholding wages of an employee.

    According to Kabbalah teachings, the prohibition against mixing meat and milk is because they are two diverse energies. Milk is white and represents pure kindness. Meat is red and represents severity and judgment.

    The Creator gave us a world filled with great diversity, and one of our tasks in life is to maintain order in the Creation. This includes not doing anything that will cause unnecessary mixing and chaos in the world. From the time of the Garden of Eden, we have been appointed as guardians of the world that the Creator so generously provided for our benefit.

    Best wishes from the Team