Aish.com: Stupidity In The Name Of Torah

You can’t make this stuff up, folks. Rabbi Shraga Simmons writes on Aish.com:

Amazingly, that day at Sinai was the first time the Jews ate dairy products. There is a general prohibition of “eating a limb from a live animal” (ever min hachai), which logically should also include milk, the product of a live animal. Ever min hachai is actually one of the Seven Noahide Laws which the Jews observed prior to Sinai (and which has applied to all humanity since the days of Noah).

However, upon receiving the Torah, which refers to the Land of Israel as “flowing with milk and honey” (Exodus 3:18), dairy products became permitted to the Jews. In other words, at the same moment that their meat became prohibited, dairy became permitted. They ate dairy on that original Shavuot, and we do today, too.

Now, let us compare this with an actual series of verses from the Torah:

Genesis 18

And the LORD appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day; And he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground, And said, My Lord, if now I have found favour in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant: Let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree: And I will fetch a morsel of bread, and comfort ye your hearts; after that ye shall pass on: for therefore are ye come to your servant. And they said, So do, as thou hast said. And Abraham hastened into the tent unto Sarah, and said, Make ready quickly three measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes upon the hearth. And Abraham ran unto the herd, and fetched a calf tender and good, and gave it unto a young man; and he hasted to dress it. And he took butter, and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree, and they did eat. And they said unto him, Where is Sarah thy wife? And he said, Behold, in the tent. And he said, I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life; and, lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son. And Sarah heard it in the tent door, which was behind him.

To believe Hebrews did not eat milk or dairy products (or eggs, because eggs are also “ever min hachai“) is on its face insane. To believe this when a specific biblical verse contradicts it is simply stupid.*

Aibishter, look what these rabbis have done to your Judaism!

*And do not try to say that Avraham merely prepared the food for the “men” – who were not keeping the halakhot of bnai noach – to eat. Avraham would be forbidden to do so under any normative understanding of halakha. Plus, this assertion is itself foolish.

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33 Comments

Filed under Haredim, History

33 responses to “Aish.com: Stupidity In The Name Of Torah

  1. Enigma_4U

    On the same days that the Jews were permitted to eat dairy, they were also given divine instructions on how to make shtreimels out of animal fur. Prior to that, the Jews were freezing to death in the desert, with no appropriate winter gear with which to protect themselves from the harsh elements. And that’s why, boys and girls, Jews to this day wear fur hats, even in summer.

  2. sarah

    Can we get a comment from Rabbi Shraga Simmons? What does he have to say about all this?

  3. Divine law

    Amazing How when one bashes holy people they will become apikorsim im seeing it in front of my very eyes how you people are inching towards christianity and all that has bein wrong with jews over time i read this site often to know WHAT not to believe in but it has reached a point where it is very hard to keep quite and see how people bash the poskim, gemara and holy people (even when they side with one but bash the other is just as bad Lack of respect)regarding the statment from aish.com its a clear gemara bechoros daf vov and shita mekubetses replies to the above The shach(and others)in the S”A states this fact(SK yud gimmel) that we might think its ever min hachai and stated the above gemara And so is the halacha but to call it stupid and laught is againts the torah and to bash this is to bash your very soul and play with fire that our mind cannot comprehend these pepole who are gods men and god will protect them and destroy those who do not show respect i hope you learn from your mistakes and become better and learned people……

  4. Anonymous

    yored deah Pey alef BTW

  5. Amazing, isn’t it, how ignorant Divne law and other haredim are. Just because one rabbi makes a stupid remark does not make it true or even plausible. It is still stupid. The rabbi’s ‘holiness’ and position does not automatically make him correct.

    Now, process: Hebrews ate milk before Sinai. Now slink away.

  6. Nigritude Ultramarine

    which logically should also include milk

    No, this is not at all logical.

  7. Anonymous

    Today I was speaking with a very successful secular friend, myself being a manifold failure, and I asked him which of the two damaged me more: 6 yrs. at Aish or the decade + of booze & drugs which came in it’s wake. His emphatic response was the latter. I feel that I, like many, gained much by my exposure to Torah, but the experience also turned me into an O.C.D freak. This transformation was not at all discouraged by the veldt

  8. Dovid Lerner

    Shmarya, let’s be fair, didn’t you learn Yoreh Deah? The question “shouldn’t milk and honey be eiver min hachai is from the Talmud.

    However -as you dilligintly point out- milk and cream were eaten before Matan Torah, (though maybe it was from a shlil. 1000 points to the person that understands that one… (Though I am not certain whether ever min hachai applys to that))

  9. Again, arguing that milk is ever min hachai is fine – as long as one does not claim that the Hebrews dId not eat dairy products as a result. It is possible to excuse a rabbi living several hundred years ago for beleving this foolishness, but not a rabbi living today.

  10. Warren

    If dairy was forbidden before MT, why would they have any dairy products lying around? And milking an animal is forbidden on Shabbat (“the revelation at Sinai occurred on Shabbat, when slaughter and cooking are prohibited”, from the article at Aish), just like shechting one. So where did the milk come from?

    And wouldn’t a consequence of that article be that a Ben Noach may not drink milk today?

  11. Warren

    I just noticed that Italics were turned on in Dovid Lerner’s post and remain in effect. Lemme see if I can shut it off now. Testing …

  12. do tshuva

    Do tshuva! You do not beleive in any Talmud, and Torah She Baal Peh period. Continue with your postings so that no one will take you seriously in anything you write.

  13. Dovid Lerner

    I don’t believe any Rabbi believed it actually is Halchikly eiver min hachai, they simply asked in the course of a Talmudic question why isn’t milk/honey eiver min hachai, it has all the charecteristics.

    So we say answer milk and honey are different, the Torah teaches us this in a pasuk eretz zavat chalav u’dvash.

    I agree that to say milk and honey were ever not eaten is foolish, but the question isn’t.

  14. Yochanan Lavie

    I love how those critics say we inching towards christianity when they are the ones with the dead messiah. Those are the words of men, learned by rote. I prefer to worship God, not human beings.

    I am glad I never went to Aish. Kool Aid drinkers will say it would have done me some good. I say it would have destroyed either my faith or my intellectual honesty. The two are not incompatible.

  15. Divine Law

    Its true the gemara dosint say if they did or did not but it says where the source was and the fact that god didnt say it yet means that maybe(maybe and thats why its a theroy and should be disputed on its merits not your own minds but purly on sources) they refrained from drinking milk prove me where they drank milk before?and fron yom tov hagozil(in the back of the gemara a meforish on the ramban)speak of this question at it seems very logical that before matan torah they refrained from drinking milk (he explains cause its like aivair min hachay and dam min hachay(blood which blood turns into milk)now shmarya brings up a good question how they could do it on shabbos?well the issur is mefarek extracting and we need to find out what issurim on shabbos applied at the time since the meshkun wasint bulit yet and thats where we learn the melachos…even though shabbos was given it could be there werint issurim yet just the idea on shabbos i saw this once but dont have a source yet again lets be learned and kind and not bash others thats the TRUE mark of a jew

  16. DIvine law

    A cow that came out of a shected cow “BP” Ben pekuah to the above riddle

  17. Divine law

    Now, process: Hebrews ate milk before Sinai. Now slink away Shamrya…
    please give me a source noach didnt drink wine before god told him too maybe they didnt drink milk?where is your PROOF please….i told you the above logic(proof from noach)that they didnt and the sources where are YOURS?

  18. I’m just happy to eat dairy on Shavuot.

    I’m trying to figure out what animal has a limb made out of milk, though.

  19. avi

    I seriously cannot believe your arrogance and ignorance. You quote an article and then begin to bash not only the author, but practically every Rabbi in the Talmud and Shulchan Aruch.

    DivineLaw quoted Talmud and revered poskim. You not only do NOT take the time to study his sources (if you are even able to do so, which I doubt) – you denigrate him.
    (BTW, the sources that he cites and his arguments demonstrate that his learning and awareness of Talmudic concepts is light years away from yours.)

    But not satisfied with this you call no less a personality as the R’ Shabsi Kohen (the Shach) a stupid Rabbi – UNBELIEVEABLE!

    If you want to argue the issue intelligently, learn what the rabbis, infinitely greater than you, have to say and then, humbly, post your comment. This is the Torah way! Anything else is just an empty pot ringing its empty head off and as DivineLaw says, “represents the very opposite of Judaism.”

    Now, let’s presume that Jews ate milk before Torah was given. This is supported by the blessing given to Yehudah, that “His eyes will be red from wine, and his teeth. white from milk.” In which Rashi and Rashbam state that Yaakov here promises Yehuda’s descendants success and prosperity to the point where they will have enough milk to drink to make their teeth white. ( Even though one could argue that this is a futuristic blessing, why do we need to force the simple meaning)

    Another support is that when the Israelites first received the laws of kashrut, they realized that their pots were not kosher, having been used to eat forbidden meats, and so they ate dairy food until they were able to kasher their pots. The obvious question is why would they eat dairy if it was also forbidden?

    The answer to this may be related to understanding the exact status of the Jewish people before Mattan Torah.

    Some say that the disagreement between Yosef’s brothers surrounded this very issue.

    The brothers believed that they had superseded the status of B’nai Noach and therefore Shcihitah was sufficient a status of death to permit eating an animal even if still moved afterward. Yosef’s position was that they were still B’nai Noach and eating an animal that moved (shaked) even after Shcihitah constituted “Eiver min haChai”

    It is indeed conceivable that there were groups of Jews that held to the strict position and did not eat dairy products which would support the original statements.

    By the way, the chiddush of Yosef and his brothers is from the Rebbe.


  20. Funny, isn’t it, that even the most ridiculous statements made by gedolim are viewed as true and unimpeachable, while the most pedestrian made by scientists or laymen are deemed inherently false. George orwell must have modeled 1984 on Brooklyn …

  21. Dovid Lerner

    1000 points to Divine Law for knowing the answer to my question!

  22. Neo-Conservaguy

    It’s very scary that otherwise intelligent people can get so wrapped up in rabbinic logic circles that they convince themselves they must believe such statements as “no milk before Sinai”. What freaking planet are these people from, and how do we send them back? This is not Judaism; this is multiple cults of (rabbinic) personalities.

  23. Sam Goldstein

    I sent an email to the author of the aish.com article, Rabbi Shraga Simmons, asking him the question of how Avraham fed dairy products to his three guests (Genesis 18:8). He wrote me back a very nice and prompt response. Here’s what he said, based on Rav Shlomo Kluger, in “HaElef Lecha Shlomo” (Yoreh Deah 322):

    The answer requires a technical understanding of the prohibition of ever min hachai. One way is to define a “limb” as a piece of meat which contains bones and/or sinews. It is this type of ever min hachai which has always been forbidden to non-Jews. This prohibition does not include milk, because although milk comes from a live animal, it does not contain bones or sinews. Hence, Abraham was permitted to feed milk to his non-Jewish guests.

    There is a second, broader definition of ever min hachai, which encompasses all products from a live animal — including milk. It is this definition which is prohibited to Jews. Thus it was not until the giving of the Torah, with its reference to “land of milk and honey,” that dairy products became permitted to Jews.

    Another point that was raised: How were the Jews able to obtain milk on Shabbat, since milking an animal falls under the melacha of mefarek? The answer is that the Jews already had milk available from before Shabbat, which they had been using to feed the various animals that accompanied their journeys in the wilderness.

  24. A question on stupidity

    Is he really saying what I think he is saying? That Avraham, known for his hospitality, served his “non-Jewish” guests a tender and good calf and food that was assur to him? I did not realize there were Jews at that time other than Ivrim such as Avraham. So, I guess we learn from this that angels who come to earth and appear to eat (some say they actually ate) are allowed to eat foods that are forbidden to Jews and Noachides.

    Reality check… Shraga, just say it is not really believable but…

  25. think

    Maybe thay extracted the milk after shechting the animal.?

  26. 1. STUPID.

    2. There is NO, ZERO, NADA, ZIP, historical source to back up that claim.

    3. There were NO JEWS BEFORE SINAI.

    Need I write more? Shraga Simmons is a fool. The concept he misses is as follows: BIg rabbi makes incorrect assertion. Later big rabbis want to make him look less foolish. Hence Shlomo Kluger’s assertion. This is rabbinic hoop-jumping, not fact, not history, not halakha.

  27. Shmuel

    I don’t understand: It’s simply preposterous to believe that Jews didn’t eat dairy products before Matan Torah. There were cows and goats for milking. Jews milked the animals and ate the dairy products. That’s sensible, reasonable. To assume with great levels of certitude what people didn’t eat 3500 years ago…it’s just silly. You’re making things up which have no basis in reality. Abraham, who served the guests, had to eat dairy himself. What else did he eat, tofu? A little bread, a little butter, a cup of milk: dinner. And why couldn’t he? Abraham kept the whole Torah, didn’t he? So he knew that in the Torah it would say “a land flowing with milk and honey.” Maybe there was a mesorah that they could eat dairy in honor of that pasuk. But at the end of the day, to smugly think that we know for sure what Jews ate for centuries before Matan Torah, I think it’s just wrong.

  28. Common sense has never been a haredi virtue.

  29. Smicha Recall Notice

    There is a web site called shraga.com. On it I found fascinating article on aliens and discusses what you can feed them…

    This would basically reduce aliens to highly developed monkeys in space ships shooting laser guns. That also means that you would not include them in a minyan, since aliens will not be obligated to pray. Furthermore, as with all creatures, you will not be allowed to feed space aliens anything that Jews are forbidden to derive benefit from – e.g. milk cooked with meat, or chometz on Passover.

    Were the angels in the same category as “space aliens”?

  30. Neo-Conservaguy

    1. Cows must be milked, even on Shabboth, because they will suffer and/or become sick (Mastitis) if too long a period passes without milking.

    2. The “land of milk and honey” phrase does not clearly mean dairy milk and bee honey: a popular alternative understanding is almond milk and date honey – a much more viable understanding in the context of describing the bounty of the land.

  31. Yochanan Lavie

    “What freaking planet are these people from, and how do we send them back?”

    “There is a web site called shraga.com. On it I found fascinating article on aliens and discusses what you can feed them…”

    Rod Serling voiceover:
    There is another dimension, beyond history, beyond science, beyond logic. It is a dimension of hero worship. It is a dimension of superstition. Welcome to the Chumra Zone…

  32. In addition of being a mishugener, you also an Am Haaretz — an ignoramous of the worst kind. You’re so ignorant that you don’t even know when to ask!

    The case studied in the Shulchan Aruch of ever-min-ha-chai looks into the case of eggs found inside a slaughtered chicken, which are still attached and not fully developed. If one where to forcibly take one of those eggs prior to slaughtering a chicken, it would indeed be ever-min-ha-chai. For the case of eggs laid naturally by the hen, all relevant opinions rule it is certainly not ever-min-ha-chai.

    Mind you, do you even know what the Shulchan Aruch is?!

  33. Who is that last comment directed to? The Shach?

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