Basar B’chalav and Ma’rit Ayin

Chulin (8) | Yehuda Gottlieb | 6 years ago

The Mishah (8) states that the prohibition of cooking milk and meat together applies when both were from tahor animals. However, if either the milk or meat were from a tameh animal, cooking this mixture is permitted. The Darchei Moshe uses this Mishna when questioning a ruling of the Beit Yosef(Yoreh Deah 62). The Beit Yosef cites the Rashba who forbids cooking a mixture of meat and human mother’s milk due to the prohibition of Marit Ayin. The Darchei Moshe questions this since the Mishna permits one to cook a mixture of impure milk and/or meat with no mention of marit ayin. Consequently one should permit cooking mother’s milk with meat. The Shulchan Aruch sides with the Rashba and forbids cooking meat with milk from a mother. The Rama also prohibits cooking a mixture of meat and mothers milk andextends this prohibition to cooking impure milk with a pure animal or vice versa.

The Taz points out that the Rashba seems to contradict himself since elsewhere (Torat Habayit) he mentions our Mishna yet makes no mention of marit ayin. In addition, the Rama is puzzling as the Mishna permits cooking milk and an impure meat. The Shach explains the Rama saying that the Mishnah that allows cooking a mixture of milk and an impure animal, must be referring to a special circumstance – e.g where a person is sick and requires the mixture to be cooked - where Marit Ayin does not apply.

The Shach analyses the opinion of the Shulchan Aruch and notes that the Shulchan Aruch refers to Marit Ayin in reference to mothers milk, while permitting one to cook meat with impure milk. How is this to be compared to the Rama who forbids one to cook in both instances? This question can be answered in two ways.

The Shach states first, that the appearance of impure milk and meat is different to their tahor equivalent. Therefore if one were to cook with these, it would be clear that these ingredients were impure. This is not the case with mother’s milk, which has the same appearance as normal milk.

Secondly, the Shach states, that when the Halacha states that a mixture of mothers milk with meat is forbidden, this was not referring to cooking. Rather, the prohibition specifically refers to eating, as there could be a permissible reason to cook these two ingredients together (e.g. for refuah). The proof is found in the case of eating meat with almond milk, where one must leave almonds next to the food because of marit ayin. The Shach states that since you do not have to leave almonds next to the pot while you are cooking, one does not to be concerned about marit ayin in relation to cooking. Therefore, the prohibition of mixing mothers milk and meat only applies to eating, not cooking. This also explains why the Shulchan Aruch did not forbid cooking mixtures of impure milk and meat. Eating either impure milk, or impure meat alone is already forbidden and did not require a separate ruling to forbid it. Consequently, the Shulchan Aruch is able to ‘permit’ this mixture as marit ayin does not apply to cooking1.

The Rama notes (86:3) that when eating mixtures with almond milk, one only need leave almonds next to the mixture if there is meat in the mixture. When chicken is eaten with almond milk, it is not needed. The Shach cites the Maharshal that argues one must leave the almonds even next to a mixture of almond milk and chicken because marit ayin applies even in cases of issurei d’rabanan.

Rav Soleveitchik (Inyanei Basar BeChalav, p187) notes that the Rama and the Shach seem to be arguing over the din of marit ayin. The Maharshal’s understands that the Chachamim forbid a person to do any action that may look like a prohibition so that others should not see this action and think that this prohibition is permitted. This concept is similar to the prohibition of placing a stumbling block before the blind. For this reason, the issur of marit ayin would apply even in cases of issurei d’rabanan since the prohibition of placing a stumbling block applies equally to Torah and rabbinic prohibitions.

On the other hand, the Rama understands that Marit Ayin was established in order that others should not think that a person is performing a forbidden activity. This concept is derived from the pasuk “and one should be clean before G-d and Israel”. The Gemara (Yoma 38a) uses this pasuk to praise various families who performed avoadah in the Beit Hamikdash, such as baking the Lechem Hapanim, who would be stringent not to have bread found in their households so that people should not assume they were misappropriating bread from the Lechem HaPanim. The Rav states that based on this reasoning the Rama would hold that there is no issue of Marit Ayin connected to Rabbinic prohibitions because we are not concerned of people’s thoughts when it comes to these.


1As explained above, the concept of Marit Ayin does not apply for cooking as we are able to assume that one is cooking this mixture for a special circumstance (eg. For refuah).

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