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The Torah says that one should not cook a calf in its mothers' milk. This is the basis for the prohibition of eating milk and meat together. If this is the case, why is it not also illegal to cook a chicken with eggs, as it is frequently used for breading (e.g. in schnitzel)?

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Are we not allowed to eat beef with veal? –  Seth J Nov 12 '13 at 13:45
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I wondered about this when I was new to kashrut. I made a connection between the meat/milk restriction and not killing a cow and calf on the same day and sending the mother bird away, and ended up thinking that meat/milk was somehow conencted with offspring (or nurturing offspring). But if that was so, then chicken + eggs being ok made no sense whatsoever to me. I'm saying all this for the downvoter, in case you thought that this couldn't be a serious question. –  Monica Cellio Nov 12 '13 at 15:35

2 Answers 2

The Torah's prohibition:

Don't cook mammal meat in mammal milk.

To avoid confusion, the rabbis of the Talmud made the general rule:

Don't cook any meat in mammal milk.

So the simple answer is -- "because the rabbis didn't ban it." Presumably they were concerned that chicken-in-milk would get confused with beef-in-milk, but didn't feel that eggs looked anything like milk and thus chicken-in-egg wouldn't cause any problems.

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Deer is also derabanan –  Double AA Nov 12 '13 at 15:06
    
@DoubleAA Basically, yes. But it's a machlokes rishonim. Tosafos hold that even chicken is d'oraysa (Chullin 104b, s.v. oaf u'g'vina, דילמא משום דסבר בשר עוף בחלב לאו דאורייתא ולא קיימא לן הכי). The Maharshal (Yam Shel Sh'lomo, Chullin 8:5, ואני אומר, מאחר דאמר ר"י ש"מ דבשר עוף בחלב מדאורייתא, הכי הלכתא) likewise maintains that b'sar chaya v'oaf is d'oraysa. –  Fred Nov 12 '13 at 17:48
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@Fred But the pasuk says "v'es ha'tzipor lo basar"! –  Double AA Nov 12 '13 at 17:50
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@DoubleAA R' Avishai David said that, as a child in cheder, his rebbe told the class that this was the source that basar b'chalav doesn't apply to poultry. –  Fred Nov 12 '13 at 17:55

Ask explained on Chabad.org, there are multiple rationales provided for the mitzwah of separating meat and milk, which is ultimately regarded as a hoq (Divine decree):

  • Some argue that it is cruel to cook a baby in the very milk that was intended to nourish it
  • Others suggest that the reason for this mitzvah is health related.
  • Maimonides asserts that an ancient pagan ritual which involved the cooking and consumption of meat and milk is the source of the prohibition. The mitzvah of not cooking milk and meat together distances the Jewish people from this idolatrous behavior.
  • Yet others cite Kabalistic sources which explain that meat represents gevurah (the Divine attribute of Judgment) and milk represents chesed (the Divine attribute of Kindness). These two opposing characteristics are not to be mixed with each other.

Personally, these latter two sources may help address why chicken and eggs may be mixed while meat and milk may not. While the egg is effectively a life form in development, it is 1) less representative of Hesed than milk and 2) chicken and eggs do not resemble closely enough the ancient 'Avodah Zarah cited by HaRaMBa"M.

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