In Deuteronomy, Moses says "For this command that I command you today is not a wonder to you and it is not distant..." I want to explore the (possible) tension between this sentiment and laws whose logic may not be clear to us or where modern understanding changes the original rationale (e.g., using non-porous dishware going against practice of maintaining two sets). I'm sure this has been explored and would just appreciate the best source that lays out the arguments. Thx.

  • Sorry, what non-porous dishware has to do with philosophy?
    – Al Berko
    Jul 22, 2019 at 13:13
  • Why should the rules of kashrut involve maintaining two sets of silverware--why can't I just use a non-porous utensil once with milk and then wash it carefully before using it with meat? I gather there are a number of philosophical responses to this question, such as honoring your forbears, etc. In my mind, they clash with the spirit of what Moses said--that the logic of laws should be clear to us.
    – Jonathan
    Jul 22, 2019 at 13:40
  • In addition to the answer below: Louis Jacobs’ ‘A Tree of Life’. For another side of the spectrum ‘Likkute Halachos’ from R. Nosson, student of R. Nachman of Breslov. Enjoy.
    – Oliver
    Jul 23, 2019 at 4:01

1 Answer 1


Theoretically it is possible to switch from dairy to meaty utensils every time and perform hagala in between. We don't do it for practical reasons, to avoid mistakes, based on a gemara in Chulin 8b (see here for details).

I don't know if you meant to ask specifically for this or more generally about the fundamental rationale of mitzvot, you might enjoy the following books

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    He's not talking about hagala. He's saying use non porous utensils so you don't even need hagala to switch back and forth since there's nothing absorbed. You can't make a mistake if it's always pareve.
    – Double AA
    Jul 22, 2019 at 17:01
  • Do these things exist for cooking utensils? Glass?
    – mbloch
    Jul 22, 2019 at 17:11
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    Undoubtedly, they exist scientifically. To what extent they are commonly available and to what extent rabbis are willing to accept the relevant scientific proof is another question. Stainless steel absorbs less than you can imagine but rabbis for the most part still pretend it absorbs substantial amounts.
    – Double AA
    Jul 22, 2019 at 17:14

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