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
    Commented Nov 12, 2013 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. Commented Nov 12, 2013 at 15:35
  • Just for the record. Karaites do eat meat and dairy together. i would post it as an answer but i don't know how on topic it would be?
    – Aaron
    Commented Nov 12, 2015 at 6:11
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    @Aaron I don't see how it would answer the question...
    – Double AA
    Commented Nov 12, 2015 at 8:03
  • the simple answer is the Torah prohibits mixing dairy and meet but does not prohibit eggs with meat. Any reason given for a mitzvah can be great and a wonderful way understanding our actions but in their essence the Torah is Hashem's chochma which is above reason as human beings understand what reasoning is. So simply put we don't have a prohibition for one thing but for another because this is what Gd commands from us.
    – Dude
    Commented Nov 13, 2015 at 3:57

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
    Commented Nov 12, 2013 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
    Commented Nov 12, 2013 at 17:48
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    @Fred But the pasuk says "v'es ha'tzipor lo basar"!
    – Double AA
    Commented Nov 12, 2013 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
    Commented Nov 12, 2013 at 17:55
  • To put in a ban that is not in the Torah would be adding laws, Bal Tosef.
    – CashCow
    Commented Nov 12, 2015 at 10:45

As explained on Chabad.org, there are multiple reasons provided for the miẓwah of separating meat and milk, which is ultimately regarded as a ḥoq (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 Ḥesed than milk and 2) chicken and eggs do not resemble closely enough the ancient 'Avodah Zarah cited by HaRaMBa"M.

  • Actually, I think all four reasons would address it as well.
    – HaLeiVi
    Commented Nov 12, 2015 at 5:00
  • @HaLeiVi That is why I included all four and concluded by saying "personally" to imply that the latter two are what do it for me.
    – Lee
    Commented Nov 12, 2015 at 5:04

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