Answers to Questions by Yair Davidiy
Is rabbinical law different than Mosaic law? What is the difference?
Rabbinical Law is Mosaic Law put in action.
For example a Biblical Enactment that needed a traditional Oral Explanation in order to be carried out involves the prohibition against eating meat and milk together.
On the whole Rabbinical Law is derivable from the Biblical expression of the Hebrew tongue.
Scripture is written in Hebrew in such a way that more than one interpretation is possible.
According to the Written Torah it was forbidden to cook a kid in its mothers milk. This commandment is repeated three times:
Exodus (NASB) 23:
19 The first of the firstfruits of your land you shall bring into the house of the LORD your God. You shall not boil a young goat in its mother's milk.
Exodus (NASB) 34:
26 The first of the firstfruits of your land you shall bring to the house of the LORD your God. You shall not boil a young goat in its mother's milk.
Deuteronomy (NASB) 14:
21 You shall not eat anything that dies of itself; you may give it to the alien who is within your gates, that he may eat it, or you may sell it to a foreigner; for you are a holy people to the LORD your God.
You shall not boil a young goat in its mother's milk.
The Sages (Talmud, Hulin 115;a) taught that the application of this commandment according to the Torah meant that it was forbidden to eat or cook or derive benefit from the flesh of cattle or sheep cooked with milk from sheep or cattle. It was permitted to cook the milk of permitted wild animals such as deer with meat and eat it. It was permitted to do the same with milk of forbidden animals and not eat but derive other benefit from it. The explanation of Rabbi Yaacov Zvi Meklenburg (1785-1831) uses linguistic principles to show how ALL these laws are encapsulated in the Hebrew script.
Cook in Hebrew is "bashel": This word is applied to mean ripen, boil or roast. The common denominator of the three possibilities is the act of making an object fit to be eaten through heat. Grammatically the expression used can mean both you shall not do the action (bashel) and the action shall not be. From these linguistic considerations of the meaning we learn the prohibition against preparing such mixtures, against eating them, and against deriving benefit from them.
The word translated here as "young goat" in Hebrew is "gedi". This word is usually applied to a baby sheep or goat but can also mean the calf of cattle. It is therefore applicable to sheep or cattle meat and not to that of other animals.
The expression translated as IN ITS MOTHER'S MILK uses the word in Hebrew "Aym" translated as 'Mother' : The word also can be applied to mean any collection of individuals that have something in common, e.g. Jeremiah 15:8 mentions THE MOTHER [Aym] OF THE YOUNG MEN which in Aramaic is rendered as "union of the young men". Rabbi Meklenburg therefore interprets Aym (mother) as used here to mean cattle and sheep that are united by the fact that both are pure animals whose offspring in Hebrew may be referred to as "gedi" (i.e. kid) whereas the offspring of other animals are not so called. This obviates both clean animals (such as deer) that do not fall in the category of having offspring named "gedi" and unclean animals that are not in the same category as sheep and cattle. One would therefore be permitted to cook the meat of an unclean animal in milk for purposes other than eating.MOTHER'S MILK in Hebrew ["Chalav Ymo"] can also mean "milk of its type" and not of another kind from a different source.
Taking all the implications together, the expression "You shall not boil a young goat in its mother's milk" may be read from the Hebrew as saying:
You shall not boil, roast, or otherwise prepare the flesh of sheep or cattle in milk of either sheep or cattle. Neither shall you benefit from such admixtures!
This is the Rabbinical Law which in this case is in effect the Literal Hebrew at its basic level!
Other explanations exist that in effect complement the one given by Rabbi Mecklenberg. Mosaic Law is that of the Rabbis!