Why Jews Laugh at Themselves
A year or two ago I was told a joke by a friend who had heard it from a friend of his, an Orthodox Jew, who in turn had heard it from an ultra-Orthodox Jew. It had to do with the biblical injunction, “Thou shalt not boil a kid in its mother’s milk,” from which the ancient rabbis derived the prohibition against mixing meat with dairy in any form.
Moses, the joke goes, while copying down these words from God’s mouth on Mount Sinai, looks up and says: “Lord, you obviously wouldn’t be bothering us with a law that’s just about baby goats. You must mean that we shouldn’t eat any kosher animal at all that’s boiled in its mother’s milk.”
About the Author
Hillel Halkin is a columnist for the New York Sun and a veteran contributor to COMMENTARY. Portions of the present essay were delivered at Northwestern University in March as the Klutznick Lecture in Jewish Civilization.