A Little Clarity – Halachic Questions via Text Message

Due to the space limitations of a text message, please note that it is particularly important to read carefully, pay close attention to the context of the question, and use the answers as a springboard for further study.

Q: Why do we read the Megillah twice on Purim?  Isn’t once enough to remember what happened?

A: It is reminiscent of the (hidden) miracle of the Purim story – a miracle that resulted from the Jews’ crying out to the Almighty in prayer both day and night (Rashi, cited by Mishnah Berurah 687:2).

Q: How do you check a hard-boiled egg for blood spots?  Does it matter if they are farm-fresh?

A: Since most (even farm-fresh) eggs do not have blood, when it’s not possible to check before cooking (e.g. hard boiled) they are permitted without checking (Aruch Hashulchan 66:32).

Q: If a label states that a product contains 100% raw, organic, cold pressed juice, does it need a hechsher?

A: It does not need a hechsher.

Q: Why do we need a bris milah?

A: The Almighty made a pact with Avraham to have a special relationship with him and his descendants after him.  He wanted the bodies of their male offspring to be permanently marked with a sign that would represent this special relationship; the bris is that sign of the covenant  between G-d and the Jewish people.

Q: Why does a baby have to be redeemed from a Kohen at a Pidyon Haben?

A: By sparing the Jewish firstborn during the the tenth plague of death of the firstborn in Egypt, the Almighty acquired them in the sense that they would be obligated to serve as His priests and leaders of the people.  The Torah refers to the status conferred by this “ownership” as sanctification.  Later, their complicity in the sin of the Golden Calf disqualified them to serve in this role and they were replaced by others that were not involved in the sin – the tribe of Levi, with the descendants of Aaron as the actual replacement priests.  The firstborn’s special sanctity (i.e. legal status), however, still remained.  Pidyon Haben means Redemption of the Child.  “Redemption” is a term used throughout the Torah to indicate a process used to remove a special legal status from an entity so it will become ordinary.  In the case of Pidyon Haben, the Kohen serves as G-d’s agent to remove the firstborn’s duty to serve as priest and leader by receiving five silver coins from the parents.  

Q: If we are not allowed eat meat and milk together, how could it be OK to eat cheese made with rennet (even if it’s kosher rennet)?!

A: There are more than sixty times the amount of milk than the amount of rennet, so the meat is nullified and it’s like you are just eating dairy.

Q: Don’t the rules state that if it changes the flavor or affects the texture its not acceptable

A: Regarding the rule that texture prevents nullification, it applies when treif is mixed with kosher food and says that the treif doesn’t loose it’s prohibited status. i.e. it can only MAINTAIN the status of treif.  In this case, you don’t have anything that’s treif yet since it’s kosher rennet. Application of the texture rule would be CREATING treif.  It does not do so, therefore nullification is not impeded.

Q: But isn’t there a rule that you can’t mix milk and meat together even in a proportion that will be nullified?

A: That rule only says you cannot mix them together for the purpose of nullifying something prohibited but if it is for some other purpose which cannot otherwise be accomplished it is permitted.  Here the purpose is to create cheese.

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Filed under Halachic Issues, Holidays, Kashruth, Special Occasions, Text Message Halacha

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