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Ask the Rabbi #108

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Ask the Rabbi

8 June 1996; Issue #108

  • Mad Cows and Englishmen
  • Father's Wedding
  • Tricky Yiddle Riddle
  • Subscription Information
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  • Mad Cows and Englishmen

    Rene Leermakers wrote:

    Dear Rabbi,

    I am wondering whether Jewish law would have prevented the mad-cow-disease problems in the UK. Kosher animals are largely herbivorous and I have always thought that this is not accidental. Is it forbidden to eat cows that eat meat? Shalom

    Dear Rene Leermakers,

    No, it's not forbidden to eat cows that eat meat. In this sense, Kashrut laws would not necessarily protect people from eating 'mad-cows.'

    But you're right: It's not accidental that kosher animals are largely herbivorous:

    Rabbi S.R. Hirsch writes that vegetables - in some respects - are the preferred food for a person's spirituality. In the animal world, herbivores are the most desirable for food: Since they eat only plants, they are nearer to the plant world than the carnivores.

    Rabbi Hirsch draws a second parallel between kosher animals and plants:

    Kosher animals have four stomachs: The food passes through two stomachs, goes up to the mouth and is chewed again, and is then sent down to the other two stomachs. "Thus," writes Rabbi Hirsch, "these animals spend a great deal of time in the absorption of food, which may be termed the vegetative activity of animals." In this respect, kosher animals are more 'planty' than carnivores, which have short intestines and spend little time in the passive, plant-like digestive activity.

    Speaking of mad cows:

    Two cows are having a chat (sh*moo*zing?) in the English countryside:

    One cow says to the other: "Bert, aren't you worried about this terrible new disease that everyone's talking about?"

    "Not at all," answers Bert.

    "Why not?"

    "Because I'm a squirrel."

    Father's Wedding

    David Bitton wrote:

    Dear Rabbi,

    Is one halachically allowed to attend the marriage of a parent? For example my mother passed away many years ago, and my father is now remarrying. I've heard that it is not permissible for the children to attend the wedding, is there any basis for this?

    PS If you could reply ASAP I would appreciate it, the wedding is next Sunday.

    Dear David Bitton,

    Yes, there is a basis for this. According to widespread custom, children do not attend a parent's second marriage. One logical explanation is that the children's presence is a reminder of the first spouse, and could thus mar the joy of the occasion.

    I asked Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, shlita, about this custom. He gave the following explanation: Children have an obligation to respect their parents even after the parents have passed away. Attending the marriage of a surviving parent would be disrespectful to the deceased parent.


    • Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh De'ah 240:9 & Rema

    Tricky Yiddle Riddle

    At the end of Moshe's life, Hashem shows Moshe the entire land of Israel. But where does the Torah indicate that Moshe saw Chevron long before that?

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