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Jewish Journal

How kosher is your milk?

by Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz

June 20, 2012 | 1:14 pm

Cows feed at the Pastime Lakes Dairy Farm, part of California Dairies Inc., in Hemet. Photo by Ruaridh Stewart/ZUMApress.com

Cows feed at the Pastime Lakes Dairy Farm, part of California Dairies Inc., in Hemet. Photo by Ruaridh Stewart/ZUMApress.com

On our wedding day last year, my wife and I decided that, due to our Jewish convictions, we would no longer drink milk or consume any dairy products. This is a vow we have remained deeply committed to, but we never expected it to become mainstream. Then we found out that one of the greatest Jewish legal authorities in America, Rabbi Herschel Schachter, has made public that he had stopped consuming dairy products due to kashrut concerns. I now feel our once-private decision is worthy of a discussion on a larger level.

Jewish law prohibits consuming the milk of a treifah (an animal that is sick or injured, and therefore unkosher); the Talmud lists 18 different organic diseases or conditions, and the Rambam has 70. However, because the milk we buy in stores today comes from different cows and is all mixed up, as long as we know that the majority of the milk comes from healthy cows, then we may consider it all kosher without any examination.

Read the rest of the story on Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz’ blog Social Justice Rav.

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