Selected Halachos Related to Parshas Bo
By Rabbi Doniel Neustadt
The following is a discussion of Halachic topics related to the Parsha of the week.
For final rulings, consult your Rav.
But against all the Jewish people no dog shall whet its tongue... (11:7)
As a reward for this, the Torah advises that treifah meat be given to the dogs (Rashi, Pesachim 22a)
Non-Kosher Pet Food
Does one have to check the ingredients of dog or cat food to make sure it is kosher?
Pet food need not be kosher. It may not, however
contain basar b'chalav (a mixture of cooked meat and milk). The
reason is that the Torah forbids one to derive any benefit from
basar b'chalav. If it happened that meat and milk wer
inadvertently cooked together in one's kitchen, it would be
prohibited to serve that mixture to the household pet.
However, the only basar b'chalav mixture from which it is
prohibited to derive benefit is a meat and milk mixture which
the Torah forbids one to eat (asur min ha-Torah). If the
prohibition is of Rabbinic origin (asur mi-d'Rabbanan), it is
permitted to derive benefit from the mixture (1).
Only meat which was cooked over a fire [or if it was placed in a
utensil which was once over a fire--kli rishon] (2) with milk is
prohibited. If the meat was just soaked in milk [even if spices
were added to the milk], it is permitted. If the meat was fried
or deep-fried in a dairy substance, although there are some
poskim (3) who allow its usage, the majority do not (4).
The meat of fowl, when cooked together with milk [which is
forbidden to eat only mi-d'Rabbanan], may be fed to a pet (5).
All chayah (non-domestic kosher beast) meat, e.g. deer, buffalo
etc., cooked together with milk [which is forbidden to eat only
mi-d'Rabbanan], may be fed to a pet (6).
Meat of non-kosher species of animals, e.g. horse meat, that is
cooked together with milk, may be fed to a pet (7).
Some poskim hold that whey is not considered "milk" in regard to
this halachah (8).
There is a disagreement among the poskim concerning meat from a
kosher animal which was rendered non-kosher, either because it
was terminally ill (treifah) or because it was not slaughtered
properly (neveilah). The Rambam (9) holds that benefit may be
derived from this type of meat. [According to this view, the
milk in which the meat was cooked would also be permitted (10).]
Many other poskim, however, hold that one may not derive benefit
from this type of meat and it may not be served to a pet (11)
This seems to be the majority opinion (12).
The majority of the poskim agree that a mixture which cannot be
served to one's own pet cannot be fed to another person's pet
either, or even to a stray animal (13).
It follows, therefore, that one has to check the ingredients
of pet food to determine whether it contains a mixture of kosher
animal meat cooked together with milk. Similarly, on Pesach one
must check for any chametz ingredients before feeding a food
item to his pet.
If a forbidden mixture of basar b'chalav was inadvertently
purchased or otherwise obtained, it may not be given to a
non-Jew. Neither may it be disposed of in a way that another
person could derive benefit from it, nor may it be burned, since
the ashes and coals of basar b'chalav are also prohibited, and
another person may come to derive benefit from them. The mixture
can only be buried, thrown into a river or flushed down the
Some poskim maintain that such a mixture may not remain in
one's possession at all but must be disposed of as soon as one
becomes aware of it (15).
1 Rama Y.D. 87:1.
2 R' Akiva Eiger Y.D. 81 based on O.C. 318:9
3 Chavas Da'as Y.D. 87; Aruch ha-Shulchan 87:11
4 Pri Megadim 87:1; Chochmas Adam 40:1; R' Akiva Eiger 87.
5 Y.D. 87:3.
8 There is a disagreement on this issue among the poskim, bu
many are lenient - see Badei ha-Shulchan 87:75.
9 On Mishnah Kerisus 3, quoted by Dagul Mi-revavah Y.D. 87, who
holds that one may rely on this view so as not to incur a loss.
10 Chasam Sofer Y.D. 92. See also Chazon Ish Y.D. 22 who seems
to oppose this.
11 Chasam Sofer Y.D. 92; Pri Megadim (pesicha); Chavas Da'as
Y.D. 94:4 and others.
12 Badei ha-Shulchan Y.D. 87:25.
13 Mishnah Berurah O.C. 248:27-28. See Sha'ar ha-Tziyon (75) who
quotes a more lenient view. See also Sdei Chemed vol.1, pg. 62.
14 Entire paragraph based on Pri Megadim Y.D. 87; Pische
Teshuvah Y.D. 87:2; Aruch ha-Shulchan 87:7
15 See Badei ha-Shulchan Y.D. 87:8 who questions this
Weekly-Halacha, Copyright © 1999 by Rabbi Neustadt, Dr. Jeffrey Gross and
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Rabbi Neustadt is the principal of Yavne
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