Shabbat Chol Hamoed Sukkot: Pastrami, Cream Cheese, Paganism & Messiah




What’s the common denominator between pastrami, cream cheese, paganism, and the Messiah?

One word: Sukkot.

The conclusion of today’s Sukkot Torah reading speaks about the prohibition of mixing milk and meat. What connection does this have with Sukkot?

The answer provides us with a formula to deal with one of the most fundamental challenges in life. All healthy structures are built on a balance between boundaries and confluence. This is especially true for Judaism. The big question is how do we find the proper balance between the two?


For example: We are not allowed to mix milk and meat. Yet, we are commanded to mix the Four Kinds (the palm frond, the willow and myrtle branches, and the citron), and unite them under one sukkah. Why?

Furthermore, the mystics teach that mixing milk and meat (though forbidden now) will be permitted when the Messiah comes. What’s this all about?

To begin with, the pagans would mix milk and meat during the ingathering of crops, which coincides with Sukkot, the harvest festival of booths.

What is the difference between the pagan version and the Jewish version of mixing, mingling and uniting? 

The answer is what this sermon is all about. 


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