Parshas Ki Setze.


The laws of the prohibitions of forbidden mixtures and shatnez – clothes from wool and linen.


1. The Torah forbids us to mix various plants, animals and clothes. These types of prohibitions generally have to do with the various spiritual roots that can not be mixed together. We already learned about the prohibition against mixing milk and meat – the milk gives life and the meat is prepared by taking it away. Today it is also known that our stomach uses different enzymes for digesting the meat and the dairy products, therefore the meat and milk eaten together is not well digested. We will now discuss the other prohibitions against mixing.


2. In the Land of Israel we are forbidden to plant mixtures of various seeds. Outside the Land of Israel we are only forbidden to plant the grape seeds together with two other types of seeds. There is also a prohibition against grafting different species of trees in all lands.


3. It is forbidden to do work with two types of animals one can not have two species of animals pull a wagon together. It is also forbidden to crossbreed various species of animals.


4. The Torah forbids wearing clothes that have wool and linen. For this reason, we need to check our clothing in special Shatnez laboratories. Sometimes, the label on the suit says 100% wool or 100% linen or even that there is no wool or linen at all, and yet after checking both wool and linen are found in various parts of the cloth. A Rabbi can help you find the Shatnez laboratory near you. 


The laws against wearing clothes of the opposite gender.


1. The Torah forbids for men to wear women’s clothes and for women to wear men’s. This prohibition applies even to one piece of cloth and even if one can still tell the gender of the one wearing it.


2. A woman can not wear pants or jeans even if they are made specifically for women. Besides the fact that pants are considered male clothing, it is also a very immodest cloth for a woman since it emphasizes her figure. According to many opinions, a woman can wear pants under her skirt if it is cold or for other reasons.


3. Even the behavior that is normal for the opposite gender is forbidden. Thus, for example, a man should not beautify himself in front of a mirror, color his hair or shave under his armpits. According to some opinions, in a place where most Jewish men do this, it is permitted. 


The laws of feeding the worker and animal and sending away the mother bird.


1. The Torah commands us to let the worker eat from the food he is working on. This law only applies under certain circumstances, but it is generally a good advice to allow workers to eat in all cases. (Note, that even many non-Jewish companies follow this advice, for it is very hard to work with food without being able to taste it. This is one of the examples of how the nations of the world learn from our Torah, another example is pensions, as the Sefer Hachinuch wrote 700 years ago.)


2. When a person is working using an animal, he should not muzzle it – let the animal eat the food it is working with. This law also applies in select circumstances only and for most people has only theoretical value. Note, that in general it is forbidden for one to eat until he feeds his animals.


3. If we noticed a kosher bird that does not belong to anyone, and it is on its eggs or little ones, we should not take it together with its young. We should send it away and only then take the eggs or the children. Since this mitzvah is very rare, we did not describe it in detail.