Jewish Dairy Wisdom at Rosh Hashana

Rosh Hashanah Greeting
Image by Center for Jewish History, NYC via Flickr

Jewish Dairy Wisdom

Today (Thursday, September 29, 2011) is a day
of celebration for the Jewish people. It's Rosh
Hashana, the Jewish New Year. Welcome to the year
5,772 on the Hebrew calendar. Rosh Hashana represents
both a happy day and serious day. It is a time for
introspection and spiritual preparation for the
coming year.

I receive more than one thousand emails each day
which usually include at least one variation upon
the same theme asking the following question:

"As a Jew, how do you come to terms with God's promise
to Moses to deliver him to a land flowing with milk
and honey?"

One must consider the sweetness of freedom.

In the Old Testament, Moses was promised a "Land flowing
with milk and honey." Egyptian Jews lived in slavery.
First-born infants were put to death. Exodus represented
a promise. A world in which milk flowed from breast-feeding
mothers who would often nurture their children, one from
each breast, with the sweetness of freedom.

There are more than 7 billion people who share planet
earth, and of those, a mere 13 million are Jews. One
out of every 500 person is a Jew, which makes us
a rarity, indeed. The most important of all Jewish
surnames is Cohen, which means 'priest.' In Judaism,
one out of every 500 or so Jews is named Cohen, so I
belong to an extremely small minority of people
representing one out of 250,000 people on this planet.

Upon reaching their 13th birthday, Jewish boys and
girls read a passage from the Torah (5 books of Moses)
in front of their congregations, in celebration of that
day in which they become adults. There are many tens of
thousands of different Torah passages, but mine was
very special, for it predicted my destiny. I did not
know it then, but my Torah reading predicted that
out of 7 billion, I would become the Notmilkman.

The words which I read in Hebrew that day more than four
decades ago included the story of Moses and the Ten
Commandments, and ended with Exodus 32:35.

In that passage, Moses was walking down Mount Sinai holding
onto the Ten Commandments. God had promised to deliver the
Jews to that land filled with "Milk and Honey," but the Jews
had turned their backs to God and constructed a baby cow to
worship. In fury, God called them a "stiffed-necked people"
and told Moses that he was going to destroy them all and
build a new race in the image of Moses. Moses talked God
into reconsidering his position and God then instructed
Moses to gather his soldiers and kill the three thousand
people responsible for such blasphemy. That is what the
Bible tells us. And then, after the guilty parties were

"Then the Lord sent a plague upon the people, for
what they did...." Exodus-32:35

Moses was a sheep-herder, a shepherd.
He was not a cow herder, or coward.

In those days people drank sheep and goat's milk. The
average dairy cow only yielded one quart of milk each day,
not enough to feed the multitudes.

What was the plague that God sent to all of the all of mankind? I have asked this question of
priests and rabbis, Judaic scholars who study Torah. Their
response is that the Torah does not state specifically what
that "plague" or punishment was. Biblical writers had no
microscopes. Nor did they, in their wildest dreams, imagine
our biotechnology. Cells, amino acids, proteins were all
impossible to imagine.

Imagine that you have before you a bowl containing twenty-
eight marbles, each one a different color. You are
blindfolded and asked to pick out the purple one. What are
the odds of doing this? If you answer, one out of twenty-
eight, you would be correct.

There are twenty-eight different amino acids, the building
blocks of life. These amino acids make up the proteins of
our bodies, complicated chains of chemicals, like separate
beads on a strand of a necklace, which form our hair and
skin and flesh and organs and hormones, and which act as
chemical messengers.

Instead of a bowl containing marbles, let us imagine that
same bowl contains the 28 different amino acids and let us
substitute phenylaline for the purple marble. The odds of
picking phenylaline out from all of the others is also one
out of twenty-eight.

Now imagine two bowls. What are the odds of randomly
picking out the purple marble, or phenylaline, twice in a
row? That number works out to be one out of seven-hundred
and eighty-four. Don't bet the rent money on successfully
picking two in a row! Three bowls? That would be nearly
22,000 to one. After five bowls, we approach the
improbable...17 million to one. Perhaps that is why few
people win lotteries. Six bowls and the odds increase to
nearly one in one-half billion. Ten bowls would be 280
trillion to one and fourteen bowls would be one chance in
five-thousand million trillion tries.

Imagine seventy bowls. I could try to calculate the number
for the next month and still not be able to write it out.
That number would be greater than the total number of atoms
in the universe.

One very special protein hormone contains 70 amino acids.
This hormone happens to be the most powerful growth hormone
produced in the human body. Discovered only twenty years
ago, this powerful growth factor resembled insulin, so an
unnamed scientist called it insulin-like growth factor, or

There are four thousand animals in the animal kingdom and
millions of different proteins. Each protein is different,
save one. There is a miracle of nature at work here...a
cosmic coincidence that is so improbable as to approach the
unthinkable. IGF-I in humans and cows is identical. A
protein hormone containing seventy amino acids...a perfect
match, picking the same amino acid seventy times in a row
from seventy different bowls. ur most powerful growth
hormone is identical to a cow's most powerful growth
hormone. IGF-I, both in humans and bovines, contains 70
amino acids in the same exact order and gene sequence. A
coincidence, the odds of which are astronomical. Seventy
bowls. Seventy amino acids. An event that could hardly
have occurred randomly.

One protein, exactly alike in humans and cows. IGF-I. The
odds of that occurring, astronomical.

A study published in the May 9, 1998 issue of the British
medical journal, Lancet, revealed the absolute correlation
of high levels of this powerful hormone in the bodies of
women with breast cancer. IGF-I has made front page news in
every newspaper in America as a result of that paper. Many
months earlier, a similar study found IGF-I levels elevated
in males with prostate cancer. The prostate cancer study
was published in the journal Science in January of 1998.
Many scientists call our most powerful growth hormone the
key factor in the growth and proliferation of cancer. What
these scientists do not realize is that IGF-I is identical
in humans and cows. One 12-ounce glass of milk doubles the
amount of free IGF-I in the human body.

God sent a "plague" upon all of the people.

God's gift to man was the Ten Commandments. Had the Israelis
not insulted their deity by building a graven image in the
form of a baby cow while Moses received those immortal
tablets, God might very well have added commandment number
eleven: Don't drink the milk.

Instead, angered by the "stiffed-neck people" for their
blasphemous sin, God exacts his immediate revenge upon the
3,000 who built that baby cow by killing them. He then
curses all of mankind with an eternal revenge in Exodus

"And then God sent a plague upon all of the people."

Got milk? Got IGF-1, the key factor in the growth and
proliferation of every human cancer. See:

Robert Cohen

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