Kilayim – Commandment against Genetic Modification

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Should there be hybrid plants to eat? If so, what are the consequences? A Torah view.

Guest Author

“S”


Note:

Kil’ayim (Hebrew: כלאים, lit. Mixture or Confusion) is the fourth tractate of Seder Zeraim (“Order of Seeds”) of the Mishnah and of theTalmud. It deals with the laws of various forbidden production and uses of mixtures, as provided in Leviticus 19:19 and Deuteronomy22:9-11. Specifically, it discusses planting mixtures of seeds, grafting, mixtures of vineyards, crossbreeding animals, working with a team of different kinds of animals, and shaatnez (clothes containing a mixture of linen and wool). There is a Gemara from the Jerusalem Talmud.

Kil’ayim vs Monocropping

Kil’ayim/כלאים is one of those troublesome commandments for a God-fearer today who wants to keep Torah, because its interpretation seems so opposite logic and even God’s own actions.

Kil’ayim is actually a group of commandments, having to do with not mixing things- not to wear linen and wool together, not to wear clothing of the opposite sex, not to plow with a donkey and an ox yoked together, not to breed a hybrid of animals, and not to plant different kinds of seed in your field (in one place field is written, in the other vineyard).

Wait a minute… everything seemed logical up until that last commandment.

Mono-cropping has wrecked many a field, and there are some great organic farming techniques that essentially use other plants as fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides, thus relieving the plants, the land, and ultimately, our stomachs, of tons of inorganic chemicals.

The understanding amongst just about everyone today is that this commandment forbids planting two types of seed in the same field, and the translation gives you no other option.

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Source of current interpretation

I’ll prove what this commandment really is, firstly through context.

The other commandments listed next to these commandments have to do with mixing, especially in Leviticus19:19: 

“My commandments you will keep, thine animals thou shall not breed hybrid, thy field thou shall not sow hybrid.

*** Note:

” Sorry for the thous, I’m trying to give you a word for word translation for the original Hebrew, specifically thou and not ya’ll are being commanded; each one of us are responsible for this.

In Hebrew there is no reason to say, shall not sow hybrid seed, because sow is the same root as seed/זרע, so it would say: thou shall not seed hybrid seed, which is needed in English, but just redundant in Hebrew.

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Mixing DNA from 2 different sources

Interpretation based on ancient and modern technology

So if the Torah were given today, what do you guys think the commandment would be?

Not to sow GM (genetically modified/engineered) crops!

But wait, ancient people didn’t know how to GM, that’s one of the wonders of the 21st century, right?

Wrong.

Ancients figured out all sorts of farming techniques, and some would graft plants, which was the earliest genetic modification and causes gene swapping.

According to the commandment, you’re allowed to graft and eat the fruit, but not to plant the seed.

So what if it falls to the ground on accident?

Chances are, accidents aren’t enough for a random, accidental hybrid to take over a farm full of properly planted, organic seed.

But if people were doing it on purpose, then maybe it would be meant to take over, and maybe it would have qualities considered to be “better” by our human minds.

Today this is very much the case.

So historically, there was genetic engineering, including gene swapping at the time the Torah was given, and here YHWH was simply telling us not to do that.

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Perverting Creation, and Pharisee Law to avoid this

Israelites entered Israel knowing not to break this law, and there was Ruah Hakodesh (Holy Spirit) so that no-one thought to do this ungodly thing of splicing plants and perverting creation, and if they did I’m sure they were rebuked by YHWH for it, as he does so often throughout the Tanach/Old Testament.

Pharisees were the ultimate holier-than-thous, and used to invent all sorts of new rules to “serve God better,” which Yeshua rebuked them for in the Gospel.

The Pharisees invented tefillin, all sorts of rules for Shabbath, hand-washing obsession, and for the purpose of this article, the law not to sow certain plants together.

After a thousand years of most likely keeping this commandment, there were no traditions on how to keep it, since it was easy NOT to accidentally splice genes.

Positive commandments have rich traditions that can be used for God’s glory, negative commandments are simply not done.

These “great ones” interpreted the Torah and didn’t know about GM because it wasn’t done in Israel, and decided that the verse must mean not to plant different seeds in the whole field.

It’s OK that they made a mistake, but people today need to wake up and realize that they’re fallible humans and erred, and we need to move on and use organic farming techniques that involve planting multiple species of seeds.

Shiloh is the Moshiach, Yeshua, and he took the סמכות/authority away from the Rabbis, so we cannot take their interpretations, the leaven of the Pharisees, on faith without first going back to the Torah.

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Consequences of this erroneous interpretation of the law:

There are farmers today in Israel who are considered Torah-observant who buy GM seeds, plant them mono-crop, and then pour any sorts of chemicals that can help- for color, pesticide, herbicide, etc.

They’re sinning twice-

(1) once against YHWH by sowing a GM seed (notice, the commandment is not against doing GM, or making seeds, or eating the fruit, but against sowing GM seeds in your field) and

(2) once against Mother Earth by polluting her with said seed and chemicals, and not using organic methods because of the Rabbinic law.

And since she’s the Holy Land, sinning against her is sinning against YHWH seven-fold.

The Garden of Eden should be enough to show how wrong the Pharisees were… was God sinning since there were many types of trees in the same garden?

This is actually a very effective growing method, and there are places where people are self-sufficient from a diversified garden on a very small plot of land.

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The “cell” and the “hybrid” concept

Also, the Hebrew word כלא kele, is a cognate to the Greek kalia and amazingly to the English cell.

In Hebrew the connotation is generally a prison cell, and in English it can also be a genetic cell.

Genetic cells were named after prison cells- think about it, they’re separate, nutrients need to pass through a cell-barrier/guard, etc.

Most importantly the cells have their own unique properties.

The Hebrew word that I translated as “hybrid” is כלאים/kil’ayim, or two cells!

The ayim ending is only in certain words to mean two things that are together, and with the understanding that ancient people did splice genes, that this is undoubtedly a commandment against GM.

Problem with hybrid seeds (“cells”)

Companies like Monsanto are very evil and probably satanic.

They are patenting God’s creation.

It is impossible to sin without breaking a commandment.

So if there’s no command against GM, they must be a good company, right?

The thing that’s particularly bad with them is that you can’t plant the seed that you get from most of their plants, as they are infertile.

They use different plants to mass produce seeds that can only be used once, and are so hybridized that they can’t even give fertile offspring!

They have bought God’s creation and are selling it at a price!

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Effect on Sabbatical Year Crops

Also, because of dependence on GM growing, no one’s really keeping שמיטה/Sabbatical years or יובל/Jubilee, since God’s blessing won’t cause the plants to grow on the 7th and 50th years unless we keep ALL of his commandments.

We’ve got a lot more to work on other than kil’ayim, but if the seed is cursed, so will the harvest be!

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We are allowed to do a lot! – fertile hybrids

We can plant any combination of plants in the same field, and we can change the properties of a species by working together with it.

Luther Burbank was an expert on this subject. The “Plant Wizard,” developed more than 800 strains and varieties of plants over his 55-year career.

Burbank’s varied creations included fruits, flowers, grains, grasses, and vegetables. He developed a spineless cactus (useful for cattle-feed) and the plumcot. (source: wikipedia, recommend reading more.)

He did this without splicing genes like today or splicing plant segments like in earlier days.

His “hybrids” were obtained by encouraging plants similar enough to pollinate one another to do so.

He never combined a human with a rice or a frog with a tomato- that can only be done by splicing, and YHWH commands us not to do that with the commandment of Kilayim.

A famous quote of his (also taken from wikipedia, is it a crime?)

“I love humanity, which has been a constant delight to me during all my seventy-seven years of life; and I love flowers, trees, animals, and all the works of Nature as they pass before us in time and space.

What a joy life is when you have made a close working partnership with Nature, helping her to produce for the benefit of mankind new forms, colors, and perfumes in flowers which were never known before; fruits in form, size, and flavor never before seen on this globe; and grains of enormously increased productiveness, whose fat kernels are filled with more and better nourishment, a veritable storehouse of perfect food—new food for all the world’s untold millions for all time to come.”

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Rewards of Obedience and Jubilee

This is what God wants us to do: To be The Gardeners of Eden.

All in all, we have to understand that the blessings of YHWH come to those who keep ALL of his mitzwoth (commandments).

Hypothetically someone wouldn’t have to believe in Yeshua, but living in Israel, I see more and more that people think that they know the Father, and don’t, have no idea about the Mother (Holy Spirit), but a Jew who knows the Son knows all three.

Yeshua told us that we needed the commandments because our hearts were hard.

In ancient Hebrew heart (לב) is also mind.

A spiritual person full of love with an open mind often feels drawn to good food and organic agriculture, but doesn’t realize he has scripture on his side also.

If our hearts are hard (meaning we’re anything less than Moshe or Yeshua) then we need to follow commandments, but often good God-fearers keep them intuitively without even knowing them.

God says that only if we keep ALL of his mitzwoth he’ll make the rain come (especially important in Israel), and the plants grow and the harvest come in it’s season and we will eat and be satisfied and bless YHWH.

The land even would bring forth yield on the Sabbatical years and the Jubilees- when no seed had been planted!

We live in the same world, have the same God, have more or less the same Torah, and some of us even live in the same land.

With Yeshua it’s easier to keep the commandments, since he took the authority away from the Rabbis put our priorities in order, and showed us how to live by example.

We can have all of these things happen, but Jubilee will never happen in a field sown with genetically modified seeds.


12 Responses to “Kilayim – Commandment against Genetic Modification”

  1. Hi Marianne,
    It go’s back to the age old problem, man knows better than the Creator of all. We haven’t learned by our mistakes, and don’t look as if we are ever going to learn.

  2. Awesome Article, thanks for sharing🙂

  3. I love all the Levitical law which, at the time, was not understood but obeyed. Knowledge has increased and now understands the emotional and physical benefits from many of the Levitical laws concerning foods, health practices, and so forth. The things you just discussed is unfamiliar to me. I look forward to studying it more. But my husband and myself have learned over the years that hybrid seeds are inferior to the non-hybrids. We continue to gather seeds from the old timers, so to speak, and we save those seeds year to year and pass them out to neighbors and friends. For the past two years we have purchased green bean and butterbean seeds that will not bring the fruit to maturity. Makes beautiful climbing vines and puts on loads of blooms but puts on very little fruit. WE know the problem with genetically engineered seeds will worsen. So we continue to build a collection of seeds …even flowers…especially roses called ‘grandma’ plants. So, though I’m no familiar with Kilayim, I clearly see the reasoning in God’s giving us a heads up about the mechanics of seeds. Clearly only HE has the expertise needed to give ‘life’ to a seed.

  4. Nothing succseeds like open pollination in nature; and what else could you
    expect from those sow-and-sow Phariseeds, whom were responsible for the
    germ-in-nation that afflicted the lowly….but we can thank God for the
    F1 (Father) seed Jesus, pure bred and fertilized by the Spirit of God to
    produce a new genus ‘Israel’ and it’s genetically modified unique species
    of olive tree, which produces fruit of varying shades but indistinguishable
    flavour that will never die. Now that’s what I call GM of the highest order;
    God’s Majesty!

    Great article Marianne; thanks…and when you think about it, everything
    starts with a “seed”!…And there’s no place closer to God than in a garden!

    See you there soon!

    God bless you.

  5. The same applies to eating certain foods yet Paul discussed about faith overriding all that.
    Of course I agree with wisdom in healthy living but I hope your not suggesting Christians get back into legalism that the Bible warned against

    • hi Brent

      this has more to do with an aspect of natural law…..than legalism.

      if you plant the wrong thing, you will not get a good result.

      God was instructing Israel as to how to have the best crops.

    • there is a big difference between legalism and following commandments. the problems that started with the pharisees after the maccabee spiritual revolution were based in having hard hearts and minds and not loving one another and God. anyone who takes the Torah which was given by the father, with the testimonies of priests, prophets, and kings, while being lead by the mother (holy spirit) and son, will end up on the right path. we were destined to keep screwing it up until Yeshua (Jesus) would come along and set us all straight. Yeshua is arguably the only Jew who ever kept the entire Torah. He embodied the Torah his whole life long. even in his death he did so, the true passover sacrifice. and so the reason that i wrote this long article is not to add to the torah. it’s to reverse the millenia of mistakes that have prevented this wonderful commandment and piece of advice from being fulfilled. this is my stand against all of that. i wrote all of this so that you can read scripture just how God wrote it- don’t sow your field with hybrid seeds. today that includes GMO seeds. the torah doesn’t say anything about eating GMO fruits, so go for it. but if you’re going to plant a field or a garden anyway, take God’s little piece of advice. you can plant mangos, tomatoes, or whatever you like, but here’s what God recommends and commands. you are holding the word of YHWH in your hands. maybe you think i take it too far for trying to keep all of it. but if you don’t even look in it for advice, what are you reading it for? and if you don’t believe that God’s word is relevant, do you even believe in God?

      • I agree. The word of God is true. When we follow it with a pure heart, we are blessed, and we prosper. If we do not follow it, or follow with an impure heart, we fail to succeed. The Word is there to teach and help us, not put us in bondage.

  6. Marianne and All,

    Outside of mixing traditional seeds, I believe that scripture is alluding to something deeper that is meant to be exacting. In the parable of the sower of the seed, Yahshua states that the “Seed” is the Word of Yah. His Word is Kadosh and to be kept that way in its purity and original intent. It states in the Tanach and the Renewed Covenant that we are not to add to or take away (modify or change) from His Word. The result of such disobedience is being cursed. Regardless of what man does to change Yah’s word, man is not the originator of that change. It has always been and will always be the serpent. When we mix or mingle the Word of Yah with the word (seed) of the serpent, the word that is in us becomes corrupted and we are then enslaved to the serpent. Adding to or taking away basically means to alter something, which is exactly what we are doing when we take out things we don’t like or agree with and add things that are more suitable or more desirable. Take, for example Adam and Eve in the Garden. Yah gave His word to both of them and set up their boundaries of what they could and couldn’t do, basically a commandment. Eat of any of the trees of the Garden, but not of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. They basically saw that the fruit was desirable, but it was heeding the word (seed) of the serpent and eating the fruit which caused the seeds of both Yah and HaSatan to be mingled or mixed. They had introduced, if you will, a genetically different seed to the original Seed of Yah and the result was corruption that has lasted the entire history of mankind and it is still going on today. Don’t misunderstand; no one can corrupt the Word of Yah. What we end up doing is corrupting His Word that is in us. His Word stands alone and He will not share His glory with another. That is why we have two Testaments and basically two different religions right now. We have added in traditions, holidays, and so on that are of no profit, and taken out the things He put in place and said would last forever. We have not guarded His Garden very well and we are reaping the consequences of the ensuing corruption. Only his Word is eternal and sustaining. If Yah tells us not to add to or take away from His Word, it means that neither has He added to or taken away from His Word. His Word is unchanging, something that we can depend on to never change. If that is not so, then our beliefs and theology are evolutionary. Always changing and adapting due to outside pressures, changes, and the passing of time . Yah is not evolutionary, He is creationary. He changes not. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Nothing He has given us in His Word has been relegated to the dust bins of ancient history. Every word is still vibrant and alive and actively engaged in this world and necessary for the perfecting of His people. What we believe concerning Yah and how we proclaim that belief has no benefit whatsoever if we miss the mark. There is enough blame to go around to every entity that claims they have the “God Answer”. Before long we will be revisited by the Two Witnesses and also the 144,000. Their message will be the restoration of all things that Yah, over the millennia, has put in place. We will give up our rebellious ways or pay the price for our rebellion. We might not have started the pagan influences that we find in our religious system today, but we will be held accountable if we do nothing and just go with the flow. You know, “it’s just to hard to buck the system”. Yah knew from the very beginning that man would take that which is profane and mix it with that which is Kadosh. Show me one place in the Scriptures where man, over time, hasn’t corrupted himself by adding to and taking away from the pure Word of Yah. This world and everything in it devolves downward to corruption, not the other way around. He knew it from the beginning. Much to everyone’s chagrin, that is why it is necessary we go through the final purifying that is coming upon this earth. Anyone who thinks that this generation we live in is ready for what is coming needs to get their bifocals on. We, for the most part, follow Mahshiach to have our needs and desires met and to soothe the fear of what is coming. This is what was happening in the time of Yahshua’s ministry. Only his inner circle was given the depth of what He was doing. We need to get back to only the purity of what Yah has put in place with His Word (seed) and allow the corruption caused through the mingling and mixing of seeds to be eradicated by Ruach HaKodesh.

    Be Blessed in Messiah

  7. After years of back-breaking toil in ground ravaged by the effects of man-made growing systems, Paul Gautschi has discovered a taste of what God intended for mankind in the garden of Eden. Some of the vital issues facing agriculture today include soil preparation, fertilization, irrigation, weed control, pest control, crop rotation, and PH issues. None of these issues exist in the unaltered state of nature or in Paul’s gardens and orchards.

    “Back to Eden” invites you to take a walk with Paul as he teaches you sustainable organic growing methods that are capable of being implemented in diverse climates around the world.

    Learn more: backtoedenfilm.com

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