Kil'ayim (prohibition)

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Halakhic texts relating to this article
Torah:Leviticus 19:19 and Deuteronomy 22:9-11
Jerusalem Talmud:Tractate Kilayim
Mishneh Torah:Hilchot Kilayim
Shulchan Aruch:Yoreh De'ah, 295-304

Kil'ayim (or Klayim) (Hebrew: כלאים‬, lit. "Mixture," or "Diverse kinds") are the prohibitions in Jewish law about planting certain mixtures of seeds, grafting, mixtures of plants in vineyards, crossbreeding animals, working a team of different kinds of animals together, and mixing wool and linen in garments.

The prohibitions are derived from the Torah in Lev. 19:9 and Deuteronomy 22:9-11, and the Mishnah in tractate Kilayim, which has a Gemara in the Jerusalem Talmud, further elaborates on the applicable circumstances.

There is a debate whether GMO food is kil'ayim or permissible.[1]


The Torah (Lev. 19:19; Deut. 22:9–11) lists several different examples of mixtures that are prohibited as mixed species. The halakha classifies the prohibitions under the following categories:[2]

  • interbreeding of animals of different species
  • planting mixed seeds
  • grafting of different species of trees
  • shatnez - mixing wool and linen in garments
  • planting grain or greens in a vineyard
  • ploughing or doing other work with two different species of animal.

Permissive instances[edit]

Although Torah law forbids klayim (shatnez) – "intertying" wool and linen together, with the two exceptions being garments of kohanim and tzitit. Concerning tzitzit, chazal permit using wool and linen strings in tandem only when genuine tchelet is available, whereas kabbalist sources take it a step further by encouraging its practice.[3] However, klayim of animals and seeds are essentially excluded from any permissive instances.


  1. ^ Marlene-Aviva Grunpeter (October 8, 2013). "GMOs, A Global Debate: Israel a Center for Study, Kosher Concerns". Epoch Times. Retrieved March 1, 2017.
  2. ^ Wald, Stephen (2007). "Kilayim". In Skolnik, Fred. Encyclopedia Judaica (2nd ed.). Detroit, MI.: Macmillan Reference. ISBN 978-002-865-928-2.
  3. ^ "Tzitzit made of klayim?". Retrieved 2015-02-17.