By Robert Cohen Executive Director Text Only

Lizzy's Bat Mitzvah
Jennifer (17), Lizzy (13) & Sarah (16)

Lizzy's Bat Mitzvah

On Saturday (October 5, 2002), Lizzy celebrates her Bat
Mizvah. In the Jewish religion, a mitzvah is a good deed or
blessing, but the literal translation is "commandment." Bat
Mitzvah means daughter of commandment. My three daughters
are all now young women.

The coming of age (13) means that a child becomes an adult.
During the past year, Lizzy had studied the Torah, and part
of her ceremony is to read a passage from the orignal Hebrew
in front of the congregation. Her passage was from Genesis,
in the beginning.

As I listened to her medlodic chantings during the past
year, I recalled my own Bar Mitzvah in the 1960s.

There are tens of thousands of possible Torah portions that
a young child could be assigned to read, based upon one's
day of birth, the Jewish calendar, and the rabbi's
discretion, divinely inspired, of course. Lizzy's beginning
represented the first day of her adult life.

My beginning was a foreshadowing of my own destiny. My Torah
portion included this passage:

EXODUS - 32:35

"Then the LORD sent a plague upon the people, for what they

In the book of Exodus (not the movie version), Moses was
walking down Mount Sinai holding the Ten Commandments. God
had promised to deliver the Jews to a 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 killed, God sent a plague unto all mankind.

Science and religion merge as one into a magnificent truth.
The odds of what happened, that number exceeds the total
number of sub-atomic particles in the universe.

Moses was a sheep-herder, a shepherd. In those days, people
drank sheep and goat's milk, not cow'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 the tools of our biotechnology. Cells, amino
acids, proteins were all impossible to imagine.

There are four thousand mammals in the animal kingdom and
hundreds of millions of different proteins. Each protein is
unique to each species, save one. There is a miracle of
nature at work here...a "cows-mic" coincidence that is so
improbable as to approach the unthinkable. Insulin-like
growth factor-I (IGF-I) in humans and cows is identical.

Our 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
sequence. A coincidence, the odds of which are astronomical.

One very special protein hormone contains 70 amino acids.
This hormone happens to be the most powerful growth hormone
produced in the human body.

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 for building the
baby cow.

In celebrating my Bar Mitzvah, I chanted verses in which
Moses spoke to the Amorites and Hittites and Canaanites. As
a small boy of 13 years, I became a man by reading my future
destiny.  I was to become the man who would one day come to
realize the significance of EXODUS 32:35 more than thirty
years later, after reading that same chapter at age 13. All
at once, it dawned on me, a new dawn. Talk about cow- about a Cohen-cidence!

Robert Cohen, author of:   MILK A-Z
Executive Director (
Dairy Education Board

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