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Why I Don’t Eat Animals

I was just interviewed on the blog Heeb ‘n Vegan. Michael Croland, who runs the site, managed to get a lot out of me in very little space — we talk about Muslim punk music, my novel Never Mind the Goldbergs, my vegetarianism — and, randomly, the last book I read, which is Jonathan Safran Foer’s Eating Animals:

It’s hard not to talk about the stories in the book. I’ve stopped multiple dinner conversations because something popped into my head, and I’m really bad about not saying something. Usually in a charming and offbeat and punky way. But, uh, you can’t really say this stuff charmingly.

Judaism isn’t really a religion of choices. In general, in Jewish law, there are no circumstances that get either/or verdicts. You’re either commanded to do something, or you’re commanded not to do it. Being a vegetarian falls into a kind of shady ground. Some people will tell you that Jews are required to eat meat on Shabbos or holidays. Others will say that eating meat is a condescension that God made to people after that whole Noah thing didn’t work out, and the world was full of people with unrealized hostility. (At least that’s sort of the way it’s portrayed in the Torah.) In essence, you can kind of say that Judaism supports either position — that we either have to eat meat, or that eating meat is one of the most base and degrading parts of being human that there is.

matthue roth

He also quoted a line from Goldbergs at me — which, I think, is the highest compliment you can get. It means that you’ve said something that’s affected someone else enough for them to remember it and process it into their brains, and possibly make it part of their thinking. And then he asked me if it was a blueprint for Jewish punk. (The line he quoted was:”I still believed in G-d. I just didn’t believe in other people. I mean, some days, I felt like G-d was the only one who believed back at me.”)

I don’t think anything can be a blueprint for Jewish punk, although it’s awesome that you asked. I think that punk is the idea of taking something in a wild new direction, innovating or mutating it, and I think that the essence of any new development/mutation/pwning in Jewish thought involves going back to the source — to G-d, to the Torah, to the original things that Moses said — and asking ourselves, what’s my relationship to it? And then looking at the relationship that other people and the Greater Jewish World have to those same ideas, and saying that maybe we’ve got to get back to the source.

DIY Judaism is the way that Judaism’s supposed to be. But I think it also means you have to look at the sources and really get to know them, much like food radicals need to read Diet for a New America or political radicals should learn Howard Zinn.

I definitely don’t think I’m at the point of Jonathan Safran Foer, where I can lay out a calm and rational blueprint of each of my beliefs in a wowing and awe-inspiring (although possibly hazardous to your dinner-party conversation) book-length tome — but I guess that’s all part of the discovery process. Whether it’s the food I eat or the God I pray to. Either way, as soon as I’ve got it lined up for sure, I’ll let you know.

Cross-posted to Mixed Multitudes

{ 98 comments… add one }
  • Phil January 16, 2010, 9:48 PM

    Sounds like you’re overdue for a sizzling rib steak on the charcoal.

  • frumgoth January 17, 2010, 10:20 AM

    It’s nice to know there are other Orth. vegetarians out there. I don’t preach to anyone else about what they should eat. Why do so many frummies feel that it is their responsibility to try to get me to eat the way they do (“Can’t you just have a little chicken?”, etc.)

    • Phil January 17, 2010, 10:44 AM

      I think it’s about intent. If a vegan chooses not to eat meat because he doesn’t like the way it tastes or for health reasons, I don’t think he’ll find much opposition.

      But when you get the more merciful than God type, that say killing animals for food is wrong, they are going against the Torah. God gave us the laws of kashrut which, for the most part, involve eating creatures. So when you get some dumbass that believes they know religion better than God does, it’s bound to piss off most frummies.

      • Anonymous January 17, 2010, 4:41 PM

        There are other kosher justifications for choosing vegetarianism. For one thing, there is a reasonable halachic argument that the cruel way most animals are raised now makes meat-eating halachically problematic. See the Jewish Vegetarians of North America, whose head (an Orthodox rav) has written many articles to this effect.

        Another kosher justification is asceticism. It was common for chassidim in the first few generations to be vegetarian, because it was kind of like a way of fasting — not eating something that is tasty and satisfying but not really necessary to your existence. Many well-known Orthodox rabbis have been vegetarian, and it may be for this reason.

        Another kosher reason is kabbalistic. Many sources say that when shochtim don’t have the correct intent while doing the blessing and the slaughtering, the nefesh of the animal is not elevated, and it actually imparts a negative spiritual effect onto the eater’s soul.

        Another possible reason could be based on the ancient mussar text by the Ramak, the Tzfat kabbalist. He says in Tomer Devorah that we should never harm any living thing unless necessary. So if meat-eating isn’t necessary, why do it?

        • Phil January 17, 2010, 6:09 PM

          Anon,

          I suppose when Mashiach shows up the head of the vegetarian frummies wil suggest tofu for korban pesach… Wait isn’t that kitniyot?

          Chassidim actually belive that when you eat an animal, make a bracha on it, and have the proper intent, you sanctify and elevate the animal’s soul. In this case, sparing an animal is actually cruel to it on a spiritual level.

          A few years ago while fishing with my kids, I kept a few for shore lunch. As I landed them, I knocked them out. My kids had this look of pity as the fishes eyes popped and they bled out from the force of the hit. I explained that these were the happiest fish in the lake. Out of the millions of them, they were the few that were lucky enough to be hooked and landed by Jews that would make a bracha on them.

          Eating meat, fish, eggs and dairy products are part of a healthy diet, especially for growing kids that need the protein and fats. Yes, you can force them to eat tofu, beans and flax seeds, but more often than not, the kids won’t eat their proper fill of those replacements and end up lacking elements that are essential to helthy growth and development.

          • josh January 17, 2010, 7:25 PM

            Read the China Study- it is the best epidemiological study (in both depth and breadth) of it’s kind to date.

            It indicates that meat, eggs, and milk are very unhealthy. (Though milk is actually worse than meat, surprisingly enough.) It has to do with the length of time it takes a baby animal to grow to maturity- ie it takes about a year or two for a calf to grow to maturity, while it takes almost 20 years for a baby person to grow to maturity. There is a positive correlation between how long it takes to the species to grow to full maturity and how much protein is found in their milk- cow’s milk has several times more protein than human milk which is why it is dangerous to feed to human babies, kittens, etc (See Dr. Spock’s baby books- it can cause intestinal bleeding etc.)

            Health problems in the western world are generally caused by TOO MUCH protein, not too little (this is a common misconception). Too much protein is actually more dangerous. There is really no difference between drinking cat’s or dog’s milk than there is with us drinking cow’s milk. (except kashrut of course) and yet western society would tell us that it is different somehow. Nutritionally, it’s not. Both are as dangerous. (Plus add the whole growth hormone issue..)

            That said, there is some case to be made for the nutritional value of fish (and most seafood actually, especially shellfish– so we can’t make the case for cow’s milk being that much healthier just on the basis of kashrut, because there are plenty of perfectly healthy seafoods that aren’t permissible), but by and large it has been proven that children who are raised vegetarian (and vegan) tend to be much healthier in the long run (and often several IQ points higher).

            Please do your research.

            • Phil January 17, 2010, 9:07 PM

              Chinese and Japanese are far from being vegetarion, their diet consists of large amounts of fish and seafood, as well as birds, porc, lizards, amphibians and rodents.

              Just because they eat less beef than we do doesn’t qualify them as vegetarians.

              I never saw any study that proved that kids that grew up strictly as vegetarians are smarter of healthier, and I would be very skeptical of any such study being a peta hoax.

              • Anonymous January 17, 2010, 10:44 PM

                And, again, I said read “The China Study”— not copy the Chinese or Japanese diet. The research was largely based in China, as a jumping off point, however such studies do not consist merely of writing down what one group does and then telling them to copy them. They also did scientific and statistical analysis of different foods (see here free range meat versus not, organic milk versus non organic, etc) as well as of the diets of different populations and then with in these different populations compared to how different diseases occur/manifest themselves.

                Furthermore, when they studied the truly traditional Chinese diet, they found that it had far less poultry than you might think (just because American-Chinese food, and even a lot of the McDonald’s/Western-influence food of some of their major cities is this way, doesn’t make it so traditionally). They found the ‘true Chinese diet’ was much more heavily focused on soy, grains, and rice, as well as more fresh fruits and vegetables than the average American child will ever see plus some fish (though, again, far less than most Americans think, as the majority of China is landlocked).

                It was also the study that seemed to indicate that vegetarian/vegan children are healthier and are often smarter (because they tend to get more omega-3 rich foods–such as your much derided flax seeds–which are essential for a healthy brain). Further more, kids will eat what their culture conditions them to think is good to eat and usually will hold this taste for the rest of their life. Ie if you fed a kids from Japan or Greece a Twinkee they are more apt to find it disgusting than a kid from the Mid-West, where as that kid from the Midwest would probably be grossed out by the idea of eating ..say fried scorpions. (of course there are exceptions, but I think we can generally agree on this) If you get a kid (like I think we can assume yours are) hooked on deep fried fatty foods early in life, I think it stands to reason they will probably continue to have an affinity for such foods and it will be harder to get them to eat their veggies. If however, you start a kid on things like tofu or stir fry early on, this will be what they tend to gravitate toward. (For example, I have a friend whose mother never allowed their kids to have juice because it is too sugary, and now as an adult she can’t really bring herself to drink it– it’s too sweet to her)

                Furthermore, there is something to be said about commercialism in cultural conditioning. While you might tell your kids to eat their veggies, if in turn all the food marketing out there is geared toward selling burgers or french fries (because these items essentially lack any nutrition they are easiest to grow, and thus are of the biggest profit to retailers), as well as hearing adults talk about how great cholent is, etc. etc. it is a bit of mixed message. But I can speak from experience that kids who are started on a vegetarian diet early are used to this and don’t have a problem with it (maybe because they have better brain function..)

                Lastly, there is the issue of farming conditions. As one poster stated earlier there is the ecological issue, but there are several other problems. One of the things that the Torah ensures the sabbath, which would’ve been afforded to the animals owned by Jews as well (the only ones in that time that would’ve been available for kosher slaughter). This would’ve assured them at least one day a week of free reign, which factor farmed animals clearly do not have. (that there is enough of a violation for me.) plus the growth hormones, the abusive treatment, etc. it’s all no good. Plus, as we well know long-term stress has a profound physical impact on all living creatures (ex. children who grow up in stressful or violent homes are much more likely to develop heart conditions, asthma, etc). This is because the stressors (be in factory farming conditions or growing up in a tenement) causes
                one to be in chronic “fight or flight” mode, and this constant release of epinephrine (and similar hormones) is very chemically damaging to the body. Do you really think that consuming that critter’s body–and yes their hormones, which don’t all just vanish with the blood being drained–is really such a good idea?

                Wow, I’m amazed how uninformed you are. Crack a fucking book why don’t you.

                (Also, if you are concerned about a ‘PETA conspiracy’ you might want to consider all those “meat is healthy” and “milk is healthy” campaigns and who is financing those… trust me both of those industries have very deep pockets- much deeper than a little non-profit like PETA)

              • .. January 17, 2010, 11:17 PM

                why do my posts keep disappearing?

                • Josh January 18, 2010, 12:00 AM

                  My post disappeared, so I will write a much shorter response:

                  First of all, I said read “The China Study”, not suddenly adhere to the Chinese or Japanese diet. While the study was largely based on Chinese (and some other East Asian diets) as a jumping off point, it considered a variety of factors and diets from numerous countries. The diets were analyzed scientifically/nutritionally as well as statistically (as per the group as a whole). Furthermore, the book’s author (a professor at Cornell) admitted that when he began the study, he set out to prove the opposite, but wound up becoming a vegan himself as a result of the scientific data he found.

                  The traditional Chinese diet was studied, which unlike American-Chinese food or the Western/McDonald’s style influenced food found in some of their major cities actually consists of far less protein etc. that you might think (very very very little). They found that it was largely composed of grains, soy, fruits, veggies, and to a limited extent fish (though, again, less than you would think because the majority of China– especially rural China–is landlocked).

                  Again, medically, we really aren’t meant to eat meat. Our bodies will take basically whatever we give it– people have been known to survive 30 years on fried foods, but I don’t think there are many people who will argue that it is healthy to eat a ton of french fries at every meal–we are essentially garbage disposals. our bodies are just trying to survive, but it doesn’t mean its meant to do that. We do not have the scientific indicators of creatures that thrive on meat– unlike every other carnivore/omnivore (cats, dogs, bears, etc) be do not have large pronounce canines or claw-like fingernails intended for tearing flesh.

                  Furthermore, it was the same author of the China Study who found that children who are raised vegan/vegetarian tended to be healthier and smarter (likely because their diets were higher in Omega 3s– from sources like your much derived flax seeds– which is necessary for good brain function). As far as to getting kids to eat things like, you know.. thing with nutrition, kids eat what their culture tells them is appropriate and will usually continue having a taste for what they are accustomed to eating.

                  For example, you give a kid from Japan or Greece a Twinkee and they will probably find it disgusting (actually, I know this from experience)– where as a kid from the Midwest will eat it without batting an eye. But try and give that same kid some fried scorpions or the like and I am sure you will get a less than stellar response. Yes, it is in part cultural context but it is also the taste to which he is accustomed. (The reason why Americanized ethnic food– ie certain kinds of sushi, Taco Bell, etc– food that bears little to no resemblance to the original ethnic food is popular here, it is Americanized to our tastes.) If you get a child started on healthy food early, that is what they are used to (and pretty much anything else will be weird). In a less drastic though arguably more applicable example, my friend’s mother never allowed her to drink juice growing up (because it basically all refined sugars), and now she can’t really bring herself to drink it. She says it is just too sweet. My siblings on the other hand drink 5 or 6 glasses a day and don’t even think twice. (While there are certainly exceptions, I speaking in the broad strokes here)

                  There is also the issue of cultural values conflicting– sure you tell your kids to eat their vegetables, but all the food marketing out there tells them to eat fries and all they hear is the grown ups talking about how good cholent is, what do you think their perception of eating healthfully will be? If you frame it as a punishment, they will perceive it as one. Moreover, why do you think food marketing is placed so heavily on things like fries, burgers, etc? These are the foods that have the lowest amount of nutrition, and thus are easiest/cheapest to grow. (it is generally true that foods with lower nutritional value have a longer shelf life, because they are fewer components that readily breakdown–again in the broad strokes, but overall this is true). The biggest profit can be made off things like french fries and soda, so who can blame food retailers for pushing these things the most? (If I were on their marketing team, I certainly would.)

                  Again, however, kids who are raised on decent healthful foods (and by extension we will call this vegetarianism for the sake of argument) they are more likely to continue with these habits (by choice) for the rest of their lives (hmm.. perhaps because their brains are functioning better than all those kids with an insufficient amount of Omega 3s in their diet..). If you are giving the kids healthful food on a regular basis (and that is what they are used to), that is what they will eat.

                  It pains me how uninformed you are. Crack a fucking book why don’t you?

                  Also, if you think that studies that say anything contrary to what you might like to think is a “PETA hoax” you might like to consider who funds all those “meat is so healthy” and “Milk is so healthy” campaigns. Big food producers and factory farmers have deep pockets–much deeper than a little non-profit like PETA.

                  • MadMaxInJerusalem January 19, 2010, 2:26 AM

                    “medically, we really aren’t meant to eat meat.”

                    BS. All primates eat meat to varying degrees.

                    Ever hear of Linus Pauling, noble prize winning Chemist? In one of his books he comes to the conclusion that the main culprit for American health problems such as heart disease is not fat / cholesterol intake – but sugar intake. He brings many proofs; here are two:

                    1. Studies of Eskimo populations, which subsisted on traditional diets consisting primarily of meat, fat and fish with virtually zero sugar intake showed virtually no heart disease.

                    2. Looking at the historical data there is a direct correlation between increased sugar intake and increased heart disease rates.

                    Your body manufactures it’s own cholesterol, and that process is stimulated by sugar intake. See this study for example:

                    http://www.hepatitis.org.uk/s-crina/cholesterol.htm

                    Dr. Sheldon Reiser of the USDA has published research in the 1980’s demonstrating that dietary sugar plays a major role in blood cholesterol levels. Reiser has found that a high dietary sugar intake raises blood triglyseride (blood fat) and LDL (“bad”) levels, while lowering HDL (“good”) levels. Reiser’s work indicates that it is the fructose (fruit sugars) component of ordinary white sugar which so powerfully elevates blood cholesterol (white sugars, called sucrose, is a combination of one glucose and one fructose molecule). Considering the popularity of fructose as a “natural” sweetener in many carbo-lading, energy, diet and soft drinks and powders lately, Dr.Reiser’s work takes on an added significance. The benefits claimed for fructose-sweetened foods and beverages–that they have a low “glycemic index” and thus disturb blood sugar levels less than white sugar–may be more than offset by fructose’s blood cholesterol raising power. Dr. Reiser’s work makes it clear that the worst combination for creating elevated blood cholesterol, even on a low cholesterol diet, is foods rich in both fat and sugar. Considering America’s mania for sugar and fat rich desserts and snacks, America’s high national average blood cholesterol levels may be due as much to this dietary imbalance, as to our high national intake of meat and dairy foods. It is relevant to note here that America’s per capita consumption of meat, eggs, butter and cream has dropped significantly from 1900 to the present, while America’s per capita sugar consumption has risen from a very modest 5 pounds per year in 1800 to about 190 pounds per year in the 1990’s!

                • Josh January 18, 2010, 12:03 AM

                  Heshy, is there a character limit or something replies? Why do my post keep not showing up?

              • Josh January 17, 2010, 11:58 PM

                My post disappeared, so I will write a much shorter response:

                First of all, I said read “The China Study”, not suddenly adhere to the Chinese or Japanese diet. While the study was largely based on Chinese (and some other East Asian diets) as a jumping off point, it considered a variety of factors and diets from numerous countries. The diets were analyzed scientifically/nutritionally as well as statistically (as per the group as a whole). Furthermore, the book’s author (a professor at Cornell) admitted that when he began the study, he set out to prove the opposite, but wound up becoming a vegan himself as a result of the scientific data he found.

                The traditional Chinese diet was studied, which unlike American-Chinese food or the Western/McDonald’s style influenced food found in some of their major cities actually consists of far less protein etc. that you might think (very very very little). They found that it was largely composed of grains, soy, fruits, veggies, and to a limited extent fish (though, again, less than you would think because the majority of China– especially rural China–is landlocked).

                Again, medically, we really aren’t meant to eat meat. Our bodies will take basically whatever we give it– people have been known to survive 30 years on fried foods, but I don’t think there are many people who will argue that it is healthy to eat a ton of french fries at every meal–we are essentially garbage disposals. our bodies are just trying to survive, but it doesn’t mean its meant to do that. We do not have the scientific indicators of creatures that thrive on meat– unlike every other carnivore/omnivore (cats, dogs, bears, etc) be do not have large pronounce canines or claw-like fingernails intended for tearing flesh.

                Furthermore, it was the same author of the China Study who found that children who are raised vegan/vegetarian tended to be healthier and smarter (likely because their diets were higher in Omega 3s– from sources like your much derived flax seeds– which is necessary for good brain function). As far as to getting kids to eat things like, you know.. thing with nutrition, kids eat what their culture tells them is appropriate and will usually continue having a taste for what they are accustomed to eating.

                For example, you give a kid from Japan or Greece a Twinkee and they will probably find it disgusting (actually, I know this from experience)– where as a kid from the Midwest will eat it without batting an eye. But try and give that same kid some fried scorpions or the like and I am sure you will get a less than stellar response. Yes, it is in part cultural context but it is also the taste to which he is accustomed. (The reason why Americanized ethnic food– ie certain kinds of sushi, Taco Bell, etc– food that bears little to no resemblance to the original ethnic food is popular here, it is Americanized to our tastes.) If you get a child started on healthy food early, that is what they are used to (and pretty much anything else will be weird). In a less drastic though arguably more applicable example, my friend’s mother never allowed her to drink juice growing up (because it basically all refined sugars), and now she can’t really bring herself to drink it. She says it is just too sweet. My siblings on the other hand drink 5 or 6 glasses a day and don’t even think twice. (While there are certainly exceptions, I speaking in the broad strokes here)

                There is also the issue of cultural values conflicting– sure you tell your kids to eat their vegetables, but all the food marketing out there tells them to eat fries and all they hear is the grown ups talking about how good cholent is, what do you think their perception of eating healthfully will be? If you frame it as a punishment, they will perceive it as one. Moreover, why do you think food marketing is placed so heavily on things like fries, burgers, etc? These are the foods that have the lowest amount of nutrition, and thus are easiest/cheapest to grow. (it is generally true that foods with lower nutritional value have a longer shelf life, because they are fewer components that readily breakdown–again in the broad strokes, but overall this is true). The biggest profit can be made off things like french fries and soda, so who can blame food retailers for pushing these things the most? (If I were on their marketing team, I certainly would.)

                Again, however, kids who are raised on decent healthful foods (and by extension we will call this vegetarianism for the sake of argument) they are more likely to continue with these habits (by choice) for the rest of their lives (hmm.. perhaps because their brains are functioning better than all those kids with an insufficient amount of Omega 3s in their diet..). If you are giving the kids healthful food on a regular basis (and that is what they are used to), that is what they will eat.

                It pains me how uninformed you are. Crack a fucking book why don’t you?

                • Chris_B January 18, 2010, 10:49 PM

                  One issue worth raising here is that comparing reduced dairy consumption patterns across cultures may or may not factor in the lactose tolerance of the test subjects.

              • IsraeliMom January 18, 2010, 12:49 AM

                http://www.thechinastudy.com/about.html

                The China study is a respectable scientific study. It doesn’t just compare Chinese to Westerners – it compares two different diets.

                You can just say you think meat/dairy/eggs are tasty, but it just doesn’t make sense to wrap it up in “nutritional needs” arguments anymore. They’re just not valid – despite what the big corporates involved try to make you believe through their aggressive ad campaigns.

            • Anna April 1, 2012, 8:14 AM

              The China Study is not as scientifically sound as you may think. http://www.westonaprice.org/vegetarianism-and-plant-foods/the-china-study-myth

          • matthue January 18, 2010, 4:01 PM

            Not all Chasidim believe that! I mean, there’s me…and the Arizal only believed that a tzadik gamor had the kochos to elevate meat, and *that* only on Shabbos.

            • Anonymous January 18, 2010, 11:19 PM

              Also see this (from Rebbe Nachman, Likutei Eitzot):

              “The main reason for the economic hardships which have hit the Jewish people in recent
              generations is that many of the shochetim, the ritual slaughterers, have not been worthy. The
              blessing which a worthy shochet makes at the time of slaughtering is a powerful influence on the
              livelihood of the whole Jewish people. The blessing elevates the living soul which was
              incarnated in the animal. But there are shochetim who fail to concentrate properly on the
              meaning of the blessing and harbor improper thoughts. A shochet like this, standing with the
              knife raised ready to slaughter the animal, is no better than a murderer. What pain this living soul
              experiences at this moment. She cries with a bitter wail, because the blessing this shochet makes
              will do nothing to elevate her from her incarnation. On the contrary, she will be cast down even
              lower than before and she will have `no rest for the sole of her foot’ (Genesis 7:8). Woe to such a
              shochet! Woe to the soul he has killed and given over to the hands of her enemies. The result is
              that people’s livelihood is hit, and the little that is available can only be acquired with great toil
              and exertion. Shochetim like these cause the soul to be enslaved by the materialism of the body,
              and physical lusts and desires gain strength.”

          • Yochanan January 18, 2010, 7:45 PM

            Is punching the standard way of killing fish? Sounds like fun!

            • Phil January 18, 2010, 8:28 PM

              Yochanan,

              Only the snaller ones. I use an empty beer bottle to knock out the bigger ones.

      • Anonymous January 18, 2010, 2:58 PM

        some one choosing not to eat meat isn’t saying they know better than g’d. your just pulling that out of your ass because you want to make sound like that.

        It sound much more like Maimonides’ “building a fence around the Torah” if you actually take the time to think about it. (And don’t try to be an ignorant jerk about it.)

  • Miri January 17, 2010, 12:23 PM

    At a Shabbos table recently, I was compared to a Nazi for being a vegetarian. Because I was creating “my own morality” by thinking that eating meat is a bad choice for me, and for thinking that killing animals for meat is ethically wrong. And we all know the Nazis created their own morality system, too. So, vegetarians are just like Nazis. I don’t know why I didn’t get up and walk out then. I probably should have.

    • MadMaxInJerusalem January 17, 2010, 5:47 PM

      Well, just for your next dinner party conversation – Rav Kook and Hitler were both vegetarians. So what does that tell you? Absolutely nothing!

      • mel January 17, 2010, 7:10 PM

        Actually, the thing about Hitler being a vegetarian has been largely dispelled as an urban legend.

      • Heshy Fried January 18, 2010, 9:58 AM

        They say that Rav Cook ate a small piece of meat on shabbos to fulfill the mitzvah

    • .. January 17, 2010, 11:18 PM

      Why do people have such a strong reaction about meat in this way? I don’t like bananas. I think they are grown with lots of pesticides.. they aren’t for me. Am I now Hitler?

  • Patricia January 17, 2010, 12:56 PM

    I would like to hear a convincing response to this: The laws of ritual slaughter are frequently put to me as the most humane method. Many people who decide to become vegetarian or vegan may do it from the far-from-humane conditions the animals LIVE in on these factory farms. So forgetting the moment of death, what about the moments of their life? So, why don’t the kashrus authorities address these issues?

    We have to feed our animals before we eat, right? So there are definate regulations on animal cruelty. Why don’t we address the bigger issue of humane animal husbandry.

    • Phil January 17, 2010, 2:28 PM

      Patricia,

      People are simply farming in the most efficient ways possible, kosher meat is already way overpriced to begin with. If we had to eat only free range chickens or beef, can you imagine what the astronomical cost of the price of kosher meat and milk would be?

      Cruelty to animals is a law that prevents us from USELESSLY torturing animals. If it saves us money however, it clearly doesn’t fall under that category.

      In other words, I would NOT be breaking any halacha by clubbing a baby seal for it’s fur, contrary to what Paul McCartney may think.

      • Anonymous January 17, 2010, 4:46 PM

        Yidden have been eating meat for 1000s of years without keeping them in cramped and inhumane conditions — so we know it’s possible. Even now, Kosher free range organic meat is available. Of course it’s more expensive, but this is the way it’s supposed to be. When it’s more expensive, you don’t eat meat every day or several times a day — which, as all the research shows, leads to all kinds of diseases (see Physicians’ Committee for Responsible Medicine). It should be more expensive, so people eat it more rarely and thus end up with better health.

      • MadMaxInJerusalem January 17, 2010, 5:57 PM

        There actually are some kashrut problems with the way animals are raised. I was speaking to a Mashgiach who said that only 10% of kosher slaughtered cattle qualify as glatt in the USA, whereas 90% of Brazilian or Argentinian beef qualifies. Basically the hormones they inject the animals with and the conditions they raise them in makes most of them sick – and thus not kosher. Same problem with chicken. The hormones they inject them with to make them grow fast cause slipped tendons and other health problems, rendering them traif. It’s just that most kosher slaughterhouses don’t check for these problems. Injection of growth hormones is a big problem, both from a tzar ba’alai chaim pov and a kashrut pov.

      • Anonymous January 17, 2010, 7:37 PM

        So, what if I decide I want to torture an animal because I had a long day and it helps me release some tension. Clearly that’s not useless.. should we all start doing that then?

        .. I think there are some pretty gaping holes in your logic.

        • Phil January 17, 2010, 9:23 PM

          Anon,

          I’m with you one that one. They should ban all pets unless they are harvested for food. What make anyone think that their pet goldfish are “happy” in a crammed aquarium, or that the pet bird likes living in a tiny cage with no here to fly?

          A recent study showed that owning a pet dog has the same carbon footprint as owning 2 SUV’s due to all the meat they eat. Maybe the Koreans had it right after all…

          • IsraeliMom January 18, 2010, 12:55 AM

            Pets, just like farm animals, should have their welfare cared for. It differs from one animal to another, but I happen to agree that putting birds in small cages, or fish in fish bowls is probably not good. I’d never do it myself.
            As for cats and dogs, you need to educate them and provide them with proper care. For example, put up cat shelves to provide your feline with lots of vertical space if you live in an apartment. It’s doable, but does take making an effort. And btw, with cats and dogs, it’s fairly easy to see when they are stressed due to poor living conditions.

  • AbetheGunGuy January 17, 2010, 1:32 PM

    Part of the problem (in my mind) of vegetarianism/veganism is the problem that you can not fulfill some of the basic laws in the Torah, the kind that are not optional. Things like the Pesach sacrifice (which must be a lamb and be eaten by everyone), animal sacrifice, men must wear Teffilin (which are made out of leather and thus necessitate killing an animal) and the writing of a Torah or Mezuzah (which must be out of leather as well).

    If you believe that killing an animal is wrong ethically/morally, but yet believe the Torah is timeless and unchanging (new situations arise that Torah law must be consulted, but the laws themselves do not change)… How do you mesh those seemingly contradictory concepts?

    • avrahamct January 17, 2010, 1:48 PM

      I know of religious vegetarians who are resigned to accept that halacha requires them to wear tefillin made from animal parts and that a Sefer Torah and Mezuzot are required to be made from animals, but feel that they should avoid unnecessary killing of animals when it is not required by halacha.

    • Anonymous January 17, 2010, 4:47 PM

      As a partial answer to your questions, see this: http://jewishveg.com/faq33.html.

      • AbetheGunGuy January 17, 2010, 11:29 PM

        Thanks for the link, but it still doesn’t answer my question. I understand not eating meat, but to claim that killing animals for our use is unethical or immoral doesn’t seem to make sense according to halachah. There is no reason for G-d to have commanded us to wear leather straps on our arms, to place leather on our doorposts or to write the Torah on leather parchment (papyrus paper could have worked as well).

        Rav Kook’s answer only applies to eating animals, not using them.

  • Moshe January 17, 2010, 4:31 PM

    I eat meat, because I love animals and want them to be always with me!

  • anon January 17, 2010, 5:03 PM

    I Love Animals!

    they taste great!

  • Gila January 17, 2010, 6:31 PM

    Wow…I figured Phil would jump on this right away…just a question, do you think there is a difference between “uselessly” and “needlessly”? Because I’m sure you could find a “use” for any animal torture you wanted, but with that kind of automatic justification, you would completely circumvent tsa’ar baalei chayim. Want to eat inhumanely raised meat? That’s okay; it saves you money. Want to start a dogfighting ring? No problem; you’ll make a parnassah from betting on the dogs. Want to go hunting? Go right ahead; it’s good target practice for when Mashiach comes and we go to war with Amalek.

    None of these things are actually *necessary* by any means. And BTW, if you only ate meat on Shabbos and chagim, which are the only times when you can make any sort of argument for the necessity of meat-eating, you would be able to afford free-range meat.

    • Phil January 17, 2010, 9:17 PM

      Gila,

      Nothing halachically wrong with hunting as long as you’re benefiting from the animal being killed. Whether you sell a deer for it’s meat, a polar bear or seal for it’s fur, or a rhino for it’s penis, it’s all OK acording to halacha. Check with a COMPETANT rav if you don’t believe me, instead of asking some hippy bozo from the humane society.

      As for the free range meat and organic fish stories, there is no concrete proof that they are any better for you. When you buy an organically farmed salmon for example, what’s to stop natural pollutants from the sea and rain to get into their pens? Futhermore, they eat the same fish meal as al other farmed fish do, and that’s where most of the pollutants come from.

  • FrumGer January 17, 2010, 7:17 PM

    Phil-

    Hey man i totally get your point, because it is clear for us not to envoke certain abstinence on our selves then HaShem has already done for us.

    that being said, though i really love meat, and though i would eat a plate if it where before me, i almost never buy meat for my house.
    first thing is my wife is totally grossed out by meat, its crazy but she can’t get over it. she refuses to eat it no matter what, (bad childhood expirience) so instead of making two different meals, we eat vegitarian-ISH. now dairy eggs, etc she has no problem and when i get the craving the shul always has some cholent or something, but for the home its a milchig home, i get meat substitutes – not tofu, but the stuff that looks and fairly much tastes like meat.

    that being said, i also watched a documentary of agriprocessors, and i just think that the so called spirit of shecetta is lost in mass production. maybe i am wrong but i always had this romantic idea that a shocet is suppossed to take a life in the most humane way possible. and that is impossible when they are being shuffled along by shocking them with prods and pulling them by sticking pliers into their nose and squeezing pulling the shit out of them.
    i do feel bad for animals that live in a tiny box their whole life. i do feel bad that chickens are made so fat their legs break undeneith them. i realize we have the right to consume, and i don’t actually feel bad for the animal because of the death or the consumtion (although cutting out the ashophogus 5 seconds after the shecetta while the animal is very much still alive, to me is not right, its supposed to be a cut smooth with no tearing or sawing and yet they hack the asophogus out like the animal has been dead for minutes.Caught on undercover cameras…)

    but really its not in the idea that the animal has to die, its in the idea that we should at least repsect them while they live. at egg farms all the male chicks are thrown into a bag while alive and sufficated.

    do you agree that the standard need to be atleast raised in this the age of mass production and corperate greed?

    these things are not right to me.

    it takes like 5 pounds of grain to make one pound of meat, so economically the amount of meat consumed by americans is absurd. i am not saying quit, but scale back.

    the amount of serious pollution caused by the meat ind. is off the charts, one of the highest producors of pollutants in the world – ( and i am not a global warming nut- this is a cooling planet not a warming planet. entropy.)

    But for all the reasons above, i have scaled back my meat intake, not to say i don’t still like it- i do, but to me americans eat meat way more than they should, so much to the effect that its has bad affects on our health, on the environment and on the lives of the animals we do kill, because its not like they have a good life up till the point when they become sustinance for another, they are raised up in terrible conditions, live in terrible conditions, and finally they are allowed to die , actually the death is the kindest thing we can do for them at that point.

    • Anonymous January 17, 2010, 9:04 PM

      By your usage I have a feeling you have no idea what “entropy” means..

  • FrumGer January 17, 2010, 7:41 PM

    I look at buying the cert. free range- free graze- milk, meat, eggs, as being a mitzvah, like sort of tzedakah for the animal world. it costs more but in the long run i feel better for it, like my money is holier for it.

    its good to give a shit…

    • ... January 18, 2010, 12:28 AM

      “It’s good to give a shit”

      haha.. that’s the best thing I have heard all day. Thanks so much for that one.

  • Josh January 18, 2010, 12:01 AM

    My post disappeared, so I will write a much shorter response.

    To Phil:

    First of all, I said read “The China Study”, not suddenly adhere to the Chinese or Japanese diet. While the study was largely based on Chinese (and some other East Asian diets) as a jumping off point, it considered a variety of factors and diets from numerous countries. The diets were analyzed scientifically/nutritionally as well as statistically (as per the group as a whole). Furthermore, the book’s author (a professor at Cornell) admitted that when he began the study, he set out to prove the opposite, but wound up becoming a vegan himself as a result of the scientific data he found.

    The traditional Chinese diet was studied, which unlike American-Chinese food or the Western/McDonald’s style influenced food found in some of their major cities actually consists of far less protein etc. that you might think (very very very little). They found that it was largely composed of grains, soy, fruits, veggies, and to a limited extent fish (though, again, less than you would think because the majority of China– especially rural China–is landlocked).

    Again, medically, we really aren’t meant to eat meat. Our bodies will take basically whatever we give it– people have been known to survive 30 years on fried foods, but I don’t think there are many people who will argue that it is healthy to eat a ton of french fries at every meal–we are essentially garbage disposals. our bodies are just trying to survive, but it doesn’t mean its meant to do that. We do not have the scientific indicators of creatures that thrive on meat– unlike every other carnivore/omnivore (cats, dogs, bears, etc) be do not have large pronounce canines or claw-like fingernails intended for tearing flesh.

    Furthermore, it was the same author of the China Study who found that children who are raised vegan/vegetarian tended to be healthier and smarter (likely because their diets were higher in Omega 3s– from sources like your much derived flax seeds– which is necessary for good brain function). As far as to getting kids to eat things like, you know.. thing with nutrition, kids eat what their culture tells them is appropriate and will usually continue having a taste for what they are accustomed to eating.

    For example, you give a kid from Japan or Greece a Twinkee and they will probably find it disgusting (actually, I know this from experience)– where as a kid from the Midwest will eat it without batting an eye. But try and give that same kid some fried scorpions or the like and I am sure you will get a less than stellar response. Yes, it is in part cultural context but it is also the taste to which he is accustomed. (The reason why Americanized ethnic food– ie certain kinds of sushi, Taco Bell, etc– food that bears little to no resemblance to the original ethnic food is popular here, it is Americanized to our tastes.) If you get a child started on healthy food early, that is what they are used to (and pretty much anything else will be weird). In a less drastic though arguably more applicable example, my friend’s mother never allowed her to drink juice growing up (because it basically all refined sugars), and now she can’t really bring herself to drink it. She says it is just too sweet. My siblings on the other hand drink 5 or 6 glasses a day and don’t even think twice. (While there are certainly exceptions, I speaking in the broad strokes here)

    There is also the issue of cultural values conflicting– sure you tell your kids to eat their vegetables, but all the food marketing out there tells them to eat fries and all they hear is the grown ups talking about how good cholent is, what do you think their perception of eating healthfully will be? If you frame it as a punishment, they will perceive it as one. Moreover, why do you think food marketing is placed so heavily on things like fries, burgers, etc? These are the foods that have the lowest amount of nutrition, and thus are easiest/cheapest to grow. (it is generally true that foods with lower nutritional value have a longer shelf life, because they are fewer components that readily breakdown–again in the broad strokes, but overall this is true). The biggest profit can be made off things like french fries and soda, so who can blame food retailers for pushing these things the most? (If I were on their marketing team, I certainly would.)

    Again, however, kids who are raised on decent healthful foods (and by extension we will call this vegetarianism for the sake of argument) they are more likely to continue with these habits (by choice) for the rest of their lives (hmm.. perhaps because their brains are functioning better than all those kids with an insufficient amount of Omega 3s in their diet..). If you are giving the kids healthful food on a regular basis (and that is what they are used to), that is what they will eat.

    It pains me how uninformed you are. Crack a fucking book why don’t you?

    Also, if you think that studies that say anything contrary to what you might like to think is a “PETA hoax” you might like to consider who funds all those “meat is so healthy” and “Milk is so healthy” campaigns. Big food producers and factory farmers have deep pockets–much deeper than a little non-profit like PETA.

    • IsraeliMom January 18, 2010, 6:32 AM

      I have to say, as a vegan, that vegan diet does not have to be healthy. Sugar and fat can be totally vegan. Sure, meats/eggs/dairy products are not good for you, but so it other stuff.

      To me, it’s more about protesting against the industrialized farming and their abhorrent abuse of animals. IMO, if you know how these animals are treated and you still want to use the “produce”… then you are cruel. The excuse most people have is simply ignorance and their preference to remain ignorant so that they can still “enjoy” their steak. They prefer to ignore the reality and buy into the green wash shoved down their throats by the big corporate who run the “farming” industry.

      • Phil January 18, 2010, 9:17 AM

        Israeli mom,

        No one is asking you to stick your nose into the farm or watch what occurs in slaughterhouses. I found one of those hidden camera videos put out by peta a couple years ago and got a real kick out of it. I then made the mistake of showing it to my wife, she didn’t eat meat for 3 months after seeing it.

        Farms aren’t supposed to smell good and slaughterhouses aren’t for the faint of heart. Whether you produce your food or hunt your own, there’s going to be blood, guts, skiing and deboning to do.

        People today are simply too spoiled. For thousands of years, people would jump at the chance to eat meat, many could’t afford it more than once or twice a year. Today, people reject it because they feel bad for the animal.

        Wouldn’t it be nice if these people were as concerned with each other as they are with the animals we eat?

        • IsraeliMom January 18, 2010, 10:30 AM

          If you’re the kind of person who actually gets a kick out of watching slaughtering in a modern slaughterhouse, then I guess you can go ahead and do whatever you want. Have you ever been to Yad Vashem? they have a killer library of snuff movies you may enjoy.

          (I’m not comparing eating animals to the holocaust, just trying to cater to your taste).

          • Phil January 18, 2010, 10:45 AM

            Israeli mom,

            So because I get a kick out of the idiotic peta movies such as the “save the baby seals” slapstick comedy, that makes you think I would enjoy watching my brethren and ancestors being brutally murdered.

            You are the typical example ofthe type of person I was referring to, as you obviously don’t have the capacity to differentiate between an animal and a human being.

            Maybe the lack of protein has started affecting your brain, sounds like you could use a couple mega burgers or a nice roast.

            • IsraeliMom January 18, 2010, 10:48 AM

              No, it’s because you bragged about watching a movie that made your wife sick and made her avoid meat for 3 months and you got a kick out of that. I would have understood saying you’re not shocked, or you don’t care, but enjoying it?? enjoying watching the suffering of others? Figured snuff would be right down your alley, that’s all.

              • Phil January 18, 2010, 11:31 AM

                Israeli Mom,

                The animals being tortured wasn’t what I enjoyed in those clips. My wife is more sensitive and is the type that would rather buy a piece of fish sitting on a store shelf than eat a fresh caught one she watched catch or fillet. She even stopped using live chickens for kapparos, as she won’t eat chicken for a couple months after seeing and smelling a live one.

                I got a kick out of the stupid voice over and morbid music that peta puts into their productions, as if anyone was stupid enough to take them seriously.

                I say to them and all their supporters: Get over it and stop whining. Go worry about the world’s REAL problems, and if you have too much time and energy on your hands, go help PEOPLE for a change.

                Millions make their livelyhood selling meat and fur, it’s been the human way of life since thousands of years.
                Are they not more important than what goes on our dinner table or what our shoes are made of?

                • IsraeliMom January 19, 2010, 10:54 AM

                  Thank you for clearing that up. I’m sorry that I lashed out but thinking of someone enjoying torture was a bit too much.

                  Let me clarify on my end too. I am not a PETA supporter. I’m from Israel and PETA is not an issue here (seems to me it’s a hot button in the States). I don’t even object to eating animals. My objection is to the inhumane way sentient beings are treated in the today’s food production industries. I don’t think efficiency is a good excuse – it’s not about efficiency it’s about the big corporates making extra money, at the expense of making animals suffer. That’s wrong IMO.

                  I’m not a halacha expert, but seems to me that tza’ar ba’alei haim addresses this very issue. It may not be in the best monetary interest of the farmer to milk the cow on Shabbat – it’s not the issue – it’s about keeping the cow more comfortable and preventing suffering. By the same logic, today’s industry practices need to be stopped. Until they do that, I am going vegan. When I feel these animals aren’t tortured – I’ll be happy to join you for a steak or any dairy product (not together, of course ๐Ÿ˜‰ ).

                  • MadMaxInJerusalem January 19, 2010, 12:14 PM

                    IsraeliMom:

                    Trader Joes carries allot of organic / free range dairy and meat products including some kosher ones, depending on the size of the local Jewish population.

                    • IsraeliMom January 19, 2010, 1:20 PM

                      What’s Trader Joes? I don’t think I ever seen it around here.

                      Even when stuff is labeled as free range or organic I found out it’s not always animal welfare oriented. I actually went out and checked. I went to the only organic cowshed in Israel to see if I could consume their dairy products. I’ll never forget the two one day old fly covered dehydrated calves I saw there on a Shabbat. No thanks.
                      I don’t eat free range eggs for that reason – though I’m 100% for consuming them over battery eggs. I buy them for our kids.
                      I do eat goat cheeses from a specific herd they keep near here in Zikhron Ya’akov. Went to check it out and when I die, I want to come back as a goat on that herd ๐Ÿ˜‰

                    • MadMaxInJerusalem January 19, 2010, 1:55 PM

                      IsraeliMom:

                      I’m confused, are you currently here in Israel or in the US? In the US Trader Joes is kind of a hippie health food store kind of place. As far as I know, certain terms used in food labeling are regulated by the US government to have specific meanings so that if something is labeled organic or free range than you can be pretty sure that it actually is. At least that’s my understanding.

                    • IsraeliMom January 19, 2010, 3:04 PM

                      Maxed out on the threaded replies ๐Ÿ˜‰

                      Born, bred and living in Israel. Only visited the US once. That was last year, for three weeks and mostly in California. Can’t say I had time to shop around much – was too busy looking after my kids at Disneyland ๐Ÿ˜‰

            • Moshe January 18, 2010, 10:49 AM

              lol!
              Positive proof lack of meat turns people into vegetables.
              You are what you eat.

              • IsraeliMom January 18, 2010, 11:45 AM

                Yeah, yeah… bring on more intelligent arguments like this one, why don’t you.

    • Phil January 18, 2010, 9:09 AM

      Josh,

      The majority of Chinese are dirt poor, that’s why they live on rice and beans, it’s simply beter economics for them. The ones that can afford cigareets, alcohol and gambling tned to do so in huge numbers, just come up to Montreal and visit our casino on any given day.

      As for the absurd notion of humans not being carnivores because we have no claws, it was created by some bozo guru in India that worships cows. I can use the same argument and say that we weren’t meant to eat things that grow because we don’t have 7 stomachs and chew our cuds like most herbivores do. Really, I don’t see how any rational person can fall for such a silly notion.

      As for vegetables, I’m not sure what you getting at. Are you saying it’s better for kids to eat chips or fries than eating steak?

      I have 6 kids, and do my best to have them avoid junk food and excess sugar all week, Shabbat is the exception. It’s the only time I let them drink soda and eat cake and cookies for breakfast . For the most part, they are fine during the rest of the week.

      • Josh January 18, 2010, 2:55 PM

        Wow, you are stupid.

        Yes, a diet rich in things like rice, barley, soy, flax, etc is more affordable and regularly attainable for the rural Chinese, this is not a result of poverty, as most of these people don’t buy their food like we do. They grow it. It is more sustainable on a small scale and thus they can continue to grow it year after year.

        “The China Study” however was not promoting this diet because it was less expensive and environmentally sound (though also a plus), but rather because it is healthier.

        The rural Chinese also don’t eat a ton of french fries. Should we just start eating those at every meal and declaring it “healthy” because we have more money than they do? (It isn’t any different than declaring meat that much healthier just because we are rich.)

        Furthermore, the study showed that, in spite of shortage of health care etc, because their diet was so much healthier their lifespans were also longer.

        For g-d sake read the book– you are welcome to disagree after that (based on reasonable scientific information and not just selfish rhetoric), but you actually have to read a freaking book first.

        (Also, no we don’t have 7 stomachs or chew cud, but this is because we aren’t build to graze on low-scale domestic grass either. Like animals with similar digestive systems we are meant to eat a combination of nuts, small fruit, and grains. We certainly aren’t built to eat meat, however.)

    • Chris_B January 18, 2010, 10:55 PM

      “medically, we really aren’t meant to eat meat”

      one word for you: “incisors” look it up.

  • frumgoth January 18, 2010, 9:46 AM

    My reasons for becoming a vegetarian started out as health concerns. As an isolated case study, on a typical Orthodox Jewish diet my cholesterol had risen to 265. My doctor was going to put me on a cholesterol-lowering drug if i didn’t get the number down to a safe one. After adopting a vegetarian diet it went down to 150. I’m not saying that everyone should do this, but perhaps people with the same genetic make-up should. I remember once eating a Pesach meal in which a woman in the process of converting had been invited. She looked around at all the grease-laden food that everyone was stuffing their faces with and stuck to matzah with a thin layer of jam. Wise choice

    • Phil January 18, 2010, 10:39 AM

      Frumgoth,

      Grease is part of Pesach tradition. The Korban Pesach was to be eaten entirely, not a piece was to be leftover by morning, they ate all the permissible fats as well.

      Ultra Chassidic frummies won’t use oil on Pesach either, even it it has a Pesach hechsher. They fry everything in chicken fat. When my parents became frum, the rabbi told them this was the norm in this community. My mom fried our eggs and fries in chicken fat, I must admit they didn’t taste that good.

      Anyway, sticking to Matza and jam doesn’t seem to flow with the seder, where Jews have had the customs to eat eggs, chicken soup and chicken for hundreds of years. Besides, isn’t that gebroks?

    • Yochanan January 18, 2010, 7:54 PM

      There needs to be a kosher “This is why you’re fat” (http://thisiswhyyourefat.com/). I really feel bad for the women married to all these potbellied men in the frum world. I know they’re not getting circulation to key body parts.

  • FrumGer January 18, 2010, 12:10 PM

    Anonymous–

    actually i have quite a firm grasp on entropy. if you didn’t understand why i said what i said must then assume you don’t. look past your nose.

    this entire universe and all there in is a constant state of cooling, so to become a consistant temp. through out. this is a cooling planet, because it is in a cooling universe— that cannot be debated. it gets warm it gets cool, the dark ages was like a mini ice age, but it warmed back up. that is climate change.
    tropical climate change is temperary, and it produces more growth is when its tropical conditions. it has actual more of a positive condition on the world then the cold does. vegitiation grows, food sources grows, etc, only polar animals suffer.

    but regardless,

    over all- our planet- just like the sun from where it gets its warmth, is cooling off. because this universe is constantly spreading out getting thinner and thinner and Cooling the hell off.
    entropy.

    • Anonymous January 18, 2010, 4:13 PM

      I’m not even going to get into your factual issues but let me give you a few hints: vegEtation, tempOrary, thAn (and so forth)

      I think it’s a debate worth having, just with accurate information.

  • FrumGer January 18, 2010, 4:57 PM

    anonymous-
    dude, i do not care to spell check my post, never have never will. if its a good debate refute the content. don’t try slight of hand or misdirection to avoid making actual points.

  • FrumGer January 18, 2010, 4:57 PM

    ohh sorry……… “sleight of hand”

  • Ilanit January 18, 2010, 7:14 PM

    Some people consider vegetarianism the highest form of kashrut.

    • Phil January 18, 2010, 8:25 PM

      Ilanit,

      Some people consider certain vegetables as the lowest form of kashrut due to infestation. Once upon a time people might haved asked where one got their meat, today they’re just as likely to ask what brand of salad they use.

      • Ilanit January 18, 2010, 9:56 PM

        That’s nice. My point stands.

  • frumgoth January 18, 2010, 9:29 PM

    Phil,
    I guess exceptions can be made for the mitzvah of the korban pesach. And in terms of gebrukts, well, she was still in the process of converting, and this was a family that ate major gebrukts, so…

    Yochanan – that is really funny!

  • Heshy Fried January 18, 2010, 10:55 PM

    My theory is that eating meat is one of those things that just seems wrong and unjustifiable, but that we meat eaters will continue to do regardless of our hearts telling us that we are being wrong in some way.

  • Michael Croland January 19, 2010, 12:17 AM

    Thanks for posting this, Heshy!

  • Patricia January 19, 2010, 1:00 AM

    Josh,

    I posted earlier on humanatarian concerns but I would have loved to address the China Study. That book was one of the most exHaustive, comprehensive texts I have ever read. I have even had the opportunity of meeting some of the researchers referenced in that study. Between the issues raised on animal protein and it’s effects on our health and the concerns of humane treatment of animals, it is hard to justify the continued eating of meat. I have to admit I do enjoy the taste and have yet to attain the standard set for myself, and I don’t impose it on others, but I continue to try.

    Many, many a Shabbos meal have been clouded by this discussion at this time, I “save” my animal protein consumption for social events and am trying to dicipline myself the rest of the week. I am a realist. Radical diet changes for me to be sustainable must be gradual.

    I want to thank you for referencing professor Campbells study here. He wasn’t selling any line of supplements, a meal plan, a cookbook, nothing of the sort. And his explaination as to why more studies like this don’t get funded is hard to refute.

    I would write more, but ot this hour on my blackberry I am finding it hard to keep my thoughts flowing in any order.

  • Phil January 19, 2010, 8:17 AM

    Y’all seem to be mixing modern day ethics and religion, which have nothing to do with each other.

    Avraham Avinu served meat and milk producs to the 3 angels, not flax seeds.

    Yitchak Avinu asked his son to hunt some deer for him in order to bless him, not to prepare a bowl of oatmeal.

    The Jews leaving Egypt and subsequent generation were asked to kill a lamb, not pick grapes.

    And when Mashiach comes, tradition has it that we will feast on the Shor Habor and liviathan, aka beef and fish, NOT tofu.

    Any religious authority that claims that vegetarianism is the Torah’s true intent is sadly mistaken, and for each so called proof they bring, you can find 1000 proofs to refute it.

    Bottom line is, don’t try to blame or pin your hippie ways on Judaism, it just doesn’t work.

    If you don’t like meat or the way animals are treated, you aren’t going to be forced to eat them. But if you want to follow a vegetarian religion, become a hindu so you can worship the almighty hamburger.

  • Patricia January 19, 2010, 10:15 AM

    Phil,

    Let me be sure I understood you correctly. You think a monetary savings justifies inhumane treatment of animals? Are all your morals so fluid in application?

    Now just for some random thoughts…

    No wonder we have seen an increase in monetary justifications and white collar crimes publicized from our community. If monetary loss can mitigate basic laws and kindnesses…

    And here is a thought…I was recently at a shiur on the Jewish concept of reincarnation. I left, still confused why the rabbi had said I could come back as an animal, but not as a goy… a topic maybe someone could explain to me in another post, but I hope that if you are reincarnated someone doesn’t torture you to save a few bucks.

  • Phil January 19, 2010, 10:32 AM

    Patricia,

    No one is torturing animals for the sake of torturing them. Do you honestly think a farmer has nothing better to do than torture his animals?

    Yes, if keeping chicken on feeder lines and steers couped up in cages is the only way it’s economically viable for a farmer to survive in this day and age, then there is absolutely nothing wrong with doing so.

    If you feel better knowing that the chicken in your soup led a “happy” free range life before you cooked it, by all means, feel free to pay double for it so you can have peace of mind. After all, hippie farmers need to be supported as well. If you’ve got loads of money to blow on a piece of fish that SUPPOSEDLY lived in less crammed condition before it ended up in your frying pan, go ahead.

    For the rest of us struggling to pay mortgages, outrageous tuition costs and already overpriced kosher food, low prices and staple items such as dairy and meat products are a necessity.

    My kids needs come before the feelings of a chicken or cow, and the farmers, hunter or fur dealers needs come before the rodents or baby seals they kill, even if Paul Mcartney’s might be offended.

  • FrumGer January 19, 2010, 10:46 AM

    as much as i don’t eat much meat, phil is right, for us to eat meat is not only ethical and in our case a religious mitzvah, but also naturally our bodies are designed for to be consumers of some meat. we have incisors, we have eyes in the front of our heads, not the sides, we are a hunter.

    also those that are saying that being a vegan is a higher form of kashrut this is simply not true, that is just some more anpther one of those popular threads in the conservitive movement, and has no actual basis in halachah- quite the converse. read the gemorah or the shulchan aruch…

    the implications of Jewish law says we should eat meat, it is a positive commandment. there are exceptions, if it causes you grief and you derive no pleasure from meat, then you dont have to eat it. but lets not act like its not a mitzvah. the Bais Hamikdash cannot exist without korban, bottom line. the meat for the korban is eaten by the levitites, bottom line.

    but i don’t eat much meat. that has more to do with how digusted i am with the mass production, corperate greed, and intollerable cruel lives cows live to give us a surplus of meat we don’t need. go ahead eat meat on shabbos sure, but you don’t need it every day, many things have good sources of protien and iron.

  • Talia January 19, 2010, 2:44 PM

    Wow… hey controversy… I just like Heshy’s new icons for commentors without pictures… does that make me shallow? ๐Ÿ™‚ Wait… don’t answer that.

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