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black Posted - 23 May 2000 13:31

I am a vegetarian. I have been for close to 2 years now.

Usually people are cool with it, but sometimes in school we get into conversations about it.

I've been told that I am going against god’s word by not eating animals bc that’s what he "created" them for... What about the fact that Adam and Chava were forbidden to eat animal...Don't you think it was god’s first preference....????

Am I wrong for being a vegetarian? Is it against the torah?

MODERATOR Posted - 23 May 2000 13:49

Please explain your reason for not eating meat.

Are you a vegetarian for health reasons or cruelty-to-animal reasons or none of the above? Please elaborate a bit - if for instance it's health reasons, will you get sick if you eat meat, or is it merely a "fitness" thing?

If it's philosophical reasons please tell me the philosophy. The answer to your question depends on this additional piece of information.

black Posted - 19 June 2000 16:05

At first my vegetarianism was just a way for me to control my eating habits and to "save" the animals...I've graduated from that idea!

I’ll ask you a question....why do you eat meat? the only answer the majority of people I ask have is ..."it tastes good" "its food" "to live" etc. now look at it deeper.

There’s so much out there today to eat. We no longer need meat to survive.

So true, god gave us animals for are survival to eat them (or so I’ve been told) but we only eat them today to satisfy ourselves. If that’s so- is it not greedy? Killing of an animal to satisfy another?

Now I don’t tell people to be vegetarians and im against those who are veggies and have no reason for it- I just am not going to do that for myself. I'm never going to stand in front of fur stores with signs and throw buckets of fake blood, but you’ll never find a chunk of red stuff lying on my plate and pretending to be food!

- 06 July 2000 15:28

Vegetarianism can pose problems Halachicly and Hashkafically. We’ll start with the Hashkafa.

Hashem put animals in this world for a purpose. Their purpose is to be used by humans, whenever and however the Halachah implies. When an animal gets shechted, and the meat is eaten at a Shabbos meal, with brachos and bentching said over it, the animal has fulfilled his purpose in the world. It is the absolute best thing that could happen to the animal.

You never know why animals are here – some are gilgulim or human souls who have to fix something while in their reincarnated form, some are “elevated” by becoming sacrifices, some become tefillin, some have their other purposes, but one thing is certain: Hashem created them, and He knows what is good for them. Keeping animals from their purpose, where we know their purpose according to the Halachah, is cruelty to animals, not compassion.

This does not mean that we should be unfeeling to animals. There is a story in the Gemora where a calf was trying to run from the shochet and hid behind Rav Yehuda’s cloak. Rav Yehuda said to the animal, “Go [to the shochet]! For that it why you were created!”. Even though his words were correct, Rav Yehuda was punished for his cruel attitude. Animals have their purpose, true, but that doesn’t mean we have to be cruel about it.

Another place we see this is in the ruling of the Nodah Beyehuda, that whether hunting animals for sport is halachicly permitted or not, it is an act of cruelty, a “maaseh eisav”, and therefore should not be done.

And of course, there is a prohibition of any Tzar Baalei Chaim (causing pain to any living creature).

So our Hashkafa is that animals were placed here for a reason; often that reason is to be consumed by humans. That is the will of Hashem and the greatest benefit and compassion to the animal. And it is compassion that we must show at all times.

As for the Halachah, there is a disagreement in the Poskim if nowadays it is an obligation to eat meat (i.e. cattle as opposed to poultry) on Yom Tov (see Magen Avrohom 249:6, 529:3, Machtzis HaShekel ad loc., Eliyahu Rabbah ad loc quoting Bach, Nishmas Adam 103); others hold that you get a Mitzvah if you eat meat but it is not obligatory, now that we do not have a Bais HaMikdosh (see Magen Avrohom 696:9, Rav Shulchan Aruch 696:7).

So the Torah prohibits us to be cruel to animals. The only question is: What really constitutes cruelty and what is real compassion? Only Hashem has authority to answer that, and He did, through His poskim.

artzanu Posted - 24 July 2000 21:16

First it should be made clear that if you want to be a vegetarian you need to make up for the protein and stuff you lose through legumes, beans etc..and a lot of them.

I personally believe in meat in moderation any colonoscopist knows how bad eating a lot of meat is but I feel a little is important, never the less...

I have to take issue with the moderator’s opinion, first of all where do we know that this is the best thing for the animals?

Hashem only let us eat animals after Adam and Chava because he knew human nature and that we needed it- in an imperfect world!

We are allowed to make use of hem clearly for eating and other needs but where do we learn that this is the best thing for them?

But even if it is good to eat animals does this mean that we must strive to east as many animals as we can?

After all we should maybe only eat animals to do as many mitzvot as we can.

Clearly it is not against halacha not to eat meat (except for the debate on the Shabbat issue) I feel even IF it is better to eat meat it is wrong to attack “cat” and “black” because this is what they feel in their hearts is right (and it is Not contradicting halacha)

I feel trying to take away peoples beliefs that are in touch with halacha is wrong and may turn them off. In addition everyone needs their thing, you can call it a shtick if you want but when people lose all control they turn to anorexia and cutting other sorry state of affairs. We should stop telling people not to do things if they are allowed by the torah.

It seems some people just have a problem with anything that is an Ism, (vegetarianism) as if it is some horrible thing. As long as it is within the boundaries and spirit of the torah there is nothing wrong

Netzach Yisrael Lo Yishaker

I do not ever intend to offend the moderator - its hard to do since I have no idea who he or she is anyways. I just feel that opinion is not the only opinion.

MODERATOR Posted - 24 July 2000 21:33

No offence taken, artz, don't worry about that.

We learn that this is the best thing for the animals from many places, the simplest is Rabbi Yehuda’s statement to the calf: “Go [to the slaughter], for this is why you were created” – that is the calf’s purpose in this world.

There are other, more esoteric places that provide explanations of this – I posted some examples – such a the Arizal, the Ramchal, and others. If you want to see more on this, check out the Sefer Shem MiShmuel on Chumash, where the topic of animals being here for higher purposes such as being slaughtered or eaten is a pretty regular theme.

But I think you missed my point. Not eating meat is not the issue here – the issue is the attitude, the philosophy behind not eating the meat. To say that eating meat is cruel to animals is clearly against the Torah, for even if the Torah does not obligate us to eat meat nowadays, we surely get a Mitzvah for it (on Yom Tov), and if gives us a Mitzvah for it, how can someone be against it on ethical grounds?

About your point that we are only allowed to eat meat because it is an imperfect world, that is true. And had Adam not sinned, the world would have been different in many ways. We could not have had a Mitzvah to eat meat. But since he did sin, the world is different. So in the world that could have been, and would have been had Adam not sinned, you would be right. But in that world, we would also be running around naked. That’s what WOULD have been best. Unfortunately, Adam did sin, and the world is imperfect. We need fixing, so we die. Animals need fixing, so they get made into Tefillin, or eaten as Shabbos Seudos, or sacrificed as Korbonos, or whatever.

So if you are talking about whether it is cruel to eat and animal in today’s imperfect world, the answer is no, it is not cruel, as Rabi Yehuda said “That is why [they were] created”.

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