Friday, April 27, 2007

Hayom chamisha v'esrim yom, shehaym shelosha shavuot v'arbaa yamim baomer

In Chapter 1 of Genesis, G-d gave humans dominion over the animal kingdom. But dominion means stewardship, not tyrannical rule; The Queen of England may have dominion over the British people, but that doesn't give her the right to chop off their body parts without any painkillers. In the words of Rav Kook, the first chief rabbi of pre-state Israel, "There can be no doubt in the mind of any intelligent, thinking person that when the Torah instructs humankind to dominate – 'And have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the sky, and over every living thing that moves upon the Earth' (Genesis 1:28) – it does not mean the domination of a harsh ruler, who afflicts his people and servants merely to fulfill his personal whim and desire, according to the crookedness of his heart. It is unthinkable that the Torah would impose such a decree of servitude, sealed for all eternity, upon the world of God ...."

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