Sunday, April 29, 2007

Hayom shiva v'esrim yom, shehaym shelosha shavuot v'shisha yamim baomer

As explained in my last post, G-d's original intended diet for humans was vegetarianism. It's worth noting that when G-d eventually did grant humans permission to eat animals' flesh, it was a concession in the wake of less than ideal circumstances. At the time of Noah, we read, "G-d saw how corrupt the Earth was, for all flesh had corrupted its ways on Earth" (Genesis 6:12). How bad did things get? Well, G-d flooded the Earth except for Noah's family and two animals of each species, choosing to start from a clean slate (i.e., things got pretty bad). We know that people would eat limbs torn from living animals. G-d recognized that this was unacceptable, so He soon granted an orderly way of eating animals, thus permitting the eating of animals but not exactly holding it up as an ideal or a requirement. The idea behind kashrut is: If you must eat meat, do it as humanely as possible. Don't take a bite out of a cow as she's walking about, and take out the blood of an animal (because the bloodline is the lifeline), since we must have respect for life. (There'll be more back-to-back Torah commentary in the coming days.)

No comments: