Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Hayom tisha v'esrim yom, shehaym arbaa shavuot v'yom echad baomer

Eventually, after everything I've mentioned in my last few posts, G-d said, "When the Lord thy God shall enlarge thy border as He hath promised thee, and thou shalt say: 'I will eat flesh,' because thy soul desireth to eat flesh; thou mayest eat flesh, after all the desire of thy soul" (Deuteronomy 12:20). As Judaism and Vegetarianism author Richard Schwartz has written:

This permitted meat was called b'sar ta'avah, "meat of lust," so named because, as the following rabbinic teachings indicate, meat is not considered a necessity for life. The above verse does not command people to eat meat. Rabbinic tradition perceives it to indicate that it is people's desire to eat flesh and not God's edict that people do so. Even while arguing against vegetarianism as a moral cause, Rabbi Elijah Judah Schochet, author of Animal Life in Jewish Tradition (1984), concedes that "Scripture does not command the Israelite to eat meat, but rather permits this diet as a concession to lust." ...

Commenting on the above Torah verse (Deut. 12:20), modern Torah scholar and teacher Nehama Leibowitz points out how odd the dispensation is and how grudgingly permission to eat meat is granted. She concludes ... that we have been given a "barely tolerated dispensation," if we cannot resist temptation and must eat meat, to slaughter animals for our consumption. Rav Kook also regards the same Torah verse as clearly indicating that the Torah did not regard the slaughter of animals for human consumption as an ideal state of affairs.

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