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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review July 20, 2009 / 28 Tamuz 5769

Animals' relationship with mankind

By Rabbi Dr. Asher Meir





http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Q. Is it forbidden to purchase products that were produced due to animal suffering, such as cosmetics tested on animal?


A. We have related to animal welfare questions before, but because of the importance of the topic this time we will discuss it at greater length, in order to express the underlying principles.


Animals have always been an important part of human existence; from the dawn of history until only a few generations ago, virtually every person from the poorest to the richest lived in the intimate company of domestic animals. So it is hardly surprising that the Torah devotes much attention to the place of animals in creation and to their relationship with mankind.


Indeed, following the creation of man the first thing G-d does is to define his place in creation. First we learn that only man is created in G-d's image; in the following verse He gives man "dominion over the fish of the sea, and the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that creeps upon the earth" (Genesis 1:26). Yet in the very next verse He qualifies: "I have given you all the herbs bearing seed on the whole face of the earth, and every tree bearing fruit giving seed, I have given you to eat." Man is meant to dominate the animals, but he is not allowed to eat them, indicating that the animal soul is worthy of consideration.


In the second chapter of Genesis, G-d sees that Adam needs companionship, "a help corresponding to him." First Adam seeks this companionship among the animals, but he doesn't find it there, but only with Eve, a human companion. Again we see that animals are in some sense kindred spirits to man, but they are not truly friends of companions.


Only two chapters later, we find an additional nuance helping us define the exact relative standing of animals and people. The brothers Cain and Abel both sought to bring a sacrifice to G-d; Cain brought produce, whereas Abel brought an animal sacrifice, "from the first-born and the fat of his flock" (Genesis 2:3-4). Given the meaningful standing of animals, we might have think that Abel's sacrifice would have been shunned, but we find on the contrary that specifically his offering was accepted. So while eating animals was not permitted, sacrificing them was evidently proper.


In chapter 6, we again find that man and beast have their fates interlinked; faced with rampant immorality, G-d decides to blot out "both man and beast." Subsequently, there is a noted change in the relationship; we learn that after the flood, mankind is suddenly allowed to eat animals. This could be interpreted to mean that man's status is suddenly elevated, but it is more likely the opposite: that given man's bestial behavior before the flood, man needs a sign of his status to remind him that he is distinguished from the beasts.


As mankind's holy mission is renewed on Mount Sinai at the giving of the Torah, animals are again not neglected; already in the Ten Commandments we find the commandment to give beasts rest on the Sabbath Day. (Exodus 20:9, Deuteronomy 5:13.)


Later we find a host of commandments mandating humane treatment of animals. These include: helping to unload an overburdened draft animal (Exodus 23:5); not muzzling an ox as he helps in threshing the grain. (Deuteronomy 25:4.)


We also find a limitation on the post-diluvian permission to eat meat, as the children of Israel are permitted only certain animals, only after humane slaughter, and without consuming the blood. Many commentators view this is a sign that the giving of the Torah marks the turning point in man's evolution, and sets him back on a path of ethical advancement returning to his exalted status at the time of creation.


Next week we will continue with an explanation and elaboration of the role of animals in Jewish tradition, but the starting point is the statements in the Torah that we have seen today.

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JWR contributor Rabbi Dr. Asher Meir, formerly of the Council of Economic Advisers in the Reagan administration, is Research Director of the Business Ethics Center of Jerusalem, Jerusalem College of Technology. To comment or pose a question, please click here.

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