Kosher Meat is an Oxymoron

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4 min read

Ingrid sent me this list of quotes from Rabbis that she received from the Jewish Vegetarians of North America the other day. It’s really a fascinating read, whether you happen to be Jewish or not.

“It should not be believed that all beings exist for the sake of the existence of man. On the contrary, all the other beings too have been intended for their own sakes and not for the sake of anything else…There is no difference between the pain of humans and the pain of other animals.”Rabbi Moses Maimonides (1135-1204), Guide for the Perplexed “In the killing of animals, there is cruelty.” Rabbi Joseph Albo, Sefer Ha-Ikarim, Vol. III, Ch. 15 “To make animals suffer is forbidden by the Torah.” Rabbi Shear Yashuv Cohen, Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Haifa, Israel “The dietary laws are intended to teach us compassion and lead us gently [back] to vegetarianism.” Rabbi Shlomo Raskin

“If This is Kosher . . .” a video narrated by Jonathan Safran Foer

“He who kills an ox is as if he slew a person.” Isaiah 66:3 “One who destroys a single life is considered to have destroyed an entire world, and one who saves a single life is considered to have saved an entire world.” –> Talmud, Sanhedrin 4:5 “The fate of men and the fate of animals, they have one and the same fate. As one dies, so does the other, and they all have the same spirit.” Ecclesiastes 3:19 “I don’t want my food choices to condone the suffering that occurs in the animal food industry. Judaism takes seriously the idea of personal responsibility. Communal change for the better and improved societal ethical behavior starts with the individual.” Rabbi Adam Frank “The laws of kashrut come to teach us that a Jew’s first preference should be a vegetarian meal.” Rabbi Pinchas Peli, Torah Today “A higher form of being kosher is vegetarianism.” Rabbi Daniel Jezer “We should make all our consumption as holy as possible…The more we live as if this were the messianic age the closer we are to it.” Rabbi Rami Shapiro “What may have once made sense, now can no longer be justified….Let us realize today, in the vast majority of cases, ‘kosher meat’ is an oxymoron.” Rabbi Fred Scherlinder Dobb “By not eating meat, I am much more certain to never violate, even accidentally, the Biblical and rabbinic prohibitions concerning non-kosher meat. The traditional production of kosher meat never envisioned mass slaughterhouses or factory farms. It is questionable whether most meat or poultry produced in this country that is sold as kosher is actually in compliance with the traditional rules of kashrut as well as the prohibition against cruelty to animals.” Rabbi Jon-Jay Tilsen “The simpler way [of maintaining kashrut], which is the better way in the eyes of the tradition, is to be vegetarian.” Rabbi Michael Cohen “If you don’t eat meat, you are certainly kosher… And I believe that is what we should tell our fellow rabbis.” Rabbi Shear Yashuv Cohen, Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Haifa, Israel “The Nazis explicitly structured their industrial destruction of the Jews on the model of animal slaughter. This is not to compare the suffering of animals and humans, but shows that the way we treat animals is similar to the way the Nazis treated us.” Rabbi Hillel Norry “Be kind and compassionate to all creatures that the Holy One, Blessed Be He, created in this world. Neither beat nor inflict pain on any animal, beast, bird or insect. Do not throw stones at a dog or a cat, nor should you kill flies or wasps.” Sefer Chasidim [Book of the Pious] “One does not ask for forgiveness of sins while wearing articles made from the skins of slaughtered animals.” Shulchan Aruch [Code of Jewish Law] “Perhaps the most powerful argument in favor of vegetarianism today more than ever before … is the prohibition against ‘chillul HaShem’, the desecration of God’s name. Surely it is precisely such a desecration when observant Jews eat animals produced under conditions of cruelty that flagrantly violate Jewish teachings and prohibitions…” Rabbi David Rosen, former Chief Rabbi of Ireland “It is not necessary for any human benefit to consume the flesh of animals. In fact it is harmful to human health, destructive of the environment, and wasteful of valuable resources that could be better used to feed the hungry and provide for the needy. All of these are Torah values.” Rabbi Hillel Norry “I grew repulsed by the idea of killing and eating animals, so I stopped.” Rabbi Jon-Jay Tilsen “The staples of life do not include meat.” Rabbi David Golinkin “My decision to abstain from the consumption of animal products is an expression of my adherence to Jewish law.” Rabbi Adam Frank “Even the Torah itself recognizes that eating meat is not an ideal thing for the human being. It’s not the ideal diet for the human race.” Rabbi Simchah Roth “There is simply no spiritual defense in either the Western or Eastern religious traditions for eating meat.” Rabbi Marc Gellman, “The First Hamburger” “I relate vegetarianism to Judaism in several ways…the torture of animals and the suffering that they go through, to be raised on these large factory farms and then eaten is really forbidden by Judaism.” Adam Stein, rabbinical student

And in case you’ve never seen it, check out what PETA found when we went undercover in the largest “kosher” slaughterhouse in existence.

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