Vegetarianism and morality

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    On the one hand, it is very clear that there is nothing immoral about eating meat. At the very least, the fact that it is allowed shows that it is moral, not to the mention the Mitzvos that are associated with eating meat (korbanos, simchas Yom Tov). On the other hand, from the creation of the world until the flood, eating meat was immoral. What happened that cause the change? Did mankind change or did morality change?

    If we say mankind changed, that the original intention was vegetarianism, and that G-d realized (whatever that means) that man isn’t on the level to withhold from meat, does that mean that vegetarianism is an ideal to strive for and that eating meat is only bedieved? I mean this theoretically, I assume practically there are countless other things to work on before reaching that level.

    Or do we say morality changed and really eating meat nowadays is one hundred percent lechatchilah (aside from the fact that in terms of mourning the churban, maybe we should not be eating meat if we were on that level). If so, what caused morality to change? And additionally, does that mean morality in general is subjective and not objective? If the morality of eating meat can change with the times, why can’t anything else?


    If the morality of eating meat can change with the times, why can’t anything else?

    Agreed. I think it’s about time to reconsider the morality of eating people who think it’s immoral for us to eat animals.


    I eat meat, but you do need to check how the animals are taken care of, it IS inhumane.

    Cows are given cow feed that contains cows (Thats how Mad Cows diesase is spread, cows are not canabalistic animals) Chicken Coops are barbaric, the chickens are so couped up they peck at each other.

    Veal is an animals that is chained up so it never moves.

    Foie-Gras is a goose that is force fed.


    In your explanation of ‘man changed’, you talk aboud G-d changed.


    bosor taavih was ossur in the midbar. then Hashem matired it. no “morality” changed.


    Eating meat was never “immoral”. Before the mabul it was assur. After the mabul HaShem mattired eating meat. Eating meat, with the exception of Korban Pesach (not sure if other Kodshim require eating or not), is a reshus, not a chiyuv.

    on the ball

    Morality is dictated only by G-d’s command. Not by our puny intuition.

    Prior to the mabul G-d disallowed it, afterwards He allowed it. It’s as simple as that.

    Why was there a change? It doesn’t really matter but one could theorise that by saving all animals, Noach ‘earned’ the right for humanity to eat meat.


    In Rav Yosef Dov Soloveitchik’s zt”l “The Emergence of Ethical Man,” he discusses this issue briefly. He concludes from a Torah perspective, eating meat is an immoral act, but Hashem gave a heter with restrictions (i.e., Kashrus) for various reasons. I don’t remember them off hand, but you can look in the book. It’s fantastic.



    Why are you using the word “moral”? The Torah doesn’t say anything about it being moral or immoral. At one point it wasn’t permitted, then later it became permitted. End of story. Would it be as difficult for you to understand if at one point in history sha’atnez was permitted and at another it was prohibited? It shouldn’t be. If it is, it’s probably because there is a lot more personal feeling in this question as there is intellectual detachment.


    About basar ta’ava, I don’t know why you would choose to pasken like R’ Yishmael over R’ Akiva. ???? ???? ????? ??????. At the very least you should mention that this is one opinion.


    yitaynigwut — The Rambam has very harsh words to say about those who claim the Torah’s mitzvos have no moral value. You’re treading on a minefield.

    on the ball

    Abelleh: Sorry, no – we don’t ask why or talk about morals – we just follow our orders.

    See Mishna in Brachos Perek 5 Mishna 3:

    ‘Someone who says ‘Your mercy reaches the Kan Tzipor (the mother bird who must be sent away before her eggs are taken)’ – … we silence him.

    Says Bartenura – ‘ Because he ascribes merciful intentions to G-d when they are in fact (simply) a King’s decree on his subjects.


    Hullin peh daled:Tannu Rabanan: … what is the meaning of ‘asher yatzud’? The Torah here teaches derech eretz– that one should only eat meat with this preparation (Rashi there, “not frequently”) T”R Ki yarchiv Hashem es gevulcah (devorim 12″ the Torah here teaches derech eretz: that one should only eat meat ‘letayavon’. Pehaps one [with tayavon] should

    procure meat from the market and eat it? The verse teaches “and you shall slaughter from your cattle and your sheep. Perhaps from all your cattle? the verse teaches ‘from’ your cattle (not in excess)

    yitaynigwut; is “The Torah teaches here derech eretz” not a moral directive?


    Until Matan Torah, there were no ervos. We know that Yaakov married two sisters. Does that make him Chayav Misa Lemaphrea?


    I take that back…not the same ervos.


    Abelleh -“In Rav Yosef Dov Soloveitchik’s zt”l “The Emergence of Ethical Man,” he discusses this issue briefly. He concludes from a Torah perspective, eating meat is an immoral act,”

    You must be misquoting him because I never heard such a Naarishe thing before. This can only be true with Chulin, if at all. The whole idea by Kodshim was that you could it the meat in those Korbonos that didn’t have to be totally burnt. That’s why by Chulin there was originally a problem because eating was supposed to be limited to Kodshim!



    I am quite aware of what the Rambam says, and I have quoted his words often on the site. Here is a passage that ostensibly supports your claim, which I have cited at least once before (Guide 3:31):

    ???? ??? ????? ????? ????? ????? ???? ????? ?? ??????, ????? ???? ??? ????? ????? ??????? ???? ???, ???? ????? ?? ?? ??? ???’ ??? ????? ??? ???? ??? ?????? ??????? ??? ??????? ????? ?? ??????? ???, ???? ????? ??? ??????? ???????? ??? ???, ???? ???? ???? ??? ??? ????? ?? ???? ??? ??? ???? ??????, ???? ??? ??? ??? ???. ?? ?? ???? ????? ???? ???? ???, ????? ???’ ??? ???? ???? ???? ??? ??????, ?? ???? ??? ??? ???? ????? ?? ????? ?????? ???, ???? ?? ???? ?? ??? ?????? ????? ?? ??? ??????? ????? ???’. ????? ?? ?????, ??? ????? ???? ??, ??????? ???? ????????, ??? ?????? ????? ???’ ??? ?????? ?? ?? ????? ???? ????? ?? ?? ??? ????? ???? ????? ??? , ??? ??? ?????? ?????? ???? ???? ?? ?? ????? ??? ????? ???????, ??? ???? ????? ??? ???? ?? ????, ??? ???? ?????, ??? ???? ???, ??? ???? ??????? ?? ?????? ???? ??? ????? ????? ????? ?????? ??? ??????. ??? ????? ??? ?????? ??? ???, ??? ??? ???? ???? ???”? ????? ??? ?? ?????? ??? ?????, ?? ????? ??? ??, ?? ?????? ??? ???, ?? ????? ???, ?? ?????? ????? ?????, ?? ?????? ????? ????.

    Admittedly, the general trend of the Rambam’s words seem to observe a “moral value” in the laws of the Torah. However, if by “moral value” you mean a sentiment or feeling perceived inside a person, you are very wrong. Such might be the so-called opinion of some (psudeo-)philosophers of today, but the Rambam never held that.

    In the above passage the Rambam states a list of values, which are:

    ?????? ??? ????? To give a true opinion

    ????? ??? ?? To remove a false opinion

    ?????? ??? ??? To give an order of integrity

    ????? ??? To remove injustice

    ?????? ????? ????? To teach good attributes

    ?????? ????? ???? To warn away from bad attributes

    The Torah, according to the Rambam, gives credence to certain ideas, and to certain modes of action. He makes no mention of feelings. What I feel is good another might feel is bad and all of it might just be a product of our respective environments; to bring feelings into an intellectual discussion and brand them as truths is naive and untrue.

    And just to bring it a little bit further, there is a passage from a letter from the Rambam to the ???? ????????? (it can be found in the Igros Harambam ed. Shilat Vol. II p. 479) which reads as follows:

    Basically there are three things that are worth believing in; logic, the five senses, and something told to you by a person whose perception of reality is greater than yours. But to believe that a moral feeling is an accurate representation of truth? That’s foolishness at best and egocentricity at worst.

    Therefore the question of the OP is a non-question, and I stand by my original answer.


    Derech eretz is not a “moral” directive in the sense the word is being used here. There is a whole masechta (albeit k’tana, found after Talmud AZ and Horayos) called ???? ??? ??? that tells us many interesting rules of derech eretz such as ways of eating etc., things you wouldn’t say have anything to do with “morality.” The most simple translation, though it varies based on context, would be manners.


    I am a vegetarian not because i love animals, I just hate plants.


    And I eat animals because I love them so much…

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