Animal vs. Man - Who Takes Precedence

Questions to Consider:

1) If we had to wipe out an entire species of animals to save the life of one human being, would it be worth it?

2) Creating more ideal farm conditions for animals would drive up the price of food, creating less families being able to afford having balanced diet, should we institute such a practice?

3) Animal breeders raised prized pedigree to turn a profit, while dogs and cats in shelters routinely get put down with no one to adopt them. Should animal breeding be outlawed?

(א) וְהַנָּחָשׁ֙ הָיָ֣ה עָר֔וּם מִכֹּל֙ חַיַּ֣ת הַשָּׂדֶ֔ה אֲשֶׁ֥ר עָשָׂ֖ה יְהוָ֣ה אֱלֹהִ֑ים וַיֹּ֙אמֶר֙ אֶל־הָ֣אִשָּׁ֔ה אַ֚ף כִּֽי־אָמַ֣ר אֱלֹהִ֔ים לֹ֣א תֹֽאכְל֔וּ מִכֹּ֖ל עֵ֥ץ הַגָּֽן׃
(1) Now the serpent was the shrewdest of all the wild beasts that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say: You shall not eat of any tree of the garden?”
(א) והנחש היה ערום. מָה עִנְיָן זֶה לְכָאן? הָיָה לוֹ לִסְמֹךְ וַיַּעַשׂ לְאָדָם וּלְאִשְׁתּוֹ כָּתְנוֹת עוֹר וַיַּלְבִּשֵׁם, אֶלָּא לִמֶּדְךָ מֵאֵיזוֹ עֵצָה קָפַץ הַנָּחַשׁ עֲלֵיהֶם, רָאָה אוֹתָם עֲרֻמִּים וְעוֹסְקִים בְּתַשְׁמִישׁ לְעֵין כֹּל וְנִתְאַוָּה לָהּ:

(1) והנחש היה ערום AND THE SERPENT WAS SHREWD— What was the snakes intent? He saw them naked and unashamed and he coveted Eve (so he thought to kill Adam to be able to live with his wife).

Question to Ponder: What really is the difference between man and animal?

(כו) וַיֹּ֣אמֶר אֱלֹהִ֔ים נַֽעֲשֶׂ֥ה אָדָ֛ם בְּצַלְמֵ֖נוּ כִּדְמוּתֵ֑נוּ וְיִרְדּוּ֩ בִדְגַ֨ת הַיָּ֜ם וּבְע֣וֹף הַשָּׁמַ֗יִם וּבַבְּהֵמָה֙ וּבְכָל־הָאָ֔רֶץ וּבְכָל־הָרֶ֖מֶשׂ הָֽרֹמֵ֥שׂ עַל־הָאָֽרֶץ׃
(26) And God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. They shall rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the cattle, the whole earth, and all the creeping things that creep on earth.”
(ה) וירדו בדגת הים. יֵשׁ בַּלָּשׁוֹן הַזֶּה לְשׁוֹן רִדּוּי וּלְשׁוֹן יְרִידָה; זָכָה, רוֹדֶה בַחַיּוֹת וּבַבְּהֵמוֹת, לֹא זָכָה, נַעֲשֶׂה יָרוּד לִפְנֵיהֶם וְהַחַיָּה מוֹשֶׁלֶת בּוֹ:

(5) וירדו בדגת הים AND THEY SHALL RULE OVER — The expression may imply dominion as well as descending — if he is worthy he dominates over the beasts and cattle, if he is not worthy he will sink lower than them, and the beast will rule over him

(כט) וַיֹּ֣אמֶר אֱלֹהִ֗ים הִנֵּה֩ נָתַ֨תִּי לָכֶ֜ם אֶת־כָּל־עֵ֣שֶׂב ׀ זֹרֵ֣עַ זֶ֗רַע אֲשֶׁר֙ עַל־פְּנֵ֣י כָל־הָאָ֔רֶץ וְאֶת־כָּל־הָעֵ֛ץ אֲשֶׁר־בּ֥וֹ פְרִי־עֵ֖ץ זֹרֵ֣עַ זָ֑רַע לָכֶ֥ם יִֽהְיֶ֖ה לְאָכְלָֽה׃
(29) God said, “See, I give you every seed-bearing plant that is upon all the earth, and every tree that has seed-bearing fruit; they shall be yours for food.
(א) לכם יהיה לאכלה ולכל חית הארץ. הִשְׁוָה לָהֶם בְּהֵמוֹת וְחַיּוֹת לְמַאֲכָל, וְלֹא הִרְשָׁה לְאָדָם וּלְאִשְׁתּוֹ לְהָמִית בְּרִיָּה וְלֶאֱכֹל בָּשָׂר, אַךְ כָּל יֶרֶק עֵשֶׂב יֹאכְלוּ יַחַד כֻּלָם, וּכְשֶׁבָּאוּ בְנֵי נֹחַ הִתִּיר לָהֶם בָּשָׂר, שֶׁנֶאֱמַר כָּל רֶמֶשׂ אֲשֶׁר הוּא חַי וְגוֹ' כְּיֶרֶק עֵשֶׂב שֶׁהִתַּרְתִּי לְאָדָם הָרִאשׁוֹן נָתַתִּי לָכֶם אֶת כֹּל:

With regard to food, Hashem did not permit Adam to kill any creature and eat its flesh, but all alike were to eat herbs. But when the era of the “Sons of Noah” began He permitted them to eat meat, for it is said, (Genesis 9:3) “every moving thing that lives should be for food for yourselves … “even as the herb” that I permitted to the first man, so do “I give to you everything”

Question to Think About:

Why after the flood, were we allowed to eat meat? How does that make us more ethical?

(א) וּמֹשֶׁ֗ה הָיָ֥ה רֹעֶ֛ה אֶת־צֹ֛אן יִתְר֥וֹ חֹתְנ֖וֹ כֹּהֵ֣ן מִדְיָ֑ן וַיִּנְהַ֤ג אֶת־הַצֹּאן֙ אַחַ֣ר הַמִּדְבָּ֔ר וַיָּבֹ֛א אֶל־הַ֥ר הָאֱלֹהִ֖ים חֹרֵֽבָה׃ (ב) וַ֠יֵּרָא מַלְאַ֨ךְ יְהֹוָ֥ה אֵלָ֛יו בְּלַבַּת־אֵ֖שׁ מִתּ֣וֹךְ הַסְּנֶ֑ה וַיַּ֗רְא וְהִנֵּ֤ה הַסְּנֶה֙ בֹּעֵ֣ר בָּאֵ֔שׁ וְהַסְּנֶ֖ה אֵינֶ֥נּוּ אֻכָּֽל׃ (ג) וַיֹּ֣אמֶר מֹשֶׁ֔ה אָסֻֽרָה־נָּ֣א וְאֶרְאֶ֔ה אֶת־הַמַּרְאֶ֥ה הַגָּדֹ֖ל הַזֶּ֑ה מַדּ֖וּעַ לֹא־יִבְעַ֥ר הַסְּנֶֽה׃
(1) Now Moses, tending the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian, drove the flock into the wilderness, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. (2) An angel of the LORD appeared to him in a blazing fire out of a bush. He gazed, and there was a bush all aflame, yet the bush was not consumed. (3) Moses said, “I must turn aside to look at this marvelous sight; why doesn’t the bush burn up?”

Midrash on Exodus 3:1

During Moshe’s tenure as a shepherd, one of the sheep ran away. He chased the sheep, he brought it back to the rest of the flock, and he carried it home. G-d looked upon him and said, “A man who cares for his sheep, will care for his people."

ע"י מעשה באו מאי היא דההוא עגלא דהוו קא ממטו ליה לשחיטה אזל תליא לרישיה בכנפיה דרבי וקא בכי אמר ליה זיל לכך נוצרת אמרי הואיל ולא קא מרחם ליתו עליה יסורין
The Gemara stated that Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi’s suffering came upon him due to an incident. What was that incident that led to his suffering? The Gemara answers that there was a certain calf that was being led to slaughter. The calf went and hung its head on the corner of Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi’s garment and was weeping. Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi said to it: Go, as you were created for this purpose. It was said in Heaven: Since he was not compassionate toward the calf, let afflictions come upon him.
(ו) כִּ֣י יִקָּרֵ֣א קַן־צִפּ֣וֹר ׀ לְפָנֶ֡יךָ בַּדֶּ֜רֶךְ בְּכָל־עֵ֣ץ ׀ א֣וֹ עַל־הָאָ֗רֶץ אֶפְרֹחִים֙ א֣וֹ בֵיצִ֔ים וְהָאֵ֤ם רֹבֶ֙צֶת֙ עַל־הָֽאֶפְרֹחִ֔ים א֖וֹ עַל־הַבֵּיצִ֑ים לֹא־תִקַּ֥ח הָאֵ֖ם עַל־הַבָּנִֽים׃
(6) If, along the road, you chance upon a bird’s nest, in any tree or on the ground, with fledglings or eggs and the mother sitting over the fledglings or on the eggs, do not take the mother together with her young.

Rabbi Moses Feinstein - Igros Moshe

“[in regard to the situation in which] every calf is in its own pen, which is so narrow that it does not have space even to take a few steps, and the calves are not fed the appropriate food for them, and have never tasted their mother’s milk, but they are fattened with very fatty liquids…this is certainly forbidden on the basis of cruelty to animals. Even though it is permissible [to cause pain to animals] in order to satisfy human needs, by slaughtering animals for food, or by employing animals to plow, to carry burdens or other such things, it is not permissible otherwise to cause them suffering, even when one stands to profit from such practices.