GrowTorah Core Value: Cultivating Compassion for all creatures
In the Garden of Eden, no one ate meat. Only after the flood were humans given permission to eat it. In the desert, that permission is limited and refined for Bnei Israel – they are supposed to only eat meat when offered as a korban, and they are required to spill out the blood. What can we learn from these halachot? What is our responsibility towards animals - those that we eat and those we don't?
Lesson Title: The Complexity of Korbanot
What new halachah must Bnei Yisrael follow with regard to eating meat after the Mishkan is built?
- Bnei Israel must present all slaughtered meat as a korban
How does the use of animals for korbanot relate to the background of eating meat in the Torah?
- Only with Noah were humans permitted to eat meat, and the limits on meat with the Mishkan recall this fundamentally different relationship with animals
How do these pesukim contrast with the previous pesukim about meat and korbanot?
- These pesukim address hunting as opposed to slaughter, and have a prohibition on blood but not on the meat
How do both the halachot have both physical and spiritual implications?
- They limit how we eat meat, or how we did so in the desert. While clearly physical, they also highlight the holiness of the animals and their blood
Which of these halachot do you think most applies today?
- The prohibition on blood
What parallels between humans and other animals are drawn in these pesukim?
- Soul, intellect, recognition
How do we account for these similarities when using animals as korbanot?
- Cover the soul and hide the eyes
What do you think these sources imply about how we should treat animals today, when we no longer bring korbanot?
- They teach us to treat animals with caution, care and compassion
Living the Lesson
How do some principles of animal treatment used in korbanot apply to shechita practices today?
- avoiding the blood, easy and clean death
If shechita is the most modern equivalent to korbanot in terms of eating meat, how do we need to ensure that animals are treated properly?
- Beyond just checking the knives, the conditions that animals are raised in should be comfortable and healthy, and there should be no unnecessary pain at any point in the process.
ספר אגרות משה, אבן העזר חלק רביעי צב:ב
ובדבר העגלים שנתחדש זה לא כבר שמפטמין אותן כל עגל במקום מיוחד לבד צר מאד שאין להם מקום אף לילך איזה פסיעות, ואין מאכילים אותן כלום ממאכלי בהמות הראוים לעגלים ולא טעמו חלב אמם כלל... עכ״פ חזינן שלא כל דבר רשאי האדם לעשות בבהמות שמצער אותם אף שהוא להרויח מזה, אלא דבר שהוא הנאת אדם ממש כשחיטת הבהמות לאכילה ולעבוד בהם וכדומה ... מ״מ אסור לצער את הבהמה להאכילה דברים שאין לה הנאה מהן שהיא מצטערת באכילה, וגם הם נחלות מזה וסובלים יסורין מהחולי, שבשביל הנאה זו דיכול לרמות האינשי אסור לעשות כן מאיסור צער בע״ח מדאורייתא שלא הותר זה להאינשי לצער בע״ח.
Sefer Iggrot Moshe, Even Haezer IV 92:2
And on the topic of the calves, that they've recently started to fatten each calf, in a separate enclosure, so narrow that they cannot even walk a few steps, and they do not feed them any food that is suitable for calves and they cannot even taste their mother's milk... in any case we see that man does not have the right to do everything he can to animals that would pain them, even if he would profit from it, rather he is permitted to do things that benefit man greatly, like slaughtering animals for food and working them and such... In any case it is prohibited to pain an animal to eat things that have no pleasure for them, that it is painful for them to eat, and also become ill from it and suffer from the illness, that on account of the benefit they can deceive the people, but it is prohibited to do such by the Torah prohibition on the suffering of animals and this is not permitted for people to do – because of the suffering of animals.
How does Rav Moshe's teshuva on eating veal imply that we have a responsibility to ensure the humane treatment of animals that we eat?
- Although veal is made for the benefit of humans, Rav Moshe rules that current practices are prohibited because of tzaar baalei chayim. This generally implies that we are required to ensure humane condition even for animals raised for food.
How does this implication relate to korbanot?
- Korbanot show us the importance of the soul of the animal, and from that principle we learn compassion and care for animals, even those that serve a purpose for us.
Though we are forbidden from eating any creatures in the garden, what does the way we are commanded to treat animals we can eat teach us about how we should treat all animals?
- If we have to care about the animals that we raise to kill for food, all the more so creatures in the garden and all animals.