Volume 15 Number 91
                       Produced: Thu Oct 20  1:04:25 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Animal Rights
         [Harry Weiss]
Gentiles and Yom Kippur
         [Mordechai Torczyner]
Judaism and Vegetarianism
         [Doni Zivotofsky]
Judaism and Vegetarianism (3) Factory Farming
         [David Charlap]
judaism and Vegetarianism (3) Factory Farming
         [Warren Burstein]
Meat Eating
         [ Dr. Jeremy Schiff]
Wearing watches on Shabbat
         [Ellen Golden]


From: <harry.weiss@...> (Harry Weiss)
Date: Wed, 19 Oct 94 10:54:35 -0700
Subject: Animal Rights

Richard Schwartz posting in MJ15-81 regarding factory farming shows how
some fervent vegetarians are converting vegetarianism to almost a

It is true that there are numerous problems with the way many animals
are raised.  Some of these are specifically in violation of
Halacha. This does not mean that one should not eat meat. The Kashrus
agencies who supervise meat are fully aware of the laws regarding meats
and would not certify meat that one is prohibited from eating.

Among the examples cited by Schwartz is the castrating of calves and
other activities that restrict the "natural sex lives of animals".
Castrating animals is prohibited by Halacha, but I don't see the
Schwartz or other animal rights activists coming out against castrating
dogs or cats which is equally prohibited.

Perhaps instead of campaigning to stop food production and all of the
Mitzvot that goes with preparation of meat, it would be more appropriate
to campaign to eliminate household pets.  After all they are often kept
indoors, separated from their mothers and all of their natural freedoms
are taken away :-)



From: Mordechai Torczyner <torczynr@...>
Date: Wed, 19 Oct 1994 01:04:58 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Gentiles and Yom Kippur

Stephen Phillips:

> Do we not say in the "Unesaneh Tokef" prayer that everyone in the world 
> comes before the Almighty for judgement?

 In an 'Aseres Yimai Teshuva drasha in Israel this year, Rav Herschel
 Schachter mentioned ( I believe it was in the name of Rav Solovetchik
 Zt"l, but I'm not certain of that, ) that while the entire world is
 judged on Rosh Hashana, there is no source for a Yom Kippur for the
 nations.  This is related to the nature of Yom Kippur itself, as the
 day when the second set of luchos were given to B'nai Yisrael, a symbol
 of our attainment of forgiveness. ( There was much more in addition to
 this, but my memory seems to be suffering from the insidious Forgetting


From: <DONIZ@...> (Doni Zivotofsky)
Date: Wed, 19 Oct 1994 01:29:42 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Judaism and Vegetarianism

Richard Schwartz's next segment against the use of any animal products
by frum Jews, brings out the concept of Tza'ar Ba'alei Chaim -
minimizing the suffering of animals.  This is a concept that I think the
Torah emphasizes in a number of mitvos (eg.  Shiluach Hakan, osso ve'es
bno, kilayim, shechitah, basar vechalv (how abhorrent to seethe a kid in
its own mothers milk), to name but a few).  A nice review of this
subject can be found in a book by the same name by Noah J. Cohen and
published by Feldheim publishers.  I feel strongly that the Torah
mandates kindness to animals and, as a Jewish applicant, used this
concept as the thesis for my entrance essay to veterinary school.
     However, Richard wants to use the examples he brings from the Avos
(forefathers) as support for an animal-product free lifestyle.  Yet the
ancestors of our people all made a living from animal agriculture. They
obtained food, clothing and currency from their animals and or their
animals' "byproducts".  Their wealth and success is often measured by
the numbers of their livestock.  Why did Yosef tell paraoh that the
children of Israel would have to live separately from the rest of the
egyptian population - to tend to their flocks that the rest of the
Egyptian animal-worshipping population would not tolerate.  .

One of the best examples might be from this week's parsha (weekly Torah
portion).  Avraham Avinu receives three guests.  To honor them he serves
butter, milk and then a "tender young bullock" (veal?)  Rashi brings the
gemarah that he actually slaughtered three calves so that each guest
could have a whole tongue with mustard (Did they have it on "real Jewish
     In any event, I think that a more appropriate conclusion from the
example of biblical personalities and their animals might be that God
gave us the domestic animals to care for (to farm).  We may use them
(and, as Tzvi Weiss points out, sometimes must use them to fulfill
mitvos) but we must always be considerate of their needs.  This may be
analogous to a Jewish concept of slavery where the slave at times must
be treated better than the master - and sometimes one's animals receive
first priority over the master (eg. feeding one's animals first).

 It does not, however, preclude human beings from using animals for
labor, transportation, shelter, clothing, meat or milk.
     If one has a problem with certain practices of "factory farming"
than maybe those practices themselves should be avoided.

However, many of the claims of abuse in so-called factory farming are
exaggerations or misunderstandings.  Our domestic animals are just that
domestic.  They are not wild animals and most could not survive if set
free in "nature".  At some point in history they were bred to be as they
are today,or maybe God gave them to us this way, but nonetheless they
are dependent on humans for their basic needs of food and shelter.  What
measure can we use to determine if these animals are in fact suffering?
On a "short- term" basis the reaction of the animal might be helpful
although maybe not a true indicator.  Does it avoid how its being
treated or cry out in pain?  On a longer term basis we must look at
other measures.  I think a good indicator would be how well the animal
thrives and produces.  A suffering animal will not thrive or produce
well.  That outcome will be bad for the farmer (factory or not) as well
as the animal so it is not likely that a farmer will pursue such a
program if he can avoid it.  Some examples from the business that I am
most involved with - lactating dairy cows.  We may be consulted to
determine why a producer's cows are not producing as well they could or
are not as healthy.  Cow comfort is often the culprit and farmers will
readily accommodate their cows when we point out the difference it can
make.  When we walk into the barn one of the first observations we make
is if the cows are laying comfortably with sufficient space and adequate
clean bedding and if the majority of the cows are ("contentedly")
chewing their cud.  In the same vein, I have often seen ads looking to
hire exclusively women to milk cows because the general perception is
that women milkers handle the cows more gently and the cows thus have
less stress and produce better.  I could bring more examples from other
areas but I think the point has been illustrated.
     To briefly address some of the specific points Richard mentions.
1) Veal calves taken off the mother after two days of nursing to be
raised separately but on a nutritious diet ( like Similac).  I think it
is important to qualify and quantify what you mean by being made
"anemic".  Licking their own urine - lots of cattle (adults included)
will do this and without any dietary deficiencies.  A third of normal
healthy cattle will occasionally eat dirt/soil for "no good reason".
Cows are funny.  Where do dogs gravitate to when they are taken for a
walk?  The excrement of another dog.  It is important not to be too
anthropomorphic when trying to determine what is normal for animals.  2)
Artificial insemination - is this really cruel?  Where does it say that
animals must be exposed to members of the opposite sex or have
intercourse with them.  AI sure cuts down on the incidence of venereally
transmitted diseases.  It also permits certain manipulation for the
benefit of man and beast. Eg.  Genetic selection for disease resistance,
selection of "calving- ease bulls" for inseminating maiden heifers to
minimize trauma and possibly death to first time mothers.  3) dehorning
cattle (and castration which I'm afraid D/T halachic constraints I can't
defend) are done for the safety of the animals as well as their human
handlers.  If done early the trauma is minimal.  (i.e. resume eating
etc.. without signs of stress, immediately).  Some country's, such as
Great Britain have legislature now which prohibits these procedures from
being done without proper anesthesia.  There may be a little added
expense and inconvenience but it is probably worth the effort.
        There will probably always be the abusers but I don't think we
can say it is the rule or the policy of the industry of animal
agriculture.  I believe that the Torah mandates that we be vigilante in
the prevention of Tsa'ar Ba'alei Chaim but that need not preclude the
use of animals for our benefit.



From: <david@...> (David Charlap)
Date: Wed, 19 Oct 94 12:45:50 EDT
Subject: Re: Judaism and Vegetarianism (3) Factory Farming

Richard Schwartz makes two statements that, despite their truth, don't
follow to his conclusion.  He states that:

1) Judaism prohibits cruelty to animals (with examples)
2) Factory farms exhibit cruelty (with examples)

 From this, he wants to convince everyone to avoid meat.  What I'd
like to know is: how does the conclusion follow from these statements?
Unless you want to claim (and if anyone does make this claim, please
show examples) that Jewish-run farms are as cruel as the factory farms
cited, there is no Jewish basis for the argument.

Non-Jews have no obligation to be kind to animals.  The only one of
the seven Noachide laws that comes close is "Eiver min ha-chai" -
don't eat meat from an animal that is alive.  (This is the only one
that deals with animals.  One deals with God, and the other five deal
with other human beings.)

The commandment of "tza'ar ba'alei chaim" - don't cause pain to living
things is only given to Jews.

Therefore, without evidence of Jewish farms engaging in these acts of
cruelty, there is no halachic reason to avoid using their products.
And not all kosher meat comes from Jewish farms (only the shochet and
the mashgiach need be Jewish), so a non-Jewish farm that sells kosher
meat still wouldn't be violating halacha.

Boycotting farms that engage in cruelty may be a good thing.  And
vegetarianism may be a good thing.  But without more solid arguments,
there is no basis to claim that God demands it.

To quote from Richard's article:
>     Many more examples could be given, but the essential point is
>that, contrary to basic Jewish values, animals are treated like
>machines on factory farms, and virtually everything seems to be
>acceptable, as long as it enhances the profit of the venture.
>     There are many books and videos that explore these issues in
>much detail.  Ideally, "the souls of all living creatures will praise
>G-d", but what must G-d think about the incredibly brutal ways in
>which animals are treated today on factory farms.

Ignoring the possibility that these books and videos may be
inaccurate, the argument still doesn't follow.  Neither here, nor
anywhere else in the article does Richard ever state that these
"Factory farms" are Jewish owned or operated.  The Torah commandment
against cruelty to animals does not apply to non-Jews, and therefore
this conclusion is a complete non-sequitor to the rest of the

From: <warren@...> (Warren Burstein)
Date: Wed, 19 Oct 1994 05:40:18 GMT
Subject: Re: judaism and Vegetarianism (3) Factory Farming

I agree with Richard Schwartz's concerns about the way livestock is
raised (he doesn't say what he would like done about it, I'd like to
see a source of kosher meat that eliminates these and other problems),
with the exception of

> 3. Dairy cows are artificially impregnated annually, so that they'll be
>able to produce large amounts of milk.  This is just one of many ways
>that we have interfered with the natural sex lives of animals.

It seems to me that the owner of a cow would be entitled to have the
cow impregnated annually in the natural way, or never at all, and that
the "natural sex lives of animals" is not a halachic concern, so I
can't see what halacha is violated by artificially impregnating the

> 6. Some cattle are dehorned so that they won't injure one another.

Does this hurt the animal?

 |warren@         an Anglo-Saxon." -- Stuart Schoffman
/ nysernet.org


From: <schiff@...> ( Dr. Jeremy Schiff)
Date: Tue, 18 Oct 1994 13:37:22 +0200
Subject: Meat Eating

I haven't been following the meat-eating discussion, because I'm not a
fanatic either way on the issue, but while reading Zvi Weiss' posting
the random thought passed through my mind that for Simchat Yom Tov we
are told to have basar veyayin [meat and wine - Mod.], and if I remember
right (from my perusing of the definitely non-scientific literature on
the subject), there is some belief that wine keeps down harmful
cholesterol levels (I think there was some research done on why the
French are not dropping like flies given their diet). Maybe there is
also some health reason that we are mandated to eat the korban Pesach
"al matsot umerorim" (with matzah and bitter herbs)?



From: <ask@...> (a.s.kamlet)
Date: 18 Oct 1994  18:15 EDT
Subject: Vegetarianism

Zvi Weiss <weissz@...> writes:

> The BIG problem that I have with Richard Schwartz is that he is
> campaigning to forbid something that Hashem has EXPLICITLY permitted.

Didn't Rabbenu Gershom forbid Leverite Marriages, which were
specifically permitted in the Torah?

Didn't the rabbis forbid cuting off the hand of a woman who
interfers in a fight to help her husband?

Art Kamlet   AT&T Bell Laboratories, Columbus   <ask@...>


From: <egolden@...> (Ellen Golden)
Date: Wed, 19 Oct 94 01:47:09 EDT
Subject: Wearing watches on Shabbat

I, for reasons not even remotely relating to Shabbos, do not wear a
watch at all (the band constricts and hurts my very sensitive wrists).
I find this a VERY liberating thing.  I would think that anyone who
regularly wears a watch during the week would find doing without it a
liberation for Shabbos.  There are many ways to figure out what time
it is, and there are often clocks within view.  The sun itself, of
course, or the slant of the light, should alert someone who needs to
get to mincha that the time is drawing near....

I'm talking from the "other side" in a sense, since I "can't" wear a
watch, but I'm just trying to present some of the positive aspects of
not wearing a watch on Shabbos.

- Ellen Golden
Brookline, Massachusetts


End of Volume 15 Issue 91