Volume 16 Number 45
                       Produced: Wed Nov  9 20:20:48 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Avi Feldblum]
Judaism and Veg
         [Moshe Genuth]
         [Zvi Weiss]
Women's roles
         [Joel Goldberg]


From: Avi Feldblum <feldblum@...>
Date: Wed, 9 Nov 1994 20:16:49 -0500
Subject: Administrivia

Hello All,

I'm working tonight on our mail-jewish backlog. I hope to get to most of
the messages from Oct 1 through Nov 1. Most stuff that is sitting from
earlier than Oct 1 will not be used. I apologize to all for the postings
that have sat and will not be used. I am finding my current access much
better than in the past, so hopefully I will be better able to keep
things moving on an even track.

Some topics are being discussed long past where anything new is being
said. It does no good to anyone to just keep posting the same type of
stuff over in some of these topics. Areas that appear to me to have run
to the point of repetition include much of the vegetarianism vs meat
eating, so I have two postings here, but all new postings on this
subject will be subject to additional scrutiny as to what new they have
to offer. A similar topic is the Flood postings and general Age of the
Earth/Universe etc. I really think this has been beaten to death, and I
do not think that anyone is going to convince others by repeating
things. All sides have had a chance to present their opinions, I may
allow one more digest to go out with some of the backlogged postings on
that topic, and then will put that topic in this increased scrutiny
catagory. The third area that I am concerned may have more than outrun
it's value in our discussions is the "wife-beating" topic. Unless there
is something clearly new and of general interest, I will also scrutinize
carefully all new articles on that topic.

I'll get another Administrivia out later tonite or early tomorrow to let
you know where we stand in regard to backlogged articles. In general
though, articles of length less than about 30-40 lines from members who
are not sending multiple messages per day, have been going out within
24-48 hours. I will try to keep that constant. 

Avi Feldblum
mail-jewish Moderator
<mljewish@...> or feldblum@cnj.digex.net


From: <bais@...> (Moshe Genuth)
Date: Thu, 20 Oct 94 12:06:20 PDT
Subject: Judaism and Veg

A number of statements should be made regarding Zvi Weiss' article in #81,
not so much to disclaim it as to show that there exists a very different 
way of approaching vegetarianism in Torah. Please excuse me for not ordering
the quotes as they appear in his article as I would like to develop a 
certain idea along the way, in any case I have tried not to take them out of 
context. Also the following is not an written in support of Richard 
Smith's article/s on Veg. as I have not read them and do not know what his 
arguments and proofs are.

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

This should not be a problem for anyone, as the Torah explicitly permits
(in lieu of the extensive discussion on the topic) slavery, and I am not
writing of Jewish "slavery" which is basically having a person on a
special tax-free pay role, rather the type of slavery found with a
shifcha and eved knaani.  Nonetheless, even though the Kadosh Baruch Hu
"permits" it, we would all campaign to forbid it morally, etc.  And
right we would be as the Halachic aspect of Torah is not the end but the
means to morality.  It provides a minimalist boundary for human action,
not the maximum possible.

Zvi asks:
> please do not cite the Rambam who states that Korbanot were just to wean  
> the Jews from Avoda Zara... First of all, the VAST majority of Rishonim 
> disagree; Second, the Rambam has the halachot of Korbanot in the "Yad" -- 
> which he would not do if he did not think that they were still applicable;
> third, I heard Rav A. Lichtenstein say years ago that that part of the 
> Moreh was written in an "apologetic" manner...

We will come to Rabbeinu ha-Rambam's view later, but first please note
that the Rambam does not mention that Korbanot were meant to wean us out
of A.Z. only in the Moreh but in the Yad as well.  (even if some might
argue that sections in the Moreh are written apologetically, I doubt
they would say the same about the Yad) This statement does not imply
that everything in the Yad is necessarily the Rambam's psak on the
Gemara.  It merely exhibits that the Rambam, though he knew all the
pitfalls of such a statement, still thought it worthy for a jew to know
and understand an explanation that Korbanot were meant for a relatively
"mundane" task.

Zvi continues:
> The fact is that we are all required -- at the time of the Beit
> Hamikdash may it be speedily rebuilt -- to participate in the Korban
> Pesach (on pain of Karet if we do not do so)

Which brings us to the main point the Torah view of history and the
development of humanity and the world.  For the Christian, since "the
fall" of Adam Harishon, there has been no real progress in the state of
man, and only the Mashiach can "redeem Adam's sins and ours".  The Torah
viewpoint on the other hand is evolutionary; that is, man always has the
power to progress.  Whether it be physically (in general terms,
something similar to Darwinian Evolution, in personal terms, eating more
healthy foods, better medicine, etc.) or spiritually.  (note: Yeridat
Hadorot refers to the level of the individual [e.g. im rishonim
cemalachim-anu kibnei adam - if our ancestors were as angels-we are
merely human, etc.], not the generation.)  The world is constantly
moving forward, though it may not always seem that way (and these past
few days in Eretz Yisrael have definitely not indicated anything of the
sort...).  What this means is that the KB"H gave man the basics to
survive, physically and spiritually, and left it up to him to become
"godly" (vihiyitem kdoshim ki kadosh ani - become holy for I am holy).
This is true of all of humanity, Bnei Noach and Bnei Avraham Yitzchak
ve-Yaakov, though each group fulfills a different role in this

But, as with any path, there are potholes, and man is bound to stumble.
But contrary to my getting a flat today on the highway, Adam Harishon
"getting a flat", had much more impact.  So much so, that the basic law
of "food-eating" which was "ki mikol etz hagan achol tochel" - a
positive commandment to eat fruit (and maybe the bark of the tree as
well), but remember, f r u i t o n l y - was changed to "bezeat apecha
tochal lechem".  (unfortunately I cannot right now go into an
explanation of the earlier commandment "et kol yerek esev zoreh zera
natati lachem leochla" which on the surface seems to include food other
than fruit).  Adam was commanded to take wheat grind it into flour and
make bread - something unheard of before then.  Though it may not seem
so at first, morally this commandment poses a problem.  Eating fruit
does not necessarily kill the tree from which it is picked.  Eating
wheat destroys the wheat as a living organism as does the eating of any
"yerek" or "esev".  How could the KB"H condone such terrible actions
(for "lo latohu bera-ah" - the KB"H did not create the world to be left
in tohu - in this case baren)!?  And why is this one of the causes of
Man having sinned??  We cannot provide a full answer, but we should
realize that this is directly parallel to the humanity's actions in
Noach's generation.  Again all of mankind sins (before it was Adam and
Chava who were all of mankind) and again the consequence is that the
food chain shifts.  Suddenly animals "fear" man (not only "honor" him as
in the time of Adam), for he will now hunt them to eat their meat.

I hope it is clear that these changes were not idyllic.  They do not
reflect on the spiritual growth of mankind, rather they are caused by
his moral decay.  But these changes are not meant to punish per se (if
man sinned why punish the animals forever after).  Instead they help
humanity recover its moral grounding.  How "destroying plants and
killing animals" helps us along our path to renewed and increased
kedusha is not suitable for this forum, but it does function, much the
same way as sacrificing korbanot makes us more mekudashim and brings us
closer to Hashem.

As for the Rambam's view on korbanot. Well, the Rambam must deal with
the fact that the Gemara explicitly states "leatid lavo kol hakorbanot
betelim, chutz mikorban mincha shenemar: ve-arva lahashem minchat yehuda
viyerushalyim".  (In the future all of Korbanot will be cancelled except
for korban mincha as it says: the mincha of Yehuda and Yerushalayim will
be pleasant to Hashem).  The Gemara's language indicates a continuous
action, implying that Korbanot will return and then for some reason be
betelim.  There is no contradiction between, (a) what the Rambam writes
regarding the reason for korbanot (which would seem to indicate that
they would have no place in Bayit Shlishi, and would even present a
question regarding their relevance in Bayit Shaini, as avoda zara had
already been uprooted as a human trait [Gemara Yoma]), and (b) the fact
that he includes their halachos in the Yad.  There is no contradiction
if we understand the Gemara to mean that when Beis Hamikdash is built we
will sacrifice korbanot for a period of time - which requires us to know
their halachos - until ultimately they're all cancelled because .  All
except for one that is, Korban Mincha.  Which is made of what? You
guessed it - plants!

This doesn't mean that we can say "it is immoral to eat animals", today.
For certain individuals, it may constitute immorality, but it does not
bind the general populace (not yet anyway).  And even though an
individual can abstain from certain actions even though they are
permitted by Halacha, (as we find many times the psak "harotze lehachmir
yachmir leatzmo"), even so it is agreed amongst Yodei Sod, that in this
case one is not permitted to completely refrain from eating meat (unless
it causes him some malady, physical or psychological).  A person who
wants to act by his own moral standard in this case, should eat meat at
least once a week on Shabbos.

To conclude, the world is progressing morally as well as physically.
Part of that progress will inevitably include a return to "Gan Eden" -
to the state of existence of Adam Harishon.  Progress will continue
beyond that state, as Adam Harishon had what to be metaken even in Gan
Eden.  But as individuals we must all be very careful "lo lidchok et
haketz" (not to hasten the end) for as Zvi Weiss wrote:

> we do not keep the laws of Kashrut because of HEALTH... We keep them 
> because of Hashem's Will 

and if Hashem prescribed that we may, and should eat meat, it behooves
us to understand that during certain eras of humanity's history it is
necessary to do so, even though in the sum total of things it may be a
complete di-avad.

It is impossible not to mention the one most important contemporary
source on the subject "Chazon Hatzimchonut ve-Hashalom" - "The Vision of
Vegetarianism and Peace", by Maran, Harav A.Y. Kook zt"l.  This
pamphlet, small in size but rich in content, contains many of the ideas
expounded above but in added depth and written with the infinitely more
eloquent language and greatness of its author.  I am sure it will prove
a valuable source for anyone interested in this subject.

Be-brachot Ve'or
Moshe Genuth


From: Zvi Weiss <weissz@...>
Date: Mon, 31 Oct 1994 17:09:43 -0500
Subject: Meat?

1. The fact that the Torah tells us to learn from everyone does not
   appear to imply that we should change our understanding of Torah
   based upon a person of Nathan Pritkin's calibre.  Pritkin did not
   only discuss "scientific fact", he -- in effect -- espoused a
   lifestyle... a lifestyle that appears to be counter to the one that
   the Torah tells us.
2. Regardless of the state of "Before the Flood", once G-d PERMITTED
   meat to humanity -- regardless of the reason -- it is now a food that
   the Torah PERMITS (or requires) us to eat.....  I do not question
   that we SHOULD have a re- verence for life... Similarly, I also
   believe that we are NOT to be gluttonous in our consumption of meat.
   However, there is a VAST difference between prescribing moderation
   and sensitivity to stating that it is "better" that we become
3. I do not understand how Schwartz can state that he is "not
   campaigning to forbid something that Hashem has explicitly permitted"
   and then cite sources such as Jeremy Rifkind who are opposed to the
   consumption of meat.  If he is REALLY interested in working within
   the "classical" framework, there are numerous sources (incl. the
   famous RAMBAN at the beginning of Kedoshim) to emphasize how one
   should be moderate -- or even frugal in consumption of meat.  That
   meat should be regarded as "special" and limited to significant times
   such as Yom Tov...  that one must take extreme care to avoid tainted
   meat as the halacha is even more concerned about "danger" than it is
   about "non-kashrus"...  The above represent approaches to eating meat
   that are well-grounded in Jewish sources and do -- indeed --
   inculcate sensitivity, as well.  By choosing to ignore these
   approaches and focus upon the idea of not eating meat AT ALL,
   Schwartz calls his own assertion inot question.



From: <goldberg@...> (Joel Goldberg)
Date: Tue, 8 Nov 1994 10:50:05 +0200 (WET)
Subject: Women's roles

Zvi Weiss <weissz@...> wrote:
> Anyway, the idea of the post-er [to me] appears to be that if MAN and WOMAN
> are not "random evolution" but created with intent by Hashem, then (a) it is
> not at all untoward to assert that /hashem created each gender with unique
> abilities/skills/etc. -- even if there is a broad band involved. 
> --- and that one can legitimately state that mitzvot, obligations,
> exemptions for both men AND women are predicated upon this differential
> and at the same time (b) it does not mean that single parents cannot
> raise children.  It DOES mean that they are likely to have a harder time
> not only because they are alone rather than being one of a pair -- but
> because the single parent will be lacking the special skills/etc. that
> Hashem "built in" to the other gender.  Does that mean the parent is no
> good?  Of course not... but the single parent should not fool
> him/her-self either....

   Discussing wife beating, the difference between Halacha in the books
 and Halacha in practice was mentioned. My wife, who is extremely
 disabled and cannot perform household tasks, will be giving birth, we
 pray, to our second child in January. I am, at least in terms of the
 purely physical side of things, effectively a single parent. I knew
 this before we got married of course.

  Now, in all the things that people check up on when they start dating
 someone, and all the outlook questions they explore while sitting in
 hotel lobbies I have never heard that it is a question as to how well
 the one can hold the child while the other is bringing in the
 groceries, or separate siblings with the proper mix of discipline and
 understanding. If women are better at doing these things (or whatever
 it is that they are better at doing,) then as I would reject as proper
 dating material a woman whose sleeves are not quite long enough, I
 would reject a woman who cannot do these things.

  It would seem that in the final analysis, all this insistence on midot
 (inner qualities) in the dating process is really window dressing.

  I would note that in the talmud it is precisely the extreme and far
 out cases that are discussed, so as to make the run of the mill cases


End of Volume 16 Issue 45