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Old 06-21-2019, 03:38 AM
 
554 posts, read 52,589 times
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A recent posting about righteous gentiles led me to take a closer look at the seven Noahide Laws. I read down the list of the laws, and then got to this one, the 7th (although on some other lists it's the 4th or 6th law): "Not to eat flesh torn from a living animal."

I had to pause there. I know that there are different cultures with unusual practices, but how could anyone torture a living creature by eating a part of it while the creature was still alive? Try as I might, I just can't wrap my head around this.

I Googled the practice, and what I read only got worse. (Warning: Don't click on the link to this Wiki article if you are deeply affected by pain suffered by other living creatures.) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eating_live_animals

I'm by no means a vegetarian. I accept that we raise and slaughter animals for food. But the thought of eating parts of living animals is repugnant to me.

So my question is this: Do you think that this Noahide Law exists because Judaism teaches us to empathize with the suffering of others, or is there another reason that is more compelling for the existence of this law or concept?

Last edited by Rachel NewYork; 06-21-2019 at 03:48 AM..
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Old 06-22-2019, 09:39 PM
 
Location: small Southern town balabusta
1,123 posts, read 1,430,398 times
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Yes. I can't look at the link, but from what I remember, people used to do this because they could not preserve food like we can in the modern day. There is no reason to do any of what people do as far as prolonging cruelty now. (my opinion).

I'm a fan of Rabbi Kook and have been a vegetarian for about 35 years or more. However, I feel like if people desire meat, they should eat it (as long as it's raised humanely and slaughtered humanely).

I feel that the Noahide law is congruent with the principle of Judaism to have compassion for animals. We don't burden an ox with a heavy load, we feed our animals before we feed ourselves, and we don't boil animals in mother's milk. (I'm paraphrasing, and I'm not an esteemed scholar of Judaism, so please forgive my very basic interpretation). The other Noachide laws are also consistent with the monotheistic approach of a justice-focused Jewish world also.



Good question!
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Old 06-22-2019, 09:47 PM
 
222 posts, read 171,116 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rachel NewYork View Post
A recent posting about righteous gentiles led me to take a closer look at the seven Noahide Laws. I read down the list of the laws, and then got to this one, the 7th (although on some other lists it's the 4th or 6th law): "Not to eat flesh torn from a living animal."

I had to pause there. I know that there are different cultures with unusual practices, but how could anyone torture a living creature by eating a part of it while the creature was still alive? Try as I might, I just can't wrap my head around this.

I Googled the practice, and what I read only got worse. (Warning: Don't click on the link to this Wiki article if you are deeply affected by pain suffered by other living creatures.) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eating_live_animals

I'm by no means a vegetarian. I accept that we raise and slaughter animals for food. But the thought of eating parts of living animals is repugnant to me.

So my question is this: Do you think that this Noahide Law exists because Judaism teaches us to empathize with the suffering of others, or is there another reason that is more compelling for the existence of this law or concept?
I think it was a pretty straightforward commandment to stop a wicked but common practice in the past.

Just look at the brutality around the world today. ISIS, Al Qaeda, slave trades, gang wars, dog-fighting rings, etc. Now imagine how wild and crazy people were 3,000 years ago. Ancient pagans used to sacrifice their own children to the gods, and enslave their neighbors, so they would have no problem eating one leg at a time from a lamb. Remember that there was no refrigeration back then so if you could keep the animal alive as long as possible you could eat more of it later.

Also remember how brutal life was in general back then so people were just hard. Every day was life and death, so I think they became numb to suffering at a young age. (I personally think that's why so many punishments in the Torah and other ancient laws are death. When life & death decisions occur every day, any punishment less than death was like a joke....)
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Old 06-23-2019, 07:19 AM
 
554 posts, read 52,589 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1+1=5 View Post
Yes. I can't look at the link, but from what I remember, people used to do this because they could not preserve food like we can in the modern day. There is no reason to do any of what people do as far as prolonging cruelty now. (my opinion).

I'm a fan of Rabbi Kook and have been a vegetarian for about 35 years or more. However, I feel like if people desire meat, they should eat it (as long as it's raised humanely and slaughtered humanely).

I feel that the Noahide law is congruent with the principle of Judaism to have compassion for animals. We don't burden an ox with a heavy load, we feed our animals before we feed ourselves, and we don't boil animals in mother's milk. (I'm paraphrasing, and I'm not an esteemed scholar of Judaism, so please forgive my very basic interpretation). The other Noachide laws are also consistent with the monotheistic approach of a justice-focused Jewish world also.



Good question!

I didn't know that you were a vegetarian, Chana! I tried to go vegetarian once, but it only lasted about eight months or so. The best thing about it was that I learned a lot of great vegetarian recipes, and even today I'm more conscious of what I eat and I include a lot of vegetables in my meals. It was also a lot easier to keep kosher when I was vegetarian.

As you mentioned, Judaism teaches compassion for animals, and that is a basis for morality in general. I don't think it's any secret that many serial killers start out by first being cruel to animals, and then work their way up to children.

Oh, and I like Rabbi Kook, too!
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Old 06-23-2019, 07:21 AM
 
554 posts, read 52,589 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slapshotbob99 View Post
I think it was a pretty straightforward commandment to stop a wicked but common practice in the past.

Just look at the brutality around the world today. ISIS, Al Qaeda, slave trades, gang wars, dog-fighting rings, etc. Now imagine how wild and crazy people were 3,000 years ago. Ancient pagans used to sacrifice their own children to the gods, and enslave their neighbors, so they would have no problem eating one leg at a time from a lamb. Remember that there was no refrigeration back then so if you could keep the animal alive as long as possible you could eat more of it later.

Also remember how brutal life was in general back then so people were just hard. Every day was life and death, so I think they became numb to suffering at a young age. (I personally think that's why so many punishments in the Torah and other ancient laws are death. When life & death decisions occur every day, any punishment less than death was like a joke....)

I hadn't looked at it that way before, but it does show that much of humanity has come a long way. Thanks for pointing that out!
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Old 06-23-2019, 08:15 AM
 
Location: U.S.A
52 posts, read 6,201 times
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Many countries still eat marine life alive. ' We know who they are by the way ' A rule like this separates the nations from the others. It's tasteless and cruel for a nation to condone unnecessary pain of a living thing. To make matters worse they place the act itself as a higher developed strategy in dining etiquette.



While animals can do this without being judged as wrong. It's what separates us in the animal kingdom.
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Old 06-23-2019, 02:23 PM
 
554 posts, read 52,589 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jacob II View Post
Many countries still eat marine life alive. ' We know who they are by the way ' A rule like this separates the nations from the others. It's tasteless and cruel for a nation to condone unnecessary pain of a living thing. To make matters worse they place the act itself as a higher developed strategy in dining etiquette.



While animals can do this without being judged as wrong. It's what separates us in the animal kingdom.
Yes, the practice of eating live marine life is viewed as normal in some countries. But I wouldn't say that the U.S. is superior to other nations in this regard. There are people over here who make a contest out of swallowing live goldfish. I know that was supposed to have been some kind of crazy college craze back in "the olde days," but you can search YouTube today and find lots of videos of people doing that for laughs. To me, it's abhorrent.

Which brings me to the subject that, in Judaism, fish don't require shechitah as do other animals that are permitted for eating. So now I'm wondering whether this Noahide law applies to fish?
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Old 06-23-2019, 02:30 PM
 
Location: NJ
1,377 posts, read 493,645 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rachel NewYork View Post
Which brings me to the subject that, in Judaism, fish don't require shechitah as do other animals that are permitted for eating. So now I'm wondering whether this Noahide law applies to fish?
Read up on it here
https://judaism.stackexchange.com/qu...-eat-live-fish
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Old 06-23-2019, 03:10 PM
 
554 posts, read 52,589 times
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Originally Posted by rosends View Post

I've read through the various answers at that site you linked, and it seems to me that the reason given for not eating live fish is that it's not done merely for appearance's sake. Would this be your conclusion as well, Rabbi?
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Old 06-23-2019, 08:58 PM
 
Location: NJ
1,377 posts, read 493,645 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rachel NewYork View Post
I've read through the various answers at that site you linked, and it seems to me that the reason given for not eating live fish is that it's not done merely for appearance's sake. Would this be your conclusion as well, Rabbi?
There is an argument about how disgusting it is. That's pretty persuasive as is the tza'ar ba'alei chaim argument. So I'll skip the live fish, thanks.
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