Watch: Is There a Jewish Commandment to Eat Meat?

Illustration (Image credit: By Len Rizzi (photographer) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)

Illustration (Image credit: By Len Rizzi (photographer) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)

The issue of veganism within a traditional and observant Jewish framework often evokes harsh responses from those feeling their basic understanding of the religion, not to mention their gourmet pleasures, are being challenged.

But for those with an open mind willing to reexamine the sources and explore what the tradition truly says on the topic, Israeli religious scholar Asa Keisar earlier this year published a series of videos, which feature high production quality and are as informative as they are short and accessible.

Each of the videos, which tend to range between one and two minutes in length, takes on a particular question that is often raised by those rejecting the validity of Jewish veganism, and in a concise manner brings the various sources and arguments on the matter.

The following is a selection of several of the videos hitting some of the more fundamental questions. For those unable to view the English captions, click “CC” on the bottom right of the video.

Is there a commandment to eat meat?

What did the Jewish sages say about eating meat?

What was the goal of the animal sacrifices?

Why was Abel’s animal sacrifice preferred over Cain’s plant sacrifice?

Is eating meat a concession?

Were the animals created for us?

What about the adage “there is no joy without meat”?

Keisar, author of Velifnei Iver HaShalem (Hebrew), is known for his views on veganism as both a Torah imperative to avoid cruelty to animals and the Torah’s ideal for mankind.

His videos make a clear case for meat eating not being G-d’s original intention but rather a necessary concession. Additional videos go a step further in examining how this plays out vis-a-vis our current realities, as will be introduced in a future article, G-d willing. Please click here for more from this speaker in The Jerusalem Herald.

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