Image: Dairy Farm by minx267 [CC0] via Pixabay.
Veganism is often viewed less than favorably in observant Jewish circles, but a new series of short informational videos by Israeli religious scholar Asa Keisar released earlier this year is challenging that stance by going back to the sources.
In the first part of our examination of his videos, we saw Keisar confront some of the major questions posed against Jewish veganism, such as whether there is a commandment to eat meat; what the Jewish sages said on the topic; and what the goal of the sacrifices were.
After establishing the argument for veganism from a traditional and observant framework, Keisar goes a step further in the videos presented below and turns the tables by posing a question of his own: Is it permissible to eat the products of the meat and dairy industries today given the realities of those industries in our times, in light of the commandment not to cause animals suffering?
For those unable to view the English captions, click “CC” on the bottom right of the video.
What’s changed about meat eating in our days?
(Warning: viewer discretion is advised as the video contains images from the meat and dairy industries)
What about fish?
Does the injunction on causing suffering apply to milk and eggs?
How about organic and free range eggs?
But it’s “the land of milk and honey,” no?
What about Passover and Rosh Hashanah seders?
How about the use of leather in Torah scrolls, mezuzot, and tefilin?
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. Please click here for more from this speaker in The Jerusalem Herald.
In addition to his short videos making the case for Jewish veganism, he gives longer lectures examining the various Jewish sources in greater depth, as will be introduced in a future article, G-d willing.