Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Migrated Notes part 2: On Shechita

Another little rant...

23 June 2011 at 21:53
I feel that in recent years I have become much better in the self-righteous lecturing stakes when it comes to vegetarianism. This rant isn't really about vegetarianism, it is actually about the stupidity of a public Jewish figure not knowing what Jewishness is all about, so meat-eaters - I am not attacking you. Unless the Chief Rabbit reads this, in which case - yes I am attacking what you said (but not you personally, you seem very nice in person)...

So, I'm skimming through Ha'aretz online, as one does at the end of the day, when the little one has gone to bed, and I find this rather interesting article:


all about Holland banning kosher and Halal slaughtering. As always, I am torn between the fact that I don't really support Kosher slaughtering (or any slaughter for that matter), and the fact that I know that it isn't really about animal cruelty, but more about ignorance and probably a little bit of anti-Muslim prejudice. Anyway - I am reading along laughing at how we think we are so important (there are twenty times as many muslims in Holland as Jews, but somehow we still think it is about us). And then I get to this quote from Lord-on-High Sacks,

"If pre-stunning were made compulsory under Dutch law, Jews would be unable to practice a central element of Jewish life which has been continuously practiced for over 3,000 years"

Excuse me? What? What are you talking about? Slaughter is a central part of Jewish life? Methinks not, sir. No - in fact you are completely wrong. Ritual slaughter is part of a framework in Jewish law that allows us to eat meat. Eating meat is not in any way central to Jewish life**. We are not commanded to eat meat. There is no special bracha for meat (unlike Bread, wine, fruit, vegetables, etc). Eating meat is not central to being Jewish, and anyone who thinks so is the kind of idiot who says that whatever they like to do is central to being Jewish. If I were to suggest that as a Jewish Man Utd fan, I think that supporting Liverpool is idolatry, I would be perfectly correct from a Man Utd point of view, but from a Jewish point of view, I am just talking rubbish. So well done Lord Sacks - you get the 5771 David Taylor prize for talking absolute rubbish on behalf of the Jewish people.

So Lord Sacks - please read the TaNaKh, or failing that a little bit of RaMBaM or Rav Kook, who you claim to be a fan of, or just any book of actual Jewish law, and you will discover that you are obviously deluded - that the Jewish tradition does not consider the eating of meat to be central to its practice, or at least it certainly hasn't done since our temple was destroyed 2000 years ago. On the other hand, we do pray to be returned to Zion three times a day. And yet that central plank of the Jewish tradition, you seem quite happy to ignore.

** anyone mentions the irrelevant piece of aggadata that states that there is no simha without meat gets a prize for accessory for stupidity. Not everything ever written in the Talmud makes any particular practice of central importance to Judaism. The talmud also says that Persians have sex with their clothes on. My guess is, that doesn't make it true.

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