The Torah and foie gras - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 01-12-2014, 04:58 PM
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R (he, frequent meat eater) & G (she, frequent meat eater as well) are a couple, and good friends of mine since a long time. They are jewish tradition-minded, but not religious people. They keep shabbath and eat kosher, but they dress modernly (miniskirts, jeans, ...), attend bars and clubs, etc.

 

I tought to surprise them with a vegetarian dinner. On the menu: gourmet soy burger with a curry quinoa and green lentil stew, accompanied by a green salad with fresh figs, soy cheese, grilled nuts, marinated peppers, avocado, and a date lemon dressing.

 

I opened a bottle of white wine, which G refused to drink, because it was not kosher. During dinner, she told me she loves figs, and usually eats it with foie gras (gooze liver). I was shocked. How can a religion not allow the consumption of a bottle of ripened grapes, but tolerate the torturing and killling of innocent animals, to obtain a sick, infected liver?? The Torah forbids the useless inflicting of pain on animals. She said she never read anyhing like that in the Torah. Sigh .......... Il told her how foie gras is made, how the geeze are being forced to eat with tubes going down their throats, and how this hurts them and sickens their liver. She told me it's ok, I olny eat it once a year. So then I said, OK so drink the wine, its only once a year too. ;)

 

Luckily, they enjoyed the meal, and we had a fun night after all. But this little discussion at the table made me feel sad, and I realize once again how far away my mentality and view on animal rights is from most of my friends.

 

One rabbi once said: you could put the whole Kabbala in one sentence: Do not onto others what you wouldn't do to yourself. Why is this sentence ignored by millions of jews who eat animals every day?

 

I just needed to share this story with like-minded people! Thanks for reading and commenting.

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#2 Old 01-12-2014, 05:40 PM
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Good luck with trying to make religion logical.;)


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#3 Old 01-14-2014, 10:08 AM
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Good luck with trying to make religion logical.wink3.gif
That about sums it up.

And I can tell you, coming from a Jewish family, the orthodox Jews really are the worst. Most of my family isn't very religious, but we've got a couple who have gone "born again" on us and embraced the silly hypocrisy. Modern orthodox Judaism is pretty much one big exercise in embracing the letter of the law while ignoring the spirit of it.

The most obvious example to me is observing the Sabbath. The original point is that it was supposed to be a day of rest. Certain things weren't allowed thousands of years ago, because you were supposed to be taking it easy and not working. So you couldn't chop firewood or start a fire, but putting already chopped wood on your already lit fire to keep it going was fine. Just prepare in advance and you can relax on the Sabbath day. Made sense in the old days, but modern orthodox Jews think that no starting of fires means you can't turn on your car or electric lights on the Sabbath in the present day. How exactly do such arbitrary restrictions promote relaxation on the day of rest? If anything, they're more work to make sure you're obeying the silly rules, because you're not taking advantage of modern, labor saving devices.

When it comes to animals, the kosher rules allowed the eating of animals, but were originally intended to make sure their deaths were as quick and painless as possible at the time, while still insuring that the animals were healthy and safe for consumption by humans. Modern science has found quicker, less painful ways to kill animals, yet modern Jews insist that their meat has to come from slaughterhouses that follow exact rules decided 2500 years ago, rather than following the spirit of the kosher rules that were originally intended to reduce the suffering of the animals.

And given that the allowance to eat animals in the Torah was only given to Noah when there was no other food available, there's really no reason why Judeo-Christian law should allow the eating of meat in modern times, anyway.

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#4 Old 01-14-2014, 07:20 PM
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I overheard a lady calling her rabbi to ask if she was allowed to use the refrigerator on the Sabbath.  I would not even try to ask her to reason on animal rights.  She seems to need the structure of a book to tell her what's right and wrong.

 

Just talking about the irrational people here. Rational people reading this need not become offended.


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#5 Old 01-15-2014, 06:36 AM
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I know ... keeping sabbath strictly is actually causing more instead of less stress. Some orthodox jewish people in the building I live in, shout in the street until their family member opens the door, because they're not allowed to ring the bell. It's idiot. But I don't really care about that - live and let live. If they want to make their lives more difficult, so be it.

 

My point is, religion should be primarily about caring for others, or at least, not causing pain to others. If a religions states that drinking wine that was not blessed by a rabbi, is a sin worse than stuffing a metal pipe into an animal's throat - then this religion is worthless, as it does not represent moral principles to make our world a better place. It is just a set of behaviourist rules that distinguishes one group of people from the rest of the world. "We don't eat/drink/behave like this, and you do, so we we are better than you".

 

All these religions should be replaced by one spirituality that promotes equality of all beings on Earth, and that condemns all forms of suffering.  

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#6 Old 01-15-2014, 09:12 AM
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How does she know that the duck's blessed by a Rabbi..? :s

 

Maybe she could try misozuke tofu, which is said to taste like foie gras; take some over and surprise her! :p

 

http://reciperenovator.com/special-diets/vegan/cheese-how-to-make-tofu-misozuke/

http://www.vietworldkitchen.com/blog/2012/09/fermented-tofu-misozuke-recipe.html

 

Ahisma (no harm) is part of Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism. I'm agnostic myself, but not all religions promote human dominace! :)


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#7 Old 01-16-2014, 04:05 AM
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Of course Ewe, I agree, but I consider Buddhism as a philosophy rather then as a religion. Buddhistst do not regard Buddha as a (son of) god, but as an enlightened spirit who brought a message of peace to the world, as a example for us to follow. I'm talking about the three monotheistic religions, judaism, islam and christianity - hierarchical belief systems with its infrastructure and its leaders. None of these religions mention animal rights. Judaism states that the knife with which the animal is slaughtered, should be very sharp, to reduce the pain it feels to a minimum. But the animal is still slaughtered and eaten, so I don't consider this as an "animal right". 

 

Jesus Christ was a feminist, a human rights activist, a rebel and I'm sure he was a vegetarian too, although this is not mentioned in the scriptures. But who knows what happened throughout the centuries, how many gospels are being hidden by the Vatican and its meat-eating representatives?

 

Thanks for the tofu tip :) I'll be definitely trying it, it looks delicious.

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#8 Old 01-16-2014, 01:41 PM
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This page offers a VERY brief overview of Rabbinical thought on the treatment of animals. I think the production of foie gras would be pretty clearly result in causing tza'ar ba'alei chayim, but folks are generally bad at choosing consistancy with their own claimed ethical beliefs when doing so conflicts with a momentary pleasure. It's not something unique to any specific religion or to religious people. There is a vibrant community of Jewish vegetarians and animal activists who could provide more (and better!) info.


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#9 Old 01-16-2014, 03:55 PM
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Thanks for the interesting information. Of course I was aware that there are plenty of vegetarian jewish people, who have different opinions on animal cruelty. 

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#10 Old 01-17-2014, 08:10 AM
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I actually know two Jewish people who went veg just because it was easier for keeping Kosher. Given how the orthodox keep two sets of dishes and everything - one for meat meals and the other for dairy meals - I'm actually surprised more Jews don't do this.

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#11 Old 01-17-2014, 08:53 AM
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And given that the allowance to eat animals in the Torah was only given to Noah when there was no other food available, there's really no reason why Judeo-Christian law should allow the eating of meat in modern times, anyway.I

I've heard this before and wondered about it, Fromper. How does this square with the story of Cain and Abel? Abel was the herdsman, and Cain was the farmer. Of the two, Abel was the more pleasing to God. Not because of their occupationns necessarily, but doesn't that establish that in context of the Torah, the children of the very first people would have been at liberty to hunt and keep meat animals?

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#12 Old 01-17-2014, 09:07 AM
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And given that the allowance to eat animals in the Torah was only given to Noah when there was no other food available, there's really no reason why Judeo-Christian law should allow the eating of meat in modern times, anyway.I
I've heard this before and wondered about it, Fromper. How does this square with the story of Cain and Abel? Abel was the herdsman, and Cain was the farmer. Of the two, Abel was the more pleasing to God. Not because of their occupationns necessarily, but doesn't that establish that in context of the Torah, the children of the very first people would have been at liberty to hunt and keep meat animals?
As an atheist, the fact that you found one of the 92347892347893 contradictions in the Bible doesn't surprise me.

I'm no Biblical scholar. Google "Noah" and "meat", and you'll find all sorts of information about this from people who care more than I do.

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#13 Old 01-18-2014, 08:33 AM
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As an atheist, the fact that you found one of the 92347892347893 contradictions in the Bible doesn't surprise me.

I'm no Biblical scholar. Google "Noah" and "meat", and you'll find all sorts of information about this from people who care more than I do.

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Yeah, it's just that if you know only three stories from the bible, we're talking about two of them here. And speaking of the third story, don't get me started about that Garden scene where God is lying to Adam and the serpent is giving Eve the straight dope.

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#14 Old 01-18-2014, 05:32 PM
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Every reason for going veg is a good one :)

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#15 Old 01-23-2014, 04:21 PM
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I poked around a bit for thoughts about Cain and Abel. The most common theory is that the quality of the sacrifices differed. Cain offered up the best of the most special that he had - the fat from a firstborn. Abel offered up ... apparently just something ordinary. Had Abel offered the best darn turnip he had while Cain offered just ordinary bits of an ordinary critter which brother's sacrifice was respected may have turned out differently. God should be honored with the best of the best.

 

I'm partial to a less common theory myself - one that incorporates commentary on the stor from elsewhere in the Bible. Hebrews 11:4 " By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain ...." This entire chapter of Hebrews deals with the topic of faith. Abel's sacrifice was made "by faith". Could it be that God respected Abel's sacrifice because f how and why it was made?


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#16 Old 01-24-2014, 06:20 AM
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I poked around a bit for thoughts about Cain and Abel. The most common theory is that the quality of the sacrifices differed. Cain offered up the best of the most special that he had - the fat from a firstborn. Abel offered up ... apparently just something ordinary. Had Abel offered the best darn turnip he had while Cain offered just ordinary bits of an ordinary critter which brother's sacrifice was respected may have turned out differently. God should be honored with the best of the best.

 

I'm partial to a less common theory myself - one that incorporates commentary on the stor from elsewhere in the Bible. Hebrews 11:4 " By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain ...." This entire chapter of Hebrews deals with the topic of faith. Abel's sacrifice was made "by faith". Could it be that God respected Abel's sacrifice because f how and why it was made?

Yes, that's the interpretation I grew up with too. But there's no basis in Genesis itself, where the tale is first told, for believing that the sacrifices differed in quality. In fact, Genesis has Cain confused and miffed that his sacrifice wasn't deemed acceptable. If he'd merely been offering the dregs of his harvest, that's all he could have expected. I brought up Cain and Abel to ask about the theory that, in context of those texts, that mankind wasn't permitted to eat meat until after the Great Flood. Some translations have Abel a shepherd, others a herdsman, but either way  he's a grower and handler and caretaker of meat animals, and he's one of the very first people, way before the Great Flood. To keep sheep only for their wool as a full-time occupation when there is only a single-digit number of humans to supply with wool, that seems out of scale with what their needs would have been. Artist renderings of the Cain and Abel story typically show Abel dressed in the skins of his animals. If he's raising sheep and skinning them, I have to think these people are eating meat as well.

 

I don't see a lot of efficacy in using Bible stories to convince fundamentalist Christians that God wants them to eat plant-based. If you make a decent argument in that direction, the person will take it back to his or her pastor, who will explain why you have it wrong. With all those other stories, New Testament and Old, showing the People of God eating meat all over the place. I have yet to come across a fundamentalist Christian who doesn't eat meat, much less eggs and dairy. And a Christian with more mainstream beliefs about Bible stories as allegories wouldn't be convinced by any details in Genesis because Adam and Eve and Cain and Abel were fables as far as non-literal believers are concerned. Fables with messages, yes, but messages that have nothing to  do with what God does and doesn't want us to eat today.

 

If I were in a conversation with a fundamentalist about veg*nism, it would be about biblical injunctions against animal cruelty. Such as lopping off the limb of an animal (or removing some of its muscle tissue) for food while keeping that animal alive. Which is pretty barbaric by any standard, though ingenious considering the lack of refrigeration the early people were dealing with. But nothing they were living with touches life in a battery cage or a veal pen or a feedlot when it comes to barbarity.

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#17 Old 01-24-2014, 10:16 AM
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I don't see a lot of efficacy in using Bible stories to convince fundamentalist Christians that God wants them to eat plant-based. If you make a decent argument in that direction, the person will take it back to his or her pastor, who will explain why you have it wrong. With all those other stories, New Testament and Old, showing the People of God eating meat all over the place. I have yet to come across a fundamentalist Christian who doesn't eat meat, much less eggs and dairy. And a Christian with more mainstream beliefs about Bible stories as allegories wouldn't be convinced by any details in Genesis because Adam and Eve and Cain and Abel were fables as far as non-literal believers are concerned. Fables with messages, yes, but messages that have nothing to  do with what God does and doesn't want us to eat today.
While the Bible obviously says that eating meat is allowed, it does portray veganism as a respectable ideal. According to the Bible, Adam and Eve were vegan, and that was in Eden when everything was supposedly perfect. This could be interpreted as meaning that in a perfect world, we'd all be vegan. I think pointing that out to religious Judeo-Christian folks could give them something to think about, even though we all know the Bible allows meat eating.

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#18 Old 01-24-2014, 10:38 AM
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While the Bible obviously says that eating meat is allowed, it does portray veganism as a respectable ideal. According to the Bible, Adam and Eve were vegan, and that was in Eden when everything was supposedly perfect. This could be interpreted as meaning that in a perfect world, we'd all be vegan. I think pointing that out to religious Judeo-Christian folks could give them something to think about, even though we all know the Bible allows meat eating.

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Hi, Fromper. I don't know how much in your life you've dealt with fundamentalist Christians on this topic. I refer specifically to fundamentalists because they are the only Christians out there who take these readings seriously on the literal level, which one would have to if taking moral instruction from what God supposedly told the first man and the first woman. Fundamentalists like things spelled out clearly, and it has to pass muster with their pastors. Nested implications don't hold much sway with the fundamentalists I've known, but appeals to injunctions against animal cruelty sometimes do, making more sense on the face of it. And their pastors couldn't rightly object to anti-cruelty arguments that address the source of 99 percent of the meat available for consumption. If you've had a fruitful conversation about veganism with a fundamentalist Christian, could you please describe how it went? I'd be in awe of your ability to get through, and since I'm living in the rural South these days, I might have the chance to use the same line of persuasion out here. When I engage people of any religion about food, it's never about "this is why you should..." but about "this is why I..." So of course religion tends to not be any part of my patter. But as a comeback to biblically derived justifications for eating meat, I guess maybe there's an opening.

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#19 Old 01-24-2014, 10:52 AM
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No, I don't discuss religion with anybody very often. I'm lucky to live in a fairly secular part of the US. Actually, it's not luck - it's planning. My dad actually wanted me to move to Tennessee to bear near where he lives, but I just can't imagine myself living in the Bible Belt again.

But if you want the most literal quote in the Bible for this sort of thing: Genesis 1:29: "Then God said, "I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food." That's what God told Adam and Eve to eat. Sounds vegan to me. Yes, meat is allowed now, according to later parts of the Bible, but eating a diet like Adam and Eve might appeal to the type of people who buy Ezekiel bread.

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#20 Old 01-24-2014, 11:00 AM
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No, I don't discuss religion with anybody very often. I'm lucky to live in a fairly secular part of the US. Actually, it's not luck - it's planning. My dad actually wanted me to move to Tennessee to bear near where he lives, but I just can't imagine myself living in the Bible Belt again.

But if you want the most literal quote in the Bible for this sort of thing: Genesis 1:29: "Then God said, "I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food." That's what God told Adam and Eve to eat. Sounds vegan to me. Yes, meat is allowed now, according to later parts of the Bible, but eating a diet like Adam and Eve might appeal to the type of people who buy Ezekiel bread.

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Well, every tree except that one...

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#21 Old 01-24-2014, 01:25 PM
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Well, every tree except that one...

 

Bwahahaha!

 

(anyone else seeing Foie Gras adverts?  will report on relevant thread >>>)

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#22 Old 02-17-2014, 10:44 AM
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I was looking through some scans of old books and I came across Sylvester Graham's take on the Cain and Abel story in The Philosophy of Sacred History. Graham claims it is obvious that Abel offered up fermented fruit (obvious?), which God objected to. Apparently God was a teetotaler just like Graham.

 

Anyone who finds themselves talking to fundamentalist Christians about animal issues should check out Dominion by Matthew Scully.


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