Sacred Texts and Teachings
Only Genesisi 1 and 2 of the Torah (first five books of the Tanakh or Hebrew Bible: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy), tell the story of creation (for Jews and Christians, and to some extent, Muslimsii) complete with the Creator’s intentions for a planet of peace. Sacred scriptures also expose the nature of God and provide core ethics for humanity.
Throughout its long history, Judaism has emphasized that the animal kingdom is to be respected and dealt with kindly.
Dan Cohn-Sherbok, Rabbi, Ph.D., Theologian)iii
- 4.2 Anymals: Sacred Texts and Teachings
- Creation: Genesis 1 and 2
- Core Law/Ethics
- Featured Sources
I. Creation: Genesis 1 and 2
Only Genesis 1 and 2 teach of the Creator’s plan; only in these two chapters can we find what God gave human beings to eat and what the Creator commanded after giving humanity dominion. These first two chapters are therefore critical to understanding our rightful place in creation.
According to Judaism, animals are part of God’s creation and people have special responsibilities to them. The Jewish tradition clearly indicates that we are forbidden to be cruel to animals and that we are to treat them with compassion.
Richard Schwartz, Ph.D.v
Kinship: Sixth Day
Genesis 1:23-26 and 31
And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day.
And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures of every kind: cattle and creeping things and wild animals of the earth of every kind.” And it was so. God made the wild animals of the earth of every kind, and the cattle of every kind, and everything that creeps upon the ground of every kind. And God saw that it was good.
Then God said, “Let us make humankind . . . .
In Genesis 1, God creates the light, land and water, vegetation, and living creatures, which are created in groups according to where they live—water, air, and land. Humans are created on the sixth day with other land anymals, showing our place among living creatures.
People have a tendency to mis-read scriptures, coming away with the incorrection idea that only humanity was created on the 6th day. In this we imagine ourselves separate and distinct in ways that are not true to scriptures.
I’ve seen footage of cows in milking parlours so fresh from birth that afterbirth is dangling down behind them. Their babies are gone, but there’s no time to recover or to mourn, they must be hooked up to machines to have their milk taken for humans. . . . None of us would want to be impregnated again and again, to fruitlessly endure the challenges of pregnancy and labour, and ultimately to have our children stolen away from us.
Anna Pippus, J.D. (law), author, mother of twovii
Kinship: Breath of Life
In Genesis we read that the Creator makes “living creatures” (creatures with soul— nephesh hayyim or nefesh chay/chayah/hayyah ) by giving the “breath of life” (or “soul wind,” ruach hayyim). In the original Hebrew the words for “breath of life” are identical for all living creatures (Genesis 1:21, 24 and Genesis 2:7), but English translations are incorrect and misleading, allowing readers to believe that we were given something different:
Genesis 2:7 is not the first usage of the term soul. It is present four times before in Genesis 1:20, 30 (where it’s translated, has life), and in Gen. 1:21, 24 (creature). Notice that from Genesis 1:20 to 2:7 the term nephesh is used five times. Importantly, in English, the translators omitted it twice and used the translation creature twice and soul once . . . . the translators took certain liberties . . . . every time nephesh refers to animals (fish, fowl, fauna), they either omitted it or used creature. Only when it comes to man, do they use soul. This point is essential because, from a Biblical Hebrew point of view, each animal and each man (i.e., human) is a nefesh, a soul, or a [living] creature.ix
The truth is that Genesis tells us that God has given all living creatures the same breath of life.x
Months of monitoring the place, cold night after cold night, and the heart burns from the inside. To take out what I can. To sort out the dying and the dead. To get up each morning to check who survived the night and who did not [survive] the hell he had gone through.
A few days later Daniel sends me a picture of myself standing by that container, holding one of those chicks in my hand, smiling. I am astounded that in the midst of this horrible night there was a moment that I smiled. A chick, who I thought had no chance, is warming up in my hands and starts cheeping. Indeed, as my grandfather and grandmother taught me, each one is a whole world.
Adi Winter, activist for Animals Now of Tel Aviv, Israelxi
Interestingly, Hasidic Jews believe that souls transmigrate, that they are reborn in another body, adding yet another level of shared existence across species.xiii Through transmigration, all living creatures are interrelated as family and friends of the past, future, and present.
Rulership in the Image of God
Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.”
So God created humankind in his image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.
God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.”
Genesis 1 tells us that human beings are created in the “image” (slm or tzelem) of God. Scholars agree that the meaning of “image” or “likeness” is not physical: Humanity and God do not look alike. In other writings of roughly the same time and place (Egypt and Mesopotamia), it is clear that earthly rulers were regarded “as God’s representative in creation”—they were “the image or likeness of the deity” in both “function and position.”xiv
Knowing this, to be created in the image of God is to be created to rule (or have “dominion” or “overlordship”— radha) on Earth in God’s stead, which is to say, on behalf of the Creator. Dominion requires that we serve divine interests, not our own, that we rule as the Creator would rule and not as we prefer.xv (For more on the nature of God, see 4.2.II. “Creator.”) To be made in the image of God, then, is to have critical and weighty responsibilities in relation to the Creator: Our rulership is not about power or privilege—it is about serving God.
Pirkei Avot, Avot 2:4
Do His will as if it were your own.xvi
Malish, a young crab-eating macaque was kept in a vivisection lab in Jerusalem. He had metal tubes fixed to his skull with twenty-one screws, and a metal wire around his eyeball. He lived in a tiny metal cage, was water deprived and abused, but he never stopped trying to play and connect with humans around him, even though his caregiver answered his friendly attempts with further abuses.
The three months I spent at the lab as an undercover investigator opened my eyes to injustice, cruelty, and corruption. But it also taught me about my strength to change realities, as my footage and testimonies brought the release of Malish and his three friends from the lab and several changes in vivisection laws of Israel. Malish was brought to the wonderful Israeli Primate Sanctuary Foundation where he became the head of his group. He always treats both monkeys and humans gently and kindly.
Noga Shanee, Ph.D.xvii
Though some English translations wrongly state that humans are given dominion over all of creation, humans are only given “dominion” over anymals. Importantly, our dominion does not allow us to eat the other living beings, as indicated at the close of Genesis 1:
God said, “See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
God gives humans an overlordship that “does not include the right to kill animals for food.”xx Importantly, creation is complete only after the Creator explains what we are to eat; only then does God note that what has been made is “very good” (Genesis 1:31). God created a world of complete peace and harmony and scriptures reveal “the pleasure and the delight of the divine viewer” on seeing this peaceful world.xxi
Although most Jews eat meat today, the high ideal of God—the initial vegan dietary law—stands supreme in the Torah for Jews and the whole world to see: an ultimate goal toward which all people should strive.
Richard Schwartz, Ph.D.xxii
Immediately after we are given dominion/rulership over anymals we are given a vegan diet (no flesh, dairy, eggs, or honey) and the weighty responsibilities of serving and protecting creation. The Creator gives humans an overlordship over other living creatures that “does not include the right to kill animals for food.”[cvi]
Scriptures do not say that we are more important or superior—only that we are made in the image of God and tasked with specific duties, outlined in Genesis 2 (discussed shortly). Importantly, as presented in Genesis, human dominion is limited to anymals and, of critical importance, does not include the right to eat those we oversee. Also of note, only after the Creator explains what we are to eat—a vegan diet—is creation completed and pronounced “very good” (Genesis 1:31).
God created a world of complete peace and harmony, and scriptures reveal “the pleasure and the delight of the divine viewer” on seeing this peaceful world.[cvii] God’s preference for a world without bloodshed speaks against eating anymals. Where there are plenty of other food options, this includes hunting and fishing. In comparison with much-respected patriarchs and their descendants, scriptures reveal hunters as fierce characters like Nimrod (Gen. 10:9) and Esau (Gen. 27:40). Scriptures forbid associating with those who are cruel, which must include those who hunt or fish when they could otherwise feed themselves without killing. [cviii] Hunting and fishing for any reason other than necessity (a lack of access to vegan foods) is to trivialize life and is “downright cruelty.” [cix]
Who can dispute the inhumanity of the sport of hunting—of pursuing a poor defenceless creature for mere amusement, till it becomes exhausted by terror and fatigue, and of then causing it to be torn to pieces by a pack of dogs? From what kind of instruction can men, and even women, imbibe such principles as these? How is it possible they can justify it? And what can their pleasure [be in it]? Is it not solely in the agony they produce to the animal? They will pretend that it is not, and try to make us believe so too - that it is merely in the pursuit. But what is the object of their pursuit? Is there any other than to torment and destroy?
Lewis Gompertz, anymal activist in 1824xxv
Creation as a Unified Good
Scriptures reveal anymals and their habitat as “good” outside of and prior to the existence of humanity (Genesis 1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, and 25). God does not pronounce humanity “good” until after we are given a vegan diet. Once the earth has been created and after we have been commanded not to eat anymals, then “God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good” (Genesis 1:31)—and in this case not only good, but “very good.”
In Genesis, the Creator reveals the “intrinsic worth of species . . . ‘kol tov —and it was good’.”xxvi Here “good” is singular, indicating that “God views life in all its diversity as a fundamental unity.”xxvii According to Genesis 1, we are part of a good creation that, though composed of many parts, is singular. All creatures are interconnected through the Creator, through creation, through the Breath of life, and through our shared purpose as Adam’s helpmates in serving God.
Early in my life I came to the conclusion that there was no basic difference between man and animals. If man has the heart to cut the throat of a chicken or a calf, there’s no reason he should not be willing to cut the throat of a man.
Isaac Bashevis Singer, educated at the Warsaw Rabbinical Seminary)xxviii
Duties Assigned by God
The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it.
Our role is further clarified in Genesis 2:15. “Shamar,” translated here as “keep,” also appears in Numbers 6:24, where it is again translated as “keep,” but carries a very different meaning: “The Lord bless you and keep you.” More specifically, “shamar” means “guard” or “protect,” and indicates “a loving, caring, sustaining” endeavor.xxx
’Abad, translated as “till” or “cultivate” in Genesis 2:15, is translated as “serve” in Joshua 24:15: “Choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served . . . or those of the Amorites.” In common use, the meaning of ’abad can be “to cultivate” but the general meaning of the term is “to work, to process, to perform, to labor, to serve (as a servant or slave).”xxxi ’Abad carries a sense of subjugation to rulership, whether landowner or master.xxxii
While it is now common to till and keep a garden for personal reasons—for our own purposes—’abad in Genesis 2:15 has a specific (theological) meaning. “In strict theological, spiritual use,” the term ’abad means “to serve (the Lord God), to worship, to honor.”xxxiii Genesis 2 reveals man as servant, not master. An accurate English translation of Genesis 2:15 would reveal humans as placed in the Garden of Eden to serve God through creation on behalf of the Creator. Rabbi Hirsch (a highly regarded German neo-Orthodox Torah commentator) notes that humans were created to “serve (work) and safeguard the Earth.”xxxiv
Billy was unable to stand or walk and suffered urine burns from lying helplessly on the ground in his own waste. Billy’s hind legs were paralyzed. The goat milk farm where he had been born tagged him “for immediate slaughter.”
As a special needs patient, Billy was fitted with a splints to strengthen and stabilize his hind legs at the correct angle and when his legs got a little stronger, Billy was fitted to a wheelchair that supported his hind legs. As he grew, new wheelchairs were fitted so that Billy could continue to run and play like other young goats.
Shared Purpose: Woman and Anymals
Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper as his partner.” So out of the ground the Lord God formed every animal of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all cattle, and to the birds of the air, and to every animal of the field; but for the man there was not found a helper as his partner. So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on the man, and he slept; then he took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said,
“This at last is bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
this one shall be called Woman,
for out of Man this one was taken.”
Genesis 2 tells us that anymals and woman were created for the same purpose, so that man would not be alone and as a “helper as his partner” in the task of serving God by protecting Creation. It is written that “there was not found a helper as his partner,” except in woman. This does not change the fact that woman and anymals are created for the same purpose, or that the purpose of all of creation points back to God. While it is clear that woman and man have a unique and special relationship, it is also clear that all living creatures and woman were created as companions to man, to work with Adam in guarding and protecting creation.
No Earthly hierarchy is indicated, only a description of animals—garden spiders, sparrows, human beings, pigs, garter snakes, and eagles—as working together to serve God.
Miri had been lying in a ditch with a broken leg for two months. Without the rains and vegetation in the area, she probably would not have survived. Gili had been severely neglected and abused so that, when soldiers found her along the Southeastern border of Israel, she was missing her front leg and bleeding profusely. Near death, she only survived whatever terrible abuse she experienced because of blood transfusions from Miri. The two donkeys quickly became fast friends at the sanctuary.
Scriptures tell us that the “universe is a work of love.” [civ] God is the center and measure of all. Human arrogance sometimes holds humanity at the center and as the measure of all—exposing humanism and denying core Jewish teachings.
Humility is embedded in the Creation story. We are all God’s living creatures, fellow servants of God. We were made on the 6th day—along with other land-dwelling creatures, and where creation is concerned, nowhere does scriptures teach of community rather than indicate either hierarchy or “othering.” Anymals are “fellow creatures on their own terms” and have their own personal relations with the Creator.[cv] Scriptures teach that all of us are God’s living creatures and that we are all fellow servants of God. Scriptures not only teach humility as a critical ethic but also indicate that this virtue is part of our most basic existence as creatures of God. (For more on humans, anymals, and the creation story, see 4.II.1 “Creation: Genesis 1 and 2.” For more on Humility and human hubris, see 4.II, “Humility —A God-Centered Universe”)
If we are to act on behalf of God through creation, as God’s servants, it is important to understand something of the Creator and the Creator’s relationship with all that has been made. Fortunately, many passages of scripture reveal both.
All that exists belongs completely and exclusively to God: “Life is everywhere and always God’s peculiar possession.”xlvii Torah and Psalms state this clearly:
… heaven and the heaven of heavens belong to the Lord your God, the earth with all that is in it …
The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it, the world, and those who live in it.
For every wild animal of the forest is mine,
the cattle on a thousand hills.
I know all the birds of the air,
and all that moves in the field is mine.
…the land is mine; with me you are but aliens and tenants.
As the Creator’s servants in the tending of creation, we have been commanded to “respect and preserve” anymals and the earth itself.xlviii In the perfect world that God intended, humanity has no license to harm, alter, or exploit creation.
Sometimes extinction confronts us in the form of a black and white picture, such as that of Martha, the last passenger pigeon, who died in 1914, alone in a cage in the Cincinnati Zoo. Passenger pigeons were already extinct in the wild, so one single individual—Martha—signaled the loss of a species. Other times, extinction comes in the form of simple nothingness. One day the last individual disappears, without humans even knowing what they have caused, or what has been lost.
Kassie Siegel, Ph.D., and Brendan Cummings, Ph.D., in Kemmerer, Bear Necessities: Rescue, Rehabilitation, Sanctuary, and Advocacyxlix
Fully Invested—Compassionate and Attentive
In Genesis 3 humanity proves to be disobedient (often called “the fall” of humanity) and God banishes Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden. Much is changed in the process. Genesis 1 and 2 are therefore extremely important for understanding God’s created, preferred, and ideal relationship with creation, which only exists before the Fall in Genesis 3.
It is important to distinguish between the creator God and the angry God faced with human disobedience and violence (described in Genesis 3-6), which culminates in the Great Flood. Scriptures demonstrate that God can be stirred to terrible anger, but it is equally clear in Genesis 1 and 2 (supported by other scriptures, particularly Psalms) that God’s innate nature (when not perturbed) is one of benevolence, munificence, and intimate involvement with the comings and goings of life on earth. Anymals know of the God’s munificence and they cry out to their attentive creator in times of need. God is attentive sustainer and provider for all of creation, and scriptures show that anymals understand the caretaking role of the Creator just as surely as we do.l
The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. The Lord is good to all, and his compassion is over all that he has made.
The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food in due season. You open your hand, satisfying the desire of every living thing.
Yonder is the sea, great and wide,
creeping things innumerable are there,
living things both small and great.
There go the ships,
and Leviathan that you formed to sport in it.
These all look to you
to give them their food in due season;
when you give to them, they gather it up;
when you open your hand, they are filled with good things.
When you hide your face, they are dismayed;
when you take away their breath, they die
and return to their dust.
When you send forth your spirit, they are created;
and you renew the face of the ground.
Commentary on/Interpretation of scriptures lii affirm that all living creatures have intrinsic value and a personal relationship with God; each living being is personally and individually important to the Creator. God’s love, mercy, justice, and protection extend to all of creation. This is important to our duties of caretaking on behalf of God in God’s image: “Jewish sages state that to be ‘created in the Divine Image’ means that people have the capacity to emulate the Divine compassion for all creatures.”liii
Compassion for all creatures, including animals, is not only God’s business; it is a virtue that we too must emulate. Moreover, compassion must not be viewed as an isolated phenomenon, one of a number of religious duties in the Judaic conception of the Divine service. It is central to our entire approach to life.
David Sears, Rabbiliv
To “image God is to image God’s love and law . . . to reflect God’s goodness, righteousness, and holiness . . . to reflect the wisdom, love, and justice of God.”lv Serving and protecting creation does not permit exploitation, whether using anymals as petri dishes, clothing, food, sport, or enslaving them for entertainment or educational purposes.
Chassidic master Rabbi Zusya of Hanipol was traveling to collect money to ransom prisoners. He came to an inn and in one room found a large cage with many types of birds. He saw that the birds wanted to fly out of the cage and be free again. He burned with pity for them and said to himself, “Here you are, Zusya, walking your feet off to ransom prisoners. But what greater ransoming of prisoners can there be than to free these birds from their prison?” He then opened the cage, and the birds flew out into freedom.
The innkeeper shouted at Zusya: “You fool! How could you rob me of my birds and make worthless the good money I paid for them?” Zusya replied: “Have you read these words in the Psalms: ‘His tender mercies are over all His work’?”
Richard Schwartz, Ph.D.lvi
Nature/Habitat as good/holy
That which has been created is of God, and as such, is good and holy.
O Lord, how manifold are your works!
In wisdom you have made them all;
the earth is full of your creatures.
Given that Creation is of God and remains God’s—given that creation is holy—it would seem natural that the Creator sometimes appears in or speaks through the natural world. Scriptures tell us that the Creator manifest in a whirlwind, spoke through a laboring burro, and sent an angel to appear in a bush.
There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of a bush; he looked, and the bush was blazing, yet it was not consumed.
Job 38:1-2 (also 40:6)
Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind: “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?
Then the Lord opened the mouth of the donkey, and it said to Balaam, “What have I done to you, that you have struck me these three times?”
We can find “God in and through” nature.[lviii] Hasidic Jews (Poland/Ukraine) view the entire universe as the dwelling place of God and Hasidic rabbis (such as Shneur Zalman) are able to hear the voice of God in aspects of nature such as birdsong.lix
God commands us not to pollute or defile the land, noting that bloodshed pollutes and defiles the land. Scriptures also tell us that the Creator is in-dwelling.
You shall not pollute the land in which you live; for blood pollutes the land, and no expiation can be made for the land, for the blood that is shed in it, except by the blood of the one who shed it. You shall not defile the land in which you live, in which I also dwell.
The earth was not created as a gift to you. You have been given to the earth, to treat it with respectful consideration, as God’s earth, and everything on it [must be seen] as God’s creation, . . . and to be respected, loved, and helped to attain their purpose according to God’s will.
Samson Rafael Hirsch, Rabbilx
In Covenant with Anymals/Earth
In Genesis 9, God establishes a covenant with “every living creature” and with the earth itself.
Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him, “As for me, I am establishing my covenant with you and your descendants after you, and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the domestic animals, and every animal of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark. I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of a flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.” God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I have set my bow in the clouds, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant that I have established between me and all flesh that is on the earth.”
These lines underscore God’s connection with and investment in all that has been made, reinforcing the unity of creation and the Creator’s ongoing commitment to all that has been made. Serving and protecting creation on behalf of the Creator requires that we practice all-embracing, attentive caretaking with all that has been made. (Also note Hosea 2:18, where God promises a covenant with “wild animals, the birds of the air, and the creeping things of the ground,” establishing peace and safety between all living creatures.)
“Why do you care so much about them?” some people asked.
“I just do,” I replied, not really knowing how I couldn’t. Maybe it was because Tatu, another signing chimpanzee in Washoe’s surrogate family, covered her eyes with her hands and signed “peek-a-boo.” Or because Moja crossed her arms over her chest and signed “hug/love.” Maybe it was because I played chase with Kiki Jackson at a sanctuary in Cameroon, and when we got tired, he presented his arm for grooming, and I pretended to find and eat his imaginary bugs. Or because I liked watching Nama’s fingers lace and unlace the shoestrings of my hiking boots. Maybe it was because I made them lemongrass tea when they were sick and banana-leaf burritos when they weren’t. Or perhaps it was because I held and bottle-fed the babies Emma, Niete, and Gwen in my arms. And right before equatorial sundown, when I bathed with just a few precious drops of sunwarmed rainwater, I could still feel where their tiny hands and opposable toes had latched onto my body.
When I cared for Gwen, it was the first time I felt like a mother: this little life was completely dependent, and her human caregiver was the only mother she had. But the fear with which she clung to me reminded me that I was not the mother she was meant to have. Her mother had been murdered for meat when her little baby was less than a year old. Gwen didn’t want to lose anyone else.
Sangamithra Iyer in Primate People: Saving Nonhuman Primates through Education, Advocacy, and Sanctuarylxii
III. Core Law/Ethics
Scriptures teach us to protect the vulnerable, that we not harm, that we show compassion and mercy, that we live in peace and harmony, and that we love our neighbors. These directives embrace and protect all of us—all of God’s creatures.
It is not hard to believe that a merciful God would want His laws to be interpreted in a way that would minimize or eliminate the suffering of animals.
Lewis Regenstein, conservationist and authorlxiv
Not to Harm
The law of tza’ar ba’alei Chayim, or not to harmlxv forbids harming anymals. “It is forbidden, according to the law of the Torah, to inflict pain upon any living creature;”lxvi “All authorities agree that it is forbidden to cause animals to suffer unnecessarily.”lxvii Necessary is defined as:
- 1: absolutely needed: required Food is necessary for life.
2a: of an inevitable nature: inescapable Death is a necessary feature of the human condition.
- b(1): logically unavoidable a necessary conclusion
- (2): that cannot be denied without contradiction
- c: determined or produced by the previous condition of things the necessary outcome of the affair
d: compulsory Taking the oath of obedience is necessary. . . . .
an indispensable item: essentiallxviii
Author Lewis Regenstein writes: “The sixteenth-century Code of Jewish Law (Schulchan Aruch) announces: “It is forbidden, according to the law of the Torah, to inflict pain upon any living creature. On the contrary, it is our duty to relieve the pain of any creature.”lxix
Maimonides argued: “Animals feel very great pain, there being no difference regarding this pain between man and other animals.”
Why should we be unconcerned about this pain if our tradition is so adamant about these values? We must not acquiesce to the power of broader consumer trends. Our moral tradition and billions of sentient creatures depend on it.
Shmuly Yanklowitz, Rabbi, Ph.D., president and dean of Valley Beit Midrash, founder and president of Uri L’Tzedek, founder and CEO of Shamayim: Jewish Animal Advocacylxx
In forbidding harm to anymals, Tza’ar ba’alei Chayim forbids exploiting anymals for science, clothing, blood sports (like hunting), entertainment, and for food (provided we can access other foods). All of these harm anymals and all have worthy alternatives (most of which are less expensive and more effective—better options).lxxi
Fur is completely unnecessary due to modern alternatives, and conflicts with the “merciful treatment of all living beings [which] has from time immemorial been a core value of Jewish views of the proper relationship between humans” and anymals.
(Dan Cohn-Sherbok, Rabbi, Ph.D., Theologianlxxii
Rabbi David Ha-Levy (Israel, twentieth century) decreed that both manufacturing and wearing fur are a violation of the Jewish prohibition against harming other creatures.
Roberta Kalechofsky, Ph.D.lxxiii
Compassion and Mercy
The “tender heart” is “a virtue upon which Judaism lays stress.”lxxvi Torah law (particularly Mosaic law in Exodus and Deuteronomy) requires us not only to avoid causing harm, but also to show compassion and mercy and “to prevent suffering.”lxxvii This is expressed clearly in the requirement that we satisfy the needs of anymals under our care, that we help any anymal in need, and that we not frustrate or overwork anymals.
When you see the donkey of one who hates you lying under its burden and you would hold back from setting it free, you must help to set it free.
You shall not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain.
Maimonides (Jewish philosopher, jurist, and physician, 1135 – 1204), the foremost intellectual figure of medieval Judaism,”lxxviii wrote that Deuteronomy 25:4 requires that we justly compensate anymals for their labor and be attentive to their needs.lxxix Moreover, rabbinic traditions interpret “ox” in this passage as “a generic phrase incorporating all animals.”lxxx Based on this, eighteenth-century rabbi Moses Sofer arguedlxxxi that muzzling anymals is always wrong and by extension, any behavior that causes frustration, disappointment, unhappiness, or hunger pangs to any anymal under our care would be a breach of Jewish law.
When Rabbi Israel Salanter did not show up to chant the sacred Kol Nidre prayer of Yom Kippur eve, it was inconceivable that he would be late or absent, so the congregation sent a search party to find him. The rabbi was in a neighbors barn. He had found a lost calf tangled in brush along the way to the synagogue, and had freed and taken the calf back home. “His act of mercy represented the rabbi’s prayers on that Yom Kippur evening” and demonstrated the importance of caretaking the needs of anymals.
Richard Schwartz, Ph.D.lxxxiii
The most holy of Torah laws, the Ten Commandments (Exodus and Deuteronomy), require that we rest (yanuah) anymals on the Sabbath.
Exodus 20:9-10 (part of the Ten Commandments)
“Six days you shall labor and do all your work. But the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God; you shall not do any work—you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the alien resident in your towns.”
Six days you shall do your work, but on the seventh day you shall rest, so that your ox and your donkey may have relief, and your homeborn slave and the resident alien may be refreshed.
Deuteronomy 5:13-14 (part of the Ten Commandments)
“Six days you shall labor and do all your work. But the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God; you shall not do any work—you, or your son or your daughter, or your male or female slave, or your ox or your donkey, or any of your livestock, or the resident alien in your towns, so that your male and female slave may rest as well as you.”
Rashilxxxiv (1040-1105), “one of the most influential Jewish commentators in history,”lxxxv interpreted this law as requiring people to be sure that anymals under their care are contented, satisfied, and at ease.lxxxvi
Rabbi Sherira Gaon (tenth century) wrote that anymals were created so that “good should be done to them.”lxxxvii Rabbi Hirschlxxxviii noted that compassion should cause our heartstrings to “vibrate sympathetically with any cry of distress sounding anywhere in creation”lxxxix: “As God is compassionate, . . . so you should be compassionate.”xc
The Chief Rabbi of Haifa said . . . the importance of demonstrating compassion for the suffering of animals is “de oraita,” which means it has the force of the Torah and is, therefore, not less important than keeping the Sabbath or being kosher, or any other Jewish teaching.
Nina Natelson, founder and director of Concern for Helping Animals in Israel (CHAI) and Hakol CHAIxci
The Shma, which is the “centerpiece of the daily morning and evening prayer services and is considered by some the most essential prayer in all of Judaism,”[ciii] has been interpreted as instructing people to take care of the needs of anymals before taking care of their own needs: A “kind man first feeds his beasts before sitting down to the table.”xcii In Genesis, when Rebekah’s people prepare for the arriva l of guests (people and camels) the camels are unburdened, bedded down, and fed before human guests are similarly assisted (Gen. 24:32). Rabbis continue to teach that we ought to tend to the needs of those who are dependent, under stress, or suffering before we tend to our own needs or the needs of those who are comparatively comfortable.xciii
In scriptures, good people observe Torah teachings and are attentive to the needs and sensitive to the sufferings of anymals.
Once, while Moses our Teacher was tending [his father-in-law] Yitro’s sheep, one of the sheep ran away. Moses ran after it until it reached a small, shaded place. There, the lamb came across a pool and began to drink. As Moses approached the lamb, he said, “I did not know you ran away because you were thirsty. You are so exhausted!” He then put the lamb on his shoulders and carried him back. The Holy One said, “Since you tend the sheep of human beings with such overwhelming love - by your life, I swear you shall be the shepherd of My sheep, Israel.”
Shemos Rabbah2:2, Midrash on the Book of Exodusxciv
The righteous know the needs of their animals, but the mercy of the wicked is cruel.
Genesis teaches that God created a vegan world, a world without predation, a world of perfect peace and harmony. Isaiah, Hosea, and Jobxcvi indicate that we are headed back to this perfect peace.
The wolf shall live with the lamb,
the leopard shall lie down with the kid,
the calf and the lion and the fatling together,
and a little child shall lead them.
The cow and the bear shall graze,
their young shall lie down together;
and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp,
and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder's den.
They will not hurt or destroy
on all my holy mountain;
for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord
as the waters cover the sea.
I will make for you a covenant on that day with the wild animals, the birds of the air, and the creeping things of the ground; and I will abolish the bow, the sword, and war from the land; and I will make you lie down in safety.
…the wild animals shall be at peace with you.
Scriptures indicate that the created universe begins and ends in peace, with people and anymals living together without bloodshed—harmoniously, as family. Scriptures indicate that human beings are not merely to imagine and hope for this return to peace—we are to work toward this end.
Scriptures remind that wisdom and understanding are immeasurably precious and are reflected in peace and compassion.
Depart from evil, and do good;
seek peace, and pursue it.
Proverbs 3:17, On Wisdom:
Her ways are ways of pleasantness,
and all her paths are peace.
Israeli religious scholar Rabbi Asa Keisar writes of Israel becoming a vegan nation:
We would become a role model for other nations in our values of morality, justice, and peace. Justice and peace begin with how we treat those who are . . . under our sovereignty.
Richard Schwartz, Ph.D.xcvii
…love your neighbor as yourself.
Creation in Genesis reveals more commonality than separation with regard to living creatures: The first human is created on the sixth day, when land animals are created; woman is created with and for the same purpose as anymals—to assist man in serving God in and through creation. Scriptures do not define “neighbor” as human, but scriptures repeatedly show all living beings as kin. Inasmuch as other human beings are our neighbors, why would other animals not also be our neighbors? Inasmuch as we ought to love human neighbors, so we ought to love anymal neighbors. Rabbi Samson Rafael Hirsch writes that anymals are “to be respected, loved, and helped to attain their purpose according to God’s will.”xcviii
Importantly, love is not depleted through expression. In loving, we do not deplete supplies of love. So, there is no need to limit or reserve this Godly emotion. There is no need to fear running out of love by caring for strangers, those in distant lands, or other species. Nor is love rightly reserved only for those closest to us, whether our families, our race, our class, our nation, or our species. If we are to serve God by tending creation as the Creator would do, we are obliged to practice munificent love, love care for all of Creation.
My first cat left her comfortable home to make her way to me when I was 4. We didn’t know we needed her until she came. She was love in the home – love went to her and from her to all family members, not between the human family members. She taught me a lot and of course, she loved unconditionally. When she died 12 years later, my father had her portrait painted from a photo and wrote a eulogy saying she had raised 4 children and her job done, she was free to go help another family. Everything I have done to help animals in my life is because of the love she showed.
Nina Natelson, founder and director of Concern for Helping Animals in Israel (CHAI) and Hakol CHAIxcix
Only the first two chapters of Genesis reveal what God envisioned/intended in the act of creating, for the perfect world created; these two chapters are critical for understanding God’s relationship with all that has been made and our rightful relations with the rest of Creation. In Genesis 1 we find creation as a unity and as good, with all land animals (including humans) created on the sixth day, with the Creator providing the same breath of life to all living creatures (which includes humans) and establishing a vegan diet. In Genesis 1 and into Genesis 2, human beings are given a vegan dominion and instructed to serve God by tending/protecting creation on behalf of the Creator—in God’s stead. Anymals and woman are created as company for the first man, and as helpers for assigned caretaking duties.
Scriptures also tell us that the Creator is sole proprietor of all that has been made, is compassionate and remains fully invested in creation, and is in covenant with earth and animals (including human beings). Biblical law includes an injunction not to harm and the expectation of compassion and mercy, that we live in peace and harmony, and that we love our neighbors, including anymals.
According to scriptures of Judaism (which are also sacred for Christians; many are also sacred for Muslims), contemporary anymal exploitation, including the consumption of anymal products, is contrary to God’s plan. Upholding Jewish law requires that we change how we live with an eye to changing how we treat anymals.
Kindness to animals is one of Judaism’s most distinctive if lesser-known features.
Lewis Regenstein, conservationist and authorci
Schwartz, Richard. Vegan Revolution: Saving Our World, Revitalizing Judaism. NY: Lantern Publishing & Media, 2020.
“The Jewish Basis of an Animal-Free Diet Concisely Explained.” Jewish Veg. https://www.jewishveg.org/
“Judaism.” Jewish Vegetarian Society. https://www.jvs.org.uk/
Chapter Five of Lisa Kemmerer. Animals and World Religions. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2012.
[i] When referencing and exploring core Jewish and Christian texts, this website uses the English translation generally preferred by scholars, the New Revised Standard Version, which can be accessed here: https://www.bible.com/bible/2016/GEN.1.NRSV.
[ii] The Tanakh or Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) is also sacred for Christians and portions are sacred for Muslims, including The Torah, called Tawrat/Tawrah, and Psalms, called Zabur.[ii]
“Each religion has a book of divine revelation, providing moral teachings and spiritual guidance.
In Judaism, it is the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh). In Christianity it is the Bible, consisting of the Old and New Testaments. (The Old Testament essentially consists of the Hebrew Bible.) In Islam it is the Qur'an.
“Each religion acknowledges the preceding texts and draws from them, with differences of interpretation and emphasis. So Christianity inherits from Judaism, and Islam inherits from both Judaism and Christianity. In this way the Hebrew Bible, the Christian Bible and the Qur'an form one linked textual tradition.
Muslims refer to followers of all three religions as 'People of the Book'.” (Quote taken from “Faith: Books.” British Library https://www.bl.uk/onlinegallery/features/sacred/wfabooks.html)
[iii] Cohn-Sherbok, Dan. “Hope for the Animal Kingdom.” A Communion of Subjects: Animals in Religion, Science, and Ethics . Ed. Paul Waldau and Kimberley Patton. NY: Columbia U. Press, 2006. 81-90. 90.
[iv] Courtesy of We Animals Media. https://stock.weanimalsmedia.org/groups/
[v] Schwartz, Richard. Vegan Revolution: Saving Our World, Revitalizing Judaism. NY: Lantern Publishing & Media, 2020. 34.
[vii] Pippus, Anna. Mothers Against Dairy. https://mothersagainstdairy.org/anna-pippus/
[viii] Courtesy of “Animal Advocacy & Sanctuaries: Israel: Middle East: Freedom Farm Sanctuary.” Pacific Roots Magazine. Sept. 4, 2019. http://pacificrootsmagazine.com/freedom-farm-sanctuary/
[ix] Kneller, Sam. “Soul, Nephesh in Biblical Hebrew. Here’s the Definition.” The Explanation. March 4, 2020. https://medium.com/the-explanation/soul-nephesh-in-biblical-hebrew-heres-the-definition-b0ce0e6bdd08
[x] Schochet, Elijah Judah. Animal Life in Jewish Tradition: Attitudes and Relationships. NY: KTAV Publishing, 1984. 53. Also, see the following:
- Hiebert, Theodore. “The Human Vocation: Origins and Transformations in Christian Traditions.” Christianity and Ecology: Seeking the Well-Being of Earth and Humans. Ed Dieter T. Hessel and Rosemary Radford Ruether. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2000. 135-54. 139.
- Lucas John Mix.The Breath of Life: Nephesh in Hebrew Scriptures. Life Concepts from Aristotle to Darwin. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018. 79-90.
- Sam Kneller. “Soul, Nephesh in Biblical Hebrew: Here’s the Definition.” The Explanation. March 4, 2020. https://medium.com/the-explanation/soul-nephesh-in-biblical-hebrew-heres-the-definition-b0ce0e6bdd08
[xi] Adi Winter, from her Facebook page. Provided by Yossi Wolfson, co-founder of Animals Now (https://animals-now.org/en/about/). Personal E-mail.
[xii] Courtesy of “Daniel” and Yossi Wolfson, co-founder of Animals Now in Tel Aviv. Personal Email.
[xiii] Schochet, Elijah Judah. Animal Life in Jewish Tradition: Attitudes and Relationships. NY: KTAV Publishing, 1984. 251–53.
[xiv] Hiebert, Theodore. “The Human Vocation: Origins and Transformations in Christian Traditions,” Christianity and Ecology: Seeking the Well-Being of Earth and Humans. Ed Dieter T. Hessel and Rosemary Radford Ruether. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2000. 135-54. 138.
[xv] Schochet, Elijah Judah. Animal Life in Jewish Tradition: Attitudes and Relationships. NY: KTAV Publishing, 1984. 144.
[xvi] Avot 2:4. Pirkei Avot. Sefaria: A Living Library of Jewish Texts. https://www.sefaria.org/Pirkei_Avot.1.17
[xvii] Noga Shanee of the Israeli Primate Sanctuary Foundation. Private e-mail.
[xviii] Israeli Primate Sanctuary and Noga Shanee. Personal Email.
[xix] Courtesy of We Animals Media. https://stock.weanimalsmedia.org/groups/
[xx] Allen, Clifton J. Broadman Bible Commentary, 12 vols. Nashville: Broadman, 1971. 1:132.
[xxi] Allen, Clifton J. Broadman Bible Commentary, 12 vols. Nashville: Broadman, 1971. 1:132.
[xxii] Schwartz, Richard. Vegan Revolution: Saving Our World, Revitalizing Judaism. NY: Lantern Publishing & Media, 2020. 4.
[xxiii] Schwartz, Richard H. Judaism and Vegetarianism. NY: Lantern, 2001, 25.
[xxv] Gompertz, Lewis. Moral Inquiries into the Situation of Man and of Brutes (1824) in Kemmerer, Lisa. Animals and World Religions. Oxford, 2012. 200. Also, see “England: early 19th Century: Lewis Gompertz (1779-1865).” International Vegetarian Union. https://ivu.org/history/england19a/gompertz.html
[xxvi] Saperstein, David (Rabbi). “The Moral Case for Saving Species: Thirteen Prominent Thinkers Explain Why Society Should Give High Priority to the Purpose of the Endangered Species Act.” Defenders. Summer 1998: 14.
[xxvii] Saperstein, David (Rabbi). “The Moral Case for Saving Species: Thirteen Prominent Thinkers Explain Why Society Should Give High Priority to the Purpose of the Endangered Species Act.” Defenders. Summer 1998: 14.
[xxviii] Isaac Bashevis Singer in Schochet, Elijah Judah. Animal Life in Jewish Tradition: Attitudes and Relationships. NY: KTAV Publishing, 1984. 297.
[xxix] Courtesy of Louis Monier/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images. https://www.loa.org/writers/111-isaac-bashevis-singer
[xxx] DeWitt, Calvin. “The Three Big Questions.” Worldviews, Religion, and the Environment: A Global Anthology, Ed. Richard C. Foltz. Belmont: Wadsworth, 2003: 349-355. 353.
[xxxi] “Biblical Vocabulary: עָבַד (“Serving the Lord”).” Bibleword. https://www.biblword.net/biblical-vocabulary-serving-the-lord/
[xxxii] “’Abad.” Bible Study Tools. https://www.biblestudytools.com/lexicons/hebrew/nas/abad.html; “Biblical Vocabulary: עָבַד (“Serving the Lord”).” Bibleword. https://www.biblword.net/biblical-vocabulary-serving-the-lord/
[xxxiii] “Biblical Vocabulary: עָבַד (“Serving the Lord”).” Bibleword. https://www.biblword.net/biblical-vocabulary-serving-the-lord/
[xxxiv] Hirsch, Rabbi Samson Rafael. “Letter 4.” Nineteen Letters. NY: Feldheim (Elias edition), 1969. Taken from Schwartz, Richard H. Judaism and Vegetarianism. NY: Lantern, 2001. 16. Also, see Horeb, v. 2 (72: 482). Trans. Grunfeld Dayan. Ondond: Soncino, 1962.
[xxxv] “Hi, I’m Billy.” Freedom Farm Sanctuary: Rescued Animals. https://www.freedom-farm.org.il/en/billys-story/
[xxxvi] Courtesy of Freedom Farm Sanctuary. https://www.freedom-farm.org.il/en/billys-story/
[xxxvii] “Meet Miri and Gili.” Freedom Farm Sanctuary: Rescued Animals. https://www.freedom-farm.org.il/en/meet-miri-gili/
[xxxviii] Courtesy of “Photos: Disabled animals given new lease of life at Israeli sanctuary.” Yahoo.com: News.
[xxxix] Routley, Richard and Val. “Against the Inevitability of Human Chauvinism.” Ed. Kenneth Goodpaster. Notre Dame: U of Notre Dame Press, 1979. 56.
[xl] Curtin, Deane. “Making Peace with the Earth: Indigenous Agriculture and the Green Revolution.” Environmental Ethics 17 (1995): 59-73. 66.
[xli] Davis, Karen (Ph.D.). “Gentleman Jules, My Story of Jules and His Loving Soul.” United Poultry Concerns: Holiday Greetings from United Poultry Concerns. Dec. 2017. https://www.upc-online.org/holiday/17/
[xlii] Courtesy of Karen Davis and United Poultry Concerns. https://www.upc-online.org/holiday/17/
[xliii] Vischer, Lukas and Charles Birch. Living With the Animals. Geneva: WCC, 1997. 9.
[xliv] Schochet, Elijah Judah. Animal Life in Jewish Tradition: Attitudes and Relationships. NY: KTAV Publishing, 1984. 146.
[xlv] Davis, Karen (Ph.D.). “Muffie & Her Friends Remembered with Love & Lessons Learned.” Poultry Press. Spring 2019. https://www.upc-online.org/pp/spring2019/muffie_and_her_friends_remembered_with_love_and_lessons_learned.html
[xlvi] Courtesy of Karen Davis and United Poultry Concerns. https://www.upc-online.org/pp/spring2019/muffie_and_her_friends_remembered_with_love_and_lessons_learned.html
[xlvii] Allen, Clifton J. Broadman Bible Commentary, 12 vols. Nashville: Broadman, 1971. 1:155.
[xlix] Siegel, Kassie and Brendan Cummings. “Polar Bears: Watching Extinction in Real Time.” Bear Necessities. Ed. Lisa Kemmerer. Leiden: Brill, 2015. 53.
[l]< Schochet, Elijah Judah. Animal Life in Jewish Tradition: Attitudes and Relationships. NY: KTAV Publishing, 1984. 144.
[li] Courtesy of Wikkipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Garden_of_Earthly_Delights
[liii] Schwartz, Richard. Vegan Revolution: Saving Our World, Revitalizing Judaism. NY: Lantern Publishing & Media, 2020. 156.
[liv] David Sears (Rabbi). The Vision of Eden: Animal Welfare and Vegetarianism in Jewish Law and Mysticism, 2nd edition. Createspace Publishing, 2014. 19.
[lv] DeWitt, Calvin. “The Three Big Questions.” Worldviews, Religion, and the Environment: A Global Anthology, Ed. Richard C. Foltz. Belmont: Wadsworth, 2003: 349-355. 354.
[lvi] Schwartz, Richard H. Judaism and Vegetarianism. NY: Lantern, 2001. 30.
Courtesy of “Photos: Disabled animals given new lease of life
at Israeli sanctuary.” Yahoo.com: News. March 13, 2019.
[lviii] Cobb, John B Jr. “Christianity, Economics, and Ecology.” Christianity and Ecology: Seeking the Well-Being of Earth and Humans. Ed. Dieter T. Hessel and Rosemary Radford Ruether. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. 2000, 497-511. 506–7.
[lix] Schochet, Elijah Judah. Animal Life in Jewish Tradition: Attitudes and Relationships. NY: KTAV Publishing, 1984. 248.
[lx] Samson Rafael Hirsch (Rabbi). “Letter 4” in Nineteen Letters. Rabbi Joseph Elias edition. Jerusalem: Feldheim, 1969.
[lxi] Courtesy of We Animals Media. https://stock.weanimalsmedia.org/groups/
[lxii] Iyer, Sangamithra. “Soiled Hands.” Primate People. Ed. Lisa Kemmerer. University of Utah Press, 2012. 158-64. 159-60.
[lxiii] Sangamithra Iyer. Personal Email.
[lxiv] Lewis Regenstein in Schwartz, Richard. Vegan Revolution: Saving Our World, Revitalizing Judaism. NY: Lantern Publishing & Media, 2021. 146.
[lxv] “Tza'ar ba'alei Chayim.“ Jewish English Lexicon. https://jel.jewish-languages.org/words/1858
[lxvi] Ganzfried, Rabbi Solomon. Code of Jewish Law, “Book 4, ch 191.” NY: Hebrew Publishing Co., 1961. 84. Also, see the following:
- Richard H. Schwartz. Judaism and Vegetarianism. NY: Lantern, 2001. 19.
- Dan Cohn-Sherbok. “Hope for the Animal Kingdom.” A Communion of Subjects: Animals in Religion, Science, and Ethics. Ed. Paul Waldau and Kimberley Patton. NY: Columbia U. Press, 2006. 81-90. 83.
- Medieval commentaries on the Talmud and Sefer haHinnukh, thirteenth-century “Book of Education.”
[lxvii] “Beit Midrash.” Yeshiva: The Torah World Gateway: Jewish Laws and thoughts: Plants and Animals. https://www.yeshiva.co/midrash/31828
[lxviii] “Necessary.” Merriam-Webster. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/necessary
[lxix] Lewis Regenstein in Schwartz, Richard. Vegan Revolution: Saving Our World, Revitalizing Judaism. NY: Lantern Publishing & Media, 2021. 146.
[lxx] Shmuly Yanklowitz in Schwartz, Richard. Vegan Revolution: Saving Our World, Revitalizing Judaism. NY: Lantern Publishing & Media, 2020. 151.
[lxxi] Schochet, Elijah Judah. Animal Life in Jewish Tradition: Attitudes and Relationships. NY: KTAV Publishing, 1984. 267.
[lxxii] Cohn-Sherbok, Dan. “Hope for the Animal Kingdom.” A Communion of Subjects: Animals in Religion, Science, and Ethics. Ed. Paul Waldau and Kimberley Patton. NY: Columbia U. Press, 2006. 81-90. 89.
[lxxiii] Kalechofsky, Roberta. “Hierarchy, Kinship, and Responsibility.” A Communion of Subjects: Animals in Religion, Science, and Ethics. Ed. Paul Waldau and Kimberley Patton. NY: Columbia U. Press, 2006. 91-99. 97.
[lxxiv] Ginzburg, Omer. “How did we make Israel the first country in the world to ban the fur trade?” Animals Now. N.d. https://animals-now.org/israel-the-first-to-ban-the-fur-trade-en
[lxxv] Courtesy of Yossi Wolfson, co-founder of Animals Now in Tel Aviv.
[lxxvi] Hertz, J. H. “The Penateuch and Haftorahs.” The Trees’ Birthday. Ed. Ellen Bernstein. Philadelphia: Turtle River, 1988. 83.
Babylonian Talmud Bava Metzia 32b.
Also, Shulchan Aruch (Code of Jewish Law).
[lxxviii] Bokser, Ben Zion. “Moses Maimonides: Jewish philosopher, Scholar, and Physician.” https://www.britannica.com/biography/Moses-Maimonides.
[lxxix] Schochet, Elijah Judah. Animal Life in Jewish Tradition: Attitudes and Relationships. NY: KTAV Publishing, 1984. 154.
[lxxxi] Located in the Chatam Sofer.
[lxxxii] Courtesy of “Animal Advocacy & Sanctuaries: Israel: Middle East: Freedom Farm Sanctuary.” Pacific Roots Magazine. Sept. 4, 2019. http://pacificrootsmagazine.com/freedom-farm-sanctuary
[lxxxiii] Schwartz, Richard H. Judaism and Vegetarianism. NY: Lantern, 2001. 168. Also, Agnon, S. Y. Days of Awe. Jerusalem: Shocken, 1939.
[lxxxiv] Rashi is a respected biblical commentator from the Middle Ages and the reknown author of the first comprehensive commentaries on the Talmud, Torah, and Tanakh.
[lxxxv] Ratzabi, Hila. “Sages & Scholars: Who Was Rashi?” My Jewish Learning. https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/who-was-rashi/
[lxxxvi] Schochet, Elijah Judah. Animal Life in Jewish Tradition: Attitudes and Relationships. NY: KTAV Publishing, 1984. 263.
[lxxxvii] Kalechofsky, Roberta. “Hierarchy, Kinship, and Responsibility.” A Communion of Subjects: Animals in Religion, Science, and Ethics. Ed. Paul Waldau and Kimberley Patton. NY: Columbia U. Press, 2006. 91-99. 95.
[lxxxviii] Hirsch was a highly regarded German neo-Orthodox Torah commentator.
[lxxxix] Hirsch’s Letter Four of The Nineteen Letters in Schwartz, Richard H. Judaism and Vegetarianism. NY: Lantern, 2001. 17.
[xc] Schwartz, Richard H. Judaism and Vegetarianism. NY: Lantern, 2001. 16.
[xci] Nina Natelson in Kemmerer, Lisa.Animals and World Religions. Animals and World Religions. Oxford, 2012. 203-04.
[xcii] Regenstein, Lewis G. Replenish the Earth. NY: Crossroad, 1991. 183.
[xciii] Schochet, Elijah Judah. Animal Life in Jewish Tradition: Attitudes and Relationships. NY: KTAV Publishing, 1984. 155.
[xciv] Shemos Rabbah 2:2. https://www.sefaria.org/Shemot_Rabbah.2.2?lang=bi&with=all&lang2=en
[xcv] Courtesy of “Photos: Disabled animals given new lease of life at Israeli sanctuary.” Yahoo.com: News.
[xcvi] While sacred for Christians, these books are not sacred for Muslims.
[xcvii] Schwartz, Richard. Vegan Revolution: Saving Our World, Revitalizing Judaism. NY: Lantern Publishing & Media, 2020. 142.
[xcviii] Hirsch, “Letter” in Nineteen Letters in Schwartz, Richard H. Judaism and Vegetarianism. NY: Lantern, 2001. 16.
[xcix] Nina Natelson, personal email.
[c] Courtesy of We Animals Media. https://stock.weanimalsmedia.org/groups/
[ci] Regenstein, Lewis. “Commandments of Compassion Toward Animals.” Atlanta Jewish Times. June 7, 2017. https://atlantajewishtimes.timesofisrael.com/commandments-of-compassion-toward-animals/
[cii] Courtesy of “Animal Advocacy & Sanctuaries: Israel: Middle East: Freedom Farm Sanctuary.” Pacific Roots Magazine. Sept. 4, 2019. http://pacificrootsmagazine.com/freedom-farm-sanctuary/
[ciii] “The Shma.” My Jewish Learning. https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/the-shema/
[civ] Linzey, Andrew and Dan Cohn-Sherbok. After Noah: Animals and the Liberation of Theology. London: Mowbray, 1997. 13.
[cv] Scully, Matthew. Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy. NY: St. Martin’s, 2002. 26.
[cvi] Allen, Clifton J. Broadman Bible Commentary, 12 vols. Nashville: Broadman, 1971. 1:132.
[cvii] Allen, Clifton J. Broadman Bible Commentary, 12 vols. Nashville: Broadman, 1971. 1:132.
[cviii] Cohn-Sherbok, Dan. “Hope for the Animal Kingdom.” A Communion of Subjects: Animals in Religion, Science, and Ethics. Ed. Paul Waldau and Kimberley Patton. NY: Columbia UP, 2006. 81-90. 88.
[cix] Schwartz, Richard H. Judaism and Vegetarianism. NY: Lantern, 2001. 25.