Sunday, April 23, 2006

The Hamburger, the rabbi and the lettuce

And the rabbi said:

"Lettuce entertain you."


Newsweek magazine has a rabbi, Marc Gellman; though he's not included in the edition they send to Israel. I discovered him in the internet edition that comes to my trusty pc1* for free.

His latest article, very pc2**, extolling the alleged virtues of vegetarianism, is off the mark.

Rabbi, There's no ham in the hamburger you're craving, so as long it's from a kosher animal, slaughtered and cleaned according to Jewish Law, you can eat it.

For over 25 years, I was a strict ovo-lacto-vegetarian; that's a vegetarian who eats eggs and dairy, but no fish, poultry and beef. I was perfectly healthy, had my two youngest, out of five children, during that time and also investigated the status of my "diet" in terms of Jewish Law. I was told that as long as I described it as "my desire and decision" and didn't give a "higher" moral status it was acceptable.

According to the Torah, the source of Jewish Law, one can neither add nor delete the commandments. Therefore, since we have commandments to eat meat, then it's permissible. Though one isn't forced to if there are medical reasons or it repulses him/her.

And if you're curious why I ceased being a vegetarian, to put it simply: I was hungry. Yes, and as soon as I returned to eating meat, fish and poultry I craved it in vast quantities. My body was starving for the nutrients found in no other foods. For me, being vegetarian, even with all of the whole grains, fruits and vegetables I had been eating, it was a form of mal-nutrition. G-d permits us to eat animal protein, because He created us with the physical need for it. So, you can eat that hamburger, and it's great with lettuce!

*pc= personal computer

**pc= politically correct

1 comment:

Noam said...

I enourage you to visit and see that many Jewish figures believe that Jews should be vegetarian. It's not a question of adding commandments, but of living up to Jewish teachings on caring for animals, not to mentin one's health and the environment. Moreover, the Bible teaches that God's original intention was that the world be vegetarian, and choosing a vegetarian diet best lives up to this divine ideal.

It's true that the Bible permits eating meat. This means we have a choice, and should make our choice based on Jewish values. The Bible also permits other things I eschew, even slavery. The fact that something is permitted doesn't mean we need no longer use ethical thinking.