Wednesday, July 6, 2011

It’s kosher but it stinks badly

It’s kosher but it stinks badly

By: Shraga Elam
1 July 2011

Kosher slaughter has been banned in Holland, and already various groups have begun to celebrate the festival of brandishing club of Judaeophobia (what is generally called anti-Semitism, even though that concept itself is racist and was coined by one of the intellectual fathers of Nazism, a German named Wilhelm Marr).
But whoever has watched even a few film clips of “kosher” slaughtering and is not appalled is hard-hearted. These things are hard – hard to watch .You have been warned! Here are a few video clips that have been distributed by animal-rights organizations.
Whoever thinks that this is nothing but one-sided Judaeophobic propaganda composed of fabricated images and images spliced together with the best of the technological means that exist today for such dubious manipulation is invited to look at a lesson delivered by an Israeli kosher slaughterer. He explains, provides the rationale and gives an example.
 And this is what the Israeli newspaper Haaretz writes on the subject.
 Even the most intransigent carnivore who don’t care at all about the sufferings of animals and do not flinch at the sight of this disgusting practice, have to realize that studies have proven that distressed animals produce various kinds of secretions that harm the taste and quality of the meat.
I am not a religious person in the organizational sense, and I am no expert on matters related to the Jewish religion, but from the little that I do know it does not seem to me that those who really believe in God can support and find serious theological grounding for such an abusive practice. For a person who truly believes, a simplistic and vulgar interpretation that holds only to antiquated formulations that ignore the spirit of the religious writings and the intention behind them has to be a kind of sacrilege and idolatry.
 The logical demand in Holland, and also in Switzerland (the country where I live, and where kosher slaughtering has been banned for a long time, and which prohibition was even anchored in the Constitution. It is should be acknowledged that the motives for the prohibition were definitely Judaeophobic in the past) that animals be rendered unconscious before being slaughtered, whether by electric shock or by other means, was rejected out of hand by the rabbis (in Switzerland the Muslims have exhibited more flexibility). The objection that has been raised by the Torah sages is that an animal that has been wounded before being slaughtered and is unconscious, is allegedly not kosher.
 Despite the fact that there is certainly much logic behind the prohibition on slaughtering a sick animal and/or the human consumption of carrion, that situation today is different, when what is proposed is that a completely healthy animal, the health of which can be verified in advance, should be stunned before being slaughtered. Such a “wounding” cannot really compromise the purity of the animal.
In other domains that are apparently more important to them, rabbis have exhibited quite a lot of creative flexibility and taken out patents on things like the Eruv and tricks to evade the rules of the Shmita (sabbatical year), such as the following:
Permitting work in the seventh year.
“It is found in the Gemara, that Rabbi Yannai in his time permitted the sowing of crops in the seventh year. There are those who say that because of pressure from the Gentile authorities that existed in his time, he perceived that their lives would be in danger if they did not have the wherewithal to pay taxes to the state, and a Torah prohibition is cancelled for the saving of life; and there are those who say that since the prohibition in the seventh year in that time is only of rabbinical origin [Aramaic: D’Rabbanan], it is permitted to annul a rabbinical prohibition due to heavy pressure, even without the saving of life. Still others interpret, that since the authorities imposed property tax on the fields, the fields passed into the formal ownership of the Gentile king due to that imposition, and ownership by a Gentile in the Land of Israel cancels the sanctity of the land for the purpose of the ban on work in the seventh year, when the sanctity of the land is of merely rabbinical origin.
“Our Rabbis of recent generations were divided on whether it is possible to permit the working of the land in the seventh year in this time. Rabbi Kook issued a temporary order, that if one was in a tight spot one could sell land to a Gentile and thereby invalidate the sanctity of the land for sabbatical purposes, and render permissible work that was had been subjected to a merely rabbinical prohibition. And even though it is forbidden to sell land in the Land of Israel to a Gentile, in order to prevent Gentiles from gaining a foothold in the land, this sale, which is merely temporary, does not have the potential to permit a Gentile to establish himself in the country. The “Chazon Ish” [Rabbi Avrohom Yeshaya Karelitz ] and his followers taught that land should not be sold to a Gentile even temporarily, for the prohibition of “give them no quarter” [Deuteronomy 7:2] applies even to sales of that kind. And even if they sold, the holiness of the land was not removed from that soil, and no work was permitted.”
Source (in Hebrew): Jewish Encyclopedia

Why should the Torah Sages not exhibit some ingenuity and not only prevent the suffering of animals but also the debasement of the Torah that is holy to them by causing it to be perceived as cruel in the eyes of the “Goyim”?
Kosher slaughter adds suffering and it is excessively abusive – and this is not to say by any means that there is no abusiveness in the widespread industrial slaughter. Moreover, stunning animals would make cheaper also in a substantial way the price of slaughtering for it would become a lot more efficient and the need for various kinds of superfluous implements could be avoided.
The problem is a lot bigger than the simple suffering of animals, which itself is a very serious matter. It is about the cheapening and abuse of Judaeophobia, crying wolf in order to divert attention from a very problematic practice. I would not want to guarantee that everyone who is conducting the campaign against kosher slaughter is free of racism. There are supporters of the campaign who can be proven to be definitely racist; but the issue is essentially cruelty to animals which has been part of the European public discourse for many years now and in various ways, and the focus is not only on kosher slaughter. For example, for many years a campaign has been conducted against fur taken from tortured animals, among other campaigns.
The allegation that the new law in Holland is Judaeophobic not only cheapens Judaeophobia but also increases it due to the excessive stubbornness of the religious Jewish establishment.
A few years ago I sent a fax to the chief rabbi of Migdal Haemek in Israel, a man known for his courage, and I begged him to find a halachic way to solve the problem of kosher slaughter in order to help to prevent needless hatred of Jews. He didn’t even answer me.
There is no doubt that there is a need for a public campaign to apply pressure on the sages of the Torah. We must hope that we will find a courageous and righteous man among them!

Translated from Hebrew by George Malent

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