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Animal, Laws

Hunting: How It Became Un-Jewish

In the Torah, Nimrod and Esau are hunters, Isaac enjoys game, and the legal collections take it for granted that hunting for food is common and permissible. Once Judaism decided that even wild animals must be ritually slaughtered, the Jewish attitude towards hunting took a sharp negative turn.

Dr. Rabbi

Marcus Mordecai Schwartz

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The Earliest Explanation for Kosher

Does God have a penchant for cows, goats, and pigeons? A distaste for pigs, mice, and weasels? If not, why are the former permitted to eat but the latter proscribed? According to some Jewish and Christian allegorical interpreters in ancient Alexandria, the Torah’s distinction between clean and unclean meats was intended to tell us as much about how to behave as how to eat.

Prof. Rabbi

Joshua Garroway

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Morality and Prepositions: On Taking a Mother on Her Young

The biblical law makes use of a martial idiom to forbid Israel from being cruel to a mother bird.

Dr.

Tzvi Novick

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The Law of the Goring Ox: Is It Neutered?

The word שור in Hebrew can refer to an ox or a bull, but which animal is the protagonist of the celebrated law of שור נגח, “the goring bovine”? 

Dr.

Elaine Goodfriend

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Does the Torah Prohibit Castrating Animals?

Jewish law prohibits the gelding of animals based on its interpretation of Leviticus 22:24. Is this what the Torah means? Why might the Torah have prohibited this and how could the prohibition function in an agrarian society dependent on draft animals?[1]

Dr.

Elaine Goodfriend

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Do Animals Feel Pain? Balaam’s Donkey vs. Descartes

In contrast to Descartes’ theory of animals as automatons, the Torah and rabbinic text express deep concern for animal suffering. One vivid example is the donkey’s rebuke of Balaam, “What have I done to you, that you have struck me?” (Num 22:28).

Prof.

Yael Shemesh

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The Mitzvah of Covering the Blood of Wild Animals

Leviticus requires covering the blood of undomesticated animals; Deuteronomy requires pouring out the blood of slaughtered domesticated animals onto the ground. How do these laws jibe with each other? The Essenes have one answer, the rabbis another, the academics a third.

Dr. Rabbi

Zev Farber

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