- For our wives
- Introduction: Why Study Jewish Ethics?
- Jewish Ethical Theories
- Ethical Theory and Practice in the Hebrew Bible
- Ethical Theories in Rabbinic Literature
- Ethical Theories in Jewish Mystical Writings
- Ethical Theories among Medieval Jewish Philosophers
- Spinoza and Jewish Ethics
- Mussar Ethics and Other Nineteenth-Century Jewish Ethical Theories
- Ethical Theories of Hermann Cohen, Franz Rosenzweig, and Martin Buber
- Ethical Theories of Mordecai Kaplan and Abraham Joshua Heschel
- Ethical Theories of Abraham Isaac Kook and Joseph B. Soloveitchik
- Ethical Implications of the Holocaust
- Ethical Theories in the Reform Movement
- Ethical Theories in the Conservative Movement
- Ethical Theories in the Orthodox Movement
- Ethical Theories in the Reconstructionist Movement
- Feminist Jewish Ethical Theories
- Postmodern Jewish Ethical Theories
- Topics in Jewish Morals
- Jewish Bioethics: The Beginning of Life
- Jewish Bioethics: The End of Life
- Jewish Bioethics: The Distribution of Health Care
- Jewish Bioethics: Current and Future Issues in Genetics
- Jewish Business Ethics
- Jewish Sexual Ethics
- Jewish Environmental Ethics: Intertwining Adam with Adamah
- Jewish Animal Ethics
- Jewish Ethics of Speech
- Jewish Political Ethics in America
- Jewish Political Ethics in Israel
- Judaism and Criminal Justice
- Jewish Ethics and War
- BIBLICAL SOURCES: RABBINIC AND SELECTED MEDIEVAL CITATIONS
- SUBJECT INDEX
Abstract and Keywords
This chapter discusses Jewish animal ethics, describing a central concept, tza'ar ba'alei hayyim, the ban on causing undue pain to animals, and the varying justifications for that ban. Some of these justifications focus on how compassion for animals will benefit human beings, including human moral character, and others assert the inherent value of animals in and of themselves. The chapter also discusses how the prohibition against causing animals pain is balanced in Jewish sources by human need, a balance that affects not only our use of animals but also Jewish rules regarding eating their flesh, with a persistent minority strain which urges vegetarianism. It then turns to two responsibilities that humans have to animals according to the Jewish tradition—to preserve compassion toward them and to guard them from abuse produced by economic motives. In general, Jews are required to provide animals with both a good life and a good death; this goes against many of the methods used in modern factory farming.
Aaron S. Gross is Assistant Professor of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of San Diego. He holds a Masters of Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School and a PhD in religious studies with a specialization in modern Judaism from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Gross has lectured at academic conferences and universities around the world on issues related to animals and religion, and food and religion. He co-chairs the American Academy of Religion Consultation on Animals and Religion, serves on the board of the Society of Jewish Ethics, and is the founder and CEO of the nonprofit Farm Forward. Gross collaborated with novelist Jonathan Safran Foer on Foer’s international bestseller, Eating Animals (2009). His publications have appeared in The Central Conference of American Rabbis Journal, The Encyclopedia of Film and Religion, The Huffington Post, Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies, and Tikkun Magazine. Gross’s forthcoming co-edited volume, Animal Others and the Human Imagination, is due out in Spring 2012.
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