God’s first conversation with mankind: Eat plants!

And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb yielding seed that is in all the earth, and every tree bearing fruit of a tree yielding seed; – you [this] will be food. (Genesis 1:29) There is no contradiction that, according to the Torah, God asked people to be vegetarians in his very first conversation with Adam and Eve.

In fact, God gave some instructions right after he gave humans “dominion” over animals. It is clear that “dominion” does not mean killing for food.

The great 13th-century Jewish philosopher Nachmanides explained why God excluded meat from the ideal diet: “Living beings,” writes Nachmanides, “have a soul and a certain spiritual superiority, which makes them similar to those with intelligence (human) and they have the power to influence their own well-being and food, and they are saved from pain and death.”

Another great medieval sage, Rabbi Yosef Albo, offered another reason. Rabbi Albo wrote: “The killing of animals implies cruelty, rage and getting used to the shedding of the blood of the innocent.”

Immediately after the instructions on nutrition, God looked at the results of his labors and saw that it was “very good” (Genesis 1:31). Everything in the universe was as God wanted, nothing superfluous, nothing insufficient, complete harmony. Vegetarianism was part of this harmony.

Today, some of the most famous rabbis are vegetarians, in line with Torah ideals. Plus, being a vegetarian is the easiest way to eat kosher food.


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