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Eco-Kosher: Halakha on its Head

Rabbi Grossman suggests that “The kosher laws are supposed to raise an awareness of what we eat and a sensitivity to the needs of all living creatures.” Interesting, because just like Jews have claimed that eco-kosher is a central tenet of Judaism, Christians also have made the exact same argument about Christianity. And I bet if you dug deep enough you could find the exact movements in Buddhism and Islam. If the same Christianity that did away with eating laws could now embrace them as part of Jesus’ social gospel then I guess anyone could.

The fact is that there is a growing recognition in many quarters that we need a healthier relationship to the world around us. Eco-kosher is a great idea–one that does make kashrut relevant and meaningful. It brings halakha (Jewish law) back to its core of infusing all aspects of life with a sense of purpose, but lets all be historically honest. It would seem to me that historically speaking, kashrut laws probably were meant to create boundaries between different people and generate a sense of communal identity. Yes, there are laws about being sensitive to animals but not really visa via-Kashrut.
Eco-kosher strikes me as being one of those positive ironies in that in some ways it is an attempt to universalize (through vague ethical claims) what was once the most particularistic of ideas. I don’t know what exactly to make out of this but it is kind of interesting to note.

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Bob Curry

posted August 27, 2007 at 2:58 pm

I guess I am confused about why people are still puzzling over the Laws in the Torah. God says repeatedly that he has given them for our blessing and that when we deviate from Derech Ha Torah (The Way of The Torah) we will experience curses.
Science is slowly starting to validate the Torah as the path of healthful and blessed living but why should we, as (presumably) people of faith (actually faith is a very weak Greek based word), need science to validate God. If he says it is good for us why are we quibbling.
If our money says “In God we trust” and we believe in our money then why do we constantly distrust God?
I am very curious that you say Xianity is beginning to embrace eating laws. While I have seen small signs of this it seems to me that mainstream Xianity is dead set against even the appearance of considering the Laws valid. Between the exigencies of Constantine and miserable misinterpretation and mistranslation of Paul most Christians treat the Law the way Vampires treat garlic.
If you have widespread evidence to the contrary I would be eager to hear about it.

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posted August 28, 2007 at 10:43 am

“Eco-kosher strikes me as being one of those positive ironies in that in some ways it is an attempt to universalize (through vague ethical claims) what was once the most particularistic of ideas.”
I agree, but I think it’ll still remain a pretty particularistic concept as well. There might be some Jews who REALLY universalize it into being just another socially-conscious diet, like vegetarianism (which I’m not against, by the way :) ), but I think most Jews who are committed to kashrut will keep it for a number of reasons, including the particularistic/historical ones. I definitely think concepts like eco-kashrut are good, though, in giving everyone a more nuanced interpretation of the laws and, like you said, a more relevant reason for keeping them today.

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Bob Curry

posted August 28, 2007 at 3:13 pm

Why do we need a reason more relevant for “today”? What is more relevant than experiencing blessings that only following the King of The Universe can make possible?
Conversely, what is more relevant than experiencing the curses (disease, dysfunction, etc.) that straying from His path brings?
While I wouldn’t argue with a more nuanced understanding of the blessings of following the Law, it seems as though this Eco Kosher concept is being put forward as the main or perhaps even only bene for following Torah.

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Joe Dooly

posted August 30, 2007 at 11:10 am

I am a Christian prophet of God and find that these people who claim to be a so called Christians as the Word of God calls them, but don’t walk in the Light of His Word are the ones who are filling todays hospitals with the curses that Gods Word says will come through their disobedience. A man who says he is walking in the Light, but his deeds are in the darkness and the Truth of Messiah is not in them. They were first called Christian in Antioc because they DID the works of Christ who follow God to the letter. These so called Christians who say they are under no laws anymore still get sick and even die, while saying Grace which is supposed to ecempt them from the very curses the Word speaks of. GO FIGURE!I have preached from the Word of Gos on at least 27 ways God provided for mans healing and they still ask if it be thy will oh Lord. They are more Sottish what Torah called the Jews] than the Jews of the past were.
Joe Dooly

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