Thoughts on the Weekly Parshah by HaRav Eliezer Chrysler
Formerly Rav of Mercaz Ahavat Torah, Johannesburg

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Vol. 23   No. 2

This issue is sponsored l'iluy Nishmas
Leah Baila bas Aryeh Leib z"l
t.n.tz.v.h.

Parshas No'ach

Why were Animals Created ?

"And G-d blessed them (Adam and Chavah) and G-d said to them 'Be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth and conquer it, rule over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the sky, and over every living thing that moves on the earth' " (2:28).

The world was created for the sake of man and for his benefit. Consequently he was given full jurisdiction over the entire animal world.

At the time of the creation that jurisdiction precluded killing animals for personal use, but not for the purpose of sacrifices. As the Seforno explains " rule over the fish" - 'lay traps and cast nets to bring them in to serve you, but not to kill them'. In fact, Chazal teach us that were it not for the role that the snake played regarding the forbidden fruit, it would have travelled around the world in the service of Adam ha'Rishon, bringing him his every need.

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And it was in Noach's time that a major change took place, and that man, for the first time, was permitted to kill animals in order to eat them. This was either, as the Kli Yokor explains, because Noach studied Torah, which, in turn, imbued him with a superiority over all other creations, or, in the opinion of the Ramban, as a reward for the complete selflessness that he displayed towards the animals during their year in the ark. They thus owed their lives to him, and therefore they were over to him to do with as he saw fit. From then on, only the limb of a live animal, and its blood remained forbidden to him. The Torah's viewpoint is clear. Animal was created to serve man and not vice versa. If, in the process of that service, an animal needs to suffer pain, then that must be seen as part of the service to mankind for which it was created. Man need have no qualms about making use of any animal, even if, in the process, he needs to kill it, and even if the animal suffers pain.

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This does not mean to say that he may inflict unnecessary pain on any creature. Far from it! According to the Gemara in Bava Metziya (32b), inflicting unnecessary pain upon an animal is strictly forbidden, at least mi'de'Rabbanan, probably even min ha'Torah. Moreover, kindness to animals includes an obligation to alleviate suffering from an animal - such as to help unload it when it is suffering discomfort from its load.

Even the great prince and sage, Rebbi, was severely punished for callously sending a lamb to be shechted because 'that is the purpose for which you were created'. It came to him for protection, and under the circumstances, he should have shown it more sympathy. The ensuing toothache that he had to endure remained with him until he told his maid to leave alone the weasels that she found in the attic because "Hashem's mercy extends to all His creatures" - an episode that took place thirteen years later!

Clearly then, on the one hand unnecessary suffering to animals is strictly prohibited, on the other, they are there to serve us, and our needs supersede those of the animal, even if the animal will suffer unavoidably in the process - provided that suffering is reduced to its minimum.

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Considering the above, there can be nothing wrong with killing an animal for its meat or for its skin or for any other use to which man wishes to put it. This is provided, one may assume, that there is no other equivalent source from which to obtain the required product, and provided that the animal is killed in the most humane way possible. Note that Shechitah is the least painful way of killing an animal.

To refuse to eat meat on the grounds of cruelty to animals, or to petition against the killing of animals which are to be used for the benefit of human beings, be it for food, clothing, medicine, or ornamental use constitutes misplaced kindness. It is in a sense, an act of rebellion against G-d, who created animals for that purpose.

Our sages, with reference to King Saul, who 'mercifully' spared Agog, king of Amalek, but later went on to kill all the eighty inhabitants of Nov, the city of Kohanim, teach us that 'Someone who is kind to the cruel will eventually end up being cruel to the kind'.

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Important Dates following the Creation

Year
1. Day 2 The angels are created.
Day 3 Adam & Chavah are created and married and the first sin takes place; Kayin and Hevel are born.
Day 100 Kayin murders Hevel.
130 Sheis, Adam's third son, is born.
622 Chanoch is born - He will later become the Angel Matatron.
687 Mesushelach is born.
930 Adam dies.
1056 No'ach is born.
1536 No'ach begins to build the ark.
1056 - 58 His sons, Yefes, Cham and Shem are born.
1656 The righteous Mesushelach dies; 7 days later the Flood begins.
1657 No'ach and his family leave the ark. The first rainbow is seen.
1723 Eiver, who will later run the first Yeshivah together with his greatgrandfather Sheim, is born.
1948 Avram is born.
1958 Sarai is born.
1973 . Avaraham marries Sarah.
1996 The episode with the Tower of Bavel takes place.
1998 Avraham smashes his father (Terach)'s idols and is cast into the furnace in Ur Kasdim.
2004 Avraham and Sarah leave Charan for Cana'an (for the second time).
2006 No'ach dies.

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