Compassion for the Animal Kingdom

Compassion for AnimalsA comment I received: I’m shocked and moved to tears to find out that we are also potential Nazis. Why did great Kabbalists, who attained Gmar Tikkun (final correction), continue to take part in cruel slaughter and use of animals? How can it be possible that the exalted teaching of Kabbalah ignores cruelty to animals?

It’s obvious that it won’t correct anything in the soul if we were all to become vegetarian. But great Kabbalists corrected everything and did not become lovers of miserable animals. How can this be? Maybe there are 126 levels and the time of the complete Gmar Tikkun has arrived only now, when “love thy neighbor as yourself” will also include animals, plants and the still level of nature? As far as I understand with my simple mind, we must ultimately feel love for ants and bugs as well…

My Response: There are rules for how to act in order to correspond to the general law of nature, called Elokim. Man has been created opposite to this law, and our task is to change ourselves in order to be the same as this law. This is the purpose of our existence in this world. This change in a person, from our level to the Creator’s level, can be attained only by studying Kabbalah. Baal HaSulam writes about it in the article “Introduction to the Book ‘From the Mouth of a Sage’”: “Even if a person is completely righteous in this world, knows the whole Torah and has fulfilled all the earthly commandments, but did not study Kabbalah, then he must return to this world again in order to study Kabbalah” – because only by studying Kabbalah does he attract the Light of Correction to him, as written in the “Introduction to Talmud Eser Sefirot,” item 155.

By correcting himself, a person unwillingly acts according to the Upper Laws. When this happens, how does he relate to the nature around him? He relates to it based on the degree of his equivalence of the Creator. And no matter what he relates to, he does so based on his equivalence to the Creator. But perhaps his actions and behavior won’t seem righteous to you, because you imagine righteousness differently to what it is in the spiritual world.

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  1. My impression is quite different from the questioners.  my understanding is that the Gemara and allied
    kabbalistic tradition model attitudes of
    compassion toward domestic animals, even or especially those used for food, and respect for and willingness to learn from
    all creatures.    Killing an animal without need, even one usually
    used for food, is almost equated  with murder.  It is known that a great
    kabbalist of the last century, Rav Kook, was a vegetarian, and
    in one story told of him, had care that plants and flowers not
    be plucked idly; A Hassidic children’s song, with some reference to the Baal Shem Tov, shows concern for a tiny insect dislodged from a tree.  Even so, the objective is not to romanticize any part of
    creation, whether a vulnerable animal or our vulnerable speaking selves, but to include, connect, and elevate the whole..

  2. wanting to kill an animal is a need aswell.

  3. Kabbalah must integrate itself into the integral interspiritual worldview that is emerging. When it does so then its ethics will expand beyond anthropocentrism.When studying these non-integral forms of Kabbalah one must be aware that these versions are out-dated yet these teachings can and must be adapted to the coming integral-interspiritual age. yes it is unthinkable that any enlightened person in this day and age would eat flesh. When you learn these old versions of Kabbalah it then becomes your duty to adapt them to an integral model. Kol Tav, Go Vegan!

  4. I haven’t managed to give up eating meat or drinking a beer LOL. But as I advance spiritually, the compulsion to do so becomes increasingly uncomfortable, as these things have become “unclean” to me in my advancing state.

    Indeed, there have been a number of vegetarian Kabbalist’s for some reason, hmmm, and in my opinion, people who drink poison, or take part in the suffering of animals, and think this a spiritually advanced behavior are in deep denial. Perhaps such aren’t as spiritually elevated as they pretend, but what do I know?

  5. Rav Kook was not a vegetarian. Rather, he had vegetarian sympathies. As counterintuitive as it seems perhaps it is kindness to slaughter a kosher animal, in the proper way, and eat it because it then attains the level of a human.

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