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▪ First 4 words: “As an Orthodox rabbi”. He is capitalizing on an entire community’s credibility: Yanklowitz: Mandate to Stun Animals After Kosher Slaughter
Gordimer: The (Spiritual) Battle of New Orleans
▪ A penitentiary should be a place that allows for repentance while prisoners serve their terms: Florida prisons ordered to serve kosher meals
A Kidney Donor Who Wants No Help
The Baltimore Riots and Jewish Gangs
The Baltimore Riots and Jewish Gangs
Poland’s kosher exports taking off

About Gil Student

Rabbi Gil Student is the Editor of TorahMusings.com, a leading website on Orthodox Jewish scholarly subjects, and the Book Editor of the Orthodox Union’s Jewish Action magazine. He writes a popular column on issues of Jewish law and thought featured in newspapers and magazines, including The Jewish Link, The Jewish Echo and The Vues. In the past, he has served as the President of the small Jewish publisher Yashar Books and as the Managing Editor of OU Press. Rabbi Student has served two terms on the Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Council of America and currently serves as the Director of the Halacha Commission of the Rabbinical Alliance of America. He serves on the Editorial Boards of Jewish Action magazine, the Journal of Halacha and Contemporary Society and the Achieve Journal of Behavioral Health, Religion & Community, as well as the Board of OU Press. He has published five English books, the most recent titled Search Engine volume 2: Finding Meaning in Jewish Texts -- Jewish Leadership, and served as the American editor for Morasha Kehillat Yaakov: Essays in Honour of Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks.


  1. While I have no opinion on post-shechitah stunning, there is something I found offensive about the article: the swipe at factory farming. It seems that his view of tzaar baalei chayim is that if it seems to him the animal is suffering, it is forbidden, or at least not the “highest sanctity of the food production process.”

    But the halakha is that only gratuitous suffering is forbidden. If animal suffering leads to a human benefit, it is perfectly permitted. Nothing unholy about that.

    Say what you will about factory farming, it has made meat much more affordable, and within the reach of the average consumer. (Certainly chicken and ground meat). If Yanklowitz’s agenda were fully adopted, the price of meat would soar, putting it out of the affordability of many families. Meat is a very nutritious food, and its wide scale availability benefits many people, including children.

    Sorry, it is not the “highest sanctity of the food production process” to put animals before people. That, IMO, is a complete perversion of the Torah and its values.

  2. The argument against factory farming is that it causes excessive suffering and often leads to a less healthy product. from a public health and environmental perspective, the public would be beter off consuming much less, not more meat. The claim that any amount of animal suffering and environmental damage is justified to bring down the cost of meat is IMO, is a complete perversion of the Torah and its values.

    • So your position is, to save animal suffering, it is fine if the price of meat and chicken trebled, and poor children were malnourished as a result. And you think that is the Torah’s view. How nice.

  3. It’s no secret that Yanklowitz is a vegan and would like us all to be. That’s only one reason his post is disingenuous.

  4. It is also telling that Yanklowitz does not even consider what the cost of his proposal would be.

  5. The Gaonim discussed a proposal to tax consumption, not income, to fund Jewish education — a tax on kosher meat.

    Today, I suspect that kosher meat (at least beef) is relatively price-elastic for the MO crowd (in this case both MO Liberal and MO Machmir) — they hear lots of health information about vegetarian options, they munch on any OU-D chalav ha-kompanies product without thinking twice, and they aren’t locked into certain cultural norms that “it’s not chashuv unless it’s fleishigs.” It’s a lot more inelastic for the charedi crowd, which is a shame as they have less disposable income on average.

  6. The price of meat will not triple and even if it did, poor children will not be malnourished as a result. If there were a direct equation between factory farming and kids getting proper nutrition I would agree with you, but you are creating a false dichotomy. do you have any evidence for your claims?

    • Currently, the kosher meat that is pastured sells for about 50% more in price. Because of the price, there is limited demand, mainly upper class modern Orthodox, and perhaps a few gourmands who believe (maybe correctly) that the taste is superior. If you banned factory farming, the general demand for meat would drive the price much higher than that.

      Prior to WWII, chickens were not factory farmed, and they were a rare luxury in America. So much so, that veal was cheaper (!) and there were recipes from that era for fake chicken made out of veal. Factory farming drove the price way down, and made it affordable for many people.

      So while I have not done a rigorous economic analysis, banning factory farming and requiring only pastured meat would drive the price up very significantly. (Not to mention you would need to devote much more farmland for the purpose.)

      We are not talking about a luxury like foie gras (which R. Elyashiv permitted, although others do not). We are talking about meat and chicken, which are basic staples that people need. The notion that tsaar baalei chayim requires us to make meat much more expensive and out of reach for many poor people is absurd. The poskim have allowed it for human benefits much less important than what we are talking about. Here is the Terumas ha Deshen, which the Rama paskens like:

      תרומת הדשן פסקים וכתבים ס’ קה
      אם למרוט נוצות לאווזות חיים, אי דומה לגיזת כבשים או אי הוו צער בעלי חיים גם לחתוך לשון העוף כדי שידבר, ואזנים וזנב מכלב כדי ליפותו, נראין הדברים דאין אסור משום צער בעלי חיים אם הוא עושה לצורכיו ולתשמישיו. דלא נבראו כל הבריות רק לשמש את האדם, כדאיתא פרק בתרא דקידושין. ותדע דבפ’ ב’ דב”מ חשיב פריקה צער בעלי חיים, וא”כ היאך מותר משא כבד על בהמתו להוליכו ממקום למקום הא איכא צער בעלי חיים … ומתוך הלין ראיות הוה נראה קצת דליכא איסור בכה”ג, אלא שהעולם נזהרים ונמנעים, ואפשר הטעם לפי שאינו רוצה העולם [לנהוג] מדות אכזריות נגד הבריות.

      • In the main, even if the price doubled, what we are talking about then is people eating meat once or twice a week instead of 2-4 times. Or eating a smaller serving. For nearly all Americans, including poor ones, this would not be a nutritional problem.
        Further, I think it is telling that most people who cinsume cheap meat are in some ammount of denial about the conditions under which it is produced. Like, they don’t actually want to eat chickens that collapse under their own breast-meat-weight if allowed to roam free, they just pretend that their chickens must not be like that.

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