Understanding the Torah’s Take on Eating Meat and Sacrifice

The biblical commandments concerning ritual sacrifice mandate close contact between the one bringing the sacrifice and the animal being sacrificed; the ritual is usually followed by the ceremonial eating of the animal. In our society, however, such close contact between eater and eaten is very rare. Yet, to appreciate the Torah’s teachings, Barry Kornblau argues, we must understand this presupposition of intimacy:

A korban shlamim (a “perfected peace offering”) . . . represents the Torah’s ideal of meat consumption: public for all to see; during the day when all can see; holy place, holy priests; fostering an immediate eater/animal connection at the time of slaughter; great attention to the animal’s blood life-force; sharing the meal with God. . . . Reflecting the natural human familiarity with animals of a bygone era, . . . the Torah assumes our ability to look our meal in the eye, slaughter it fully aware of the gravity of taking an animal life, and then eat it. It prefers, indeed, that such slaughter take place in broad daylight, in public, with the owner’s hands on his meal as he utters praises of God, and in as sanctified a manner possible.

Although such a method is not, alas, presently required of us in the absence of the Temple, I nonetheless believe that . . . Jews who eat meat “amidst wealth and plenty” and enjoy high educational levels have a special obligation to look past the Styrofoam and plastic in which we buy meat and eggs.

Read more at Torah Musings

More about: Judaism, Leviticus, Sacrifice, Vegetarianism

The Diplomatic Goals of Benjamin Netanyahu’s Visit to the U.S.

Yesterday, the Israeli prime minister arrived in the U.S., and he plans to address a joint session of Congress on Wednesday, but it remains uncertain whether he will meet with President Biden. Nonetheless, Amit Yagur urges Benjamin Netanyahu to use the trip for ordinary as well as public diplomacy—“assuming,” Yagur writes, “there is someone to talk to in the politically turbulent U.S.” He argues that the first priority should be discussing how to keep Iran from getting nuclear weapons. But there are other issues to tackle as well:

From the American perspective, as long as Hamas is not the official ruler in the Gaza Strip, any solution agreed upon is good. For Israel, however, it is quite clear that if Hamas remains a legitimate power factor, even if it does not head the leadership in Gaza, sooner or later, Gaza will reach the Hizballah model in Lebanon. To clarify, this means that Hamas is the actual ruler of the Strip, and sooner or later, we will see a [return] of its military capabilities as well as its actual control over the population. . . .

The UN aid organization UNRWA . . . served as a platform for Hamas terrorist elements to establish, disguise, and use UN infrastructure for terrorism. This is beside the fact that UNRWA essentially perpetuates the conflict rather than helps resolve it. How do we remove the UN and UNRWA from the “day after” equation? Can the American aid organization USAID step into UNRWA’s shoes, and what assistance can the U.S. provide to Israel in re-freezing donor-country contributions to UNRWA?

Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Gaza War 2023, U.S.-Israel relationship