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Does wearing tefillin constitute animal abuse?

by Rabbi Shlomo Chein

  

Library » Miscellaneous » Animals/Pets | Subscribe | What is RSS?


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To the naked eye and uneducated mind an operating room is a barbaric torture chamber.

To those who know that life itself is the human’s number one priority, and that amputating a leg can save life, the operating room is a miracle haven, a chamber of extraordinary kindness.

In a world which happened by accident, where due to a cosmic stroke of luck there are many trillions of individual particles floating through space, making a box out of animal skin would indeed be cruel. As a matter of fact, picking an apple off a tree would also be cruel.

Fortunate is the mineral that nourishes the blade of grass, which feeds the animal, which is lucky enough to donate its hide for tefillin, which is donned by a Jew, who is dedicating his precious morning time to serve G-d
But if the world was created for a purpose, and that purpose is to serve G-d, then the definition of kindness is any act which advances that purpose, and cruelty is hindering that purpose.

Fortunate is the mineral that nourishes the blade of grass, which feeds the animal, which is lucky enough to donate its hide for Tefillin, which is donned by a Jew, who is dedicating his precious morning time to serve G-d.

It is difficult, it requires investment and commitment from all involved, but it is a beautiful act and all its producers are happy.

Of course if someone doesn't know all this about creation he thinks I am insane at best and a monster at worse. But then again, someone who doesn't know the miracle of modern science and medicine thinks a doctor in an operating room is a modern day Frankenstein.

The initial shock experienced by the uneducated man when he sees the physician's knife is a positive thing. If he weren't shocked I would be concerned. But the solution to the shock is obviously not to stop the doctor, but rather to educate the observer.1

Footnotes

  • 1. It should also be pointed out that the manufacturing of tefillin does not necessitate the killing of an animal (although the argument presented above would remain cogent even if it would be necessary). Tefillin can be produced from hides of (kosher) animals which have died of natural causes.

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RELATED CATEGORIES

Mitzvot » Tefillin
Life Cycle » Bar/Bat Mitzvah » Tefillin

Tefillin
Black leather boxes containing small scrolls with passages of the Bible written on them. Every day, aside for Sabbath and Jewish holidays, the adult Jewish male is required to wrap the Tefillin--by means of black leather straps--around the weaker arm and atop the forehead.
G-d
It is forbidden to erase or deface the name of G-d. It is therefore customary to insert a dash in middle of G-d's name, allowing us to erase or discard the paper it is written on if necessary.