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Too many stray cats...I believe Torah's view on spaying and neutering should be changed?

by Rabbi Shlomo Chein

  

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Question:


I can understand where you are coming from with the Torah stating that it is not right to spay or neuter animals. However, there are millions of animals who are running around the streets with no homes and no one to love them at all. Cats go into heat every month therefore they get pregnant and need I repeat myself there are too many unwanted, unloved animals and no one to take care of them. I disagree with the torah on this one and changes must be made here.


Answer:


I can understand where you are coming from with your compassion towards animals. As a matter of fact, the Torah is proud of you because you are concerned about animals. I disagree with your notion/suggestion that changes must be made to the Torah.


The Torah is supposed to mold our lives; we are not supposed to mold the Torah
Now, let me ask you a question: say we were to change this law because YOU feel it is wrong. What about those who feel that homosexuality shouldn't be prohibited? What about those who feel adultery and/or incest should be allowed? What about those who think it would be a good idea to eat on Yom Kippur? Or how about those who dislike circumcision?


You see, the Torah is supposed to mold our lives; we are not supposed to mold the Torah.


We come and go. Our understanding of issues vary from year to year and era to era. But G-d is eternal and His Torah is unchanging.


When we see things differently than the Torah it is our perspective that needs further education, not the Torah.


[Ed. note: Also read "Is it permitted to neuter or spay a pet?"]


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COMMENTS

In response to spaying/neutering comment

Posted by: Anonymous on Dec 30, 2006

I understand your answer saying that Torah's truth is timeless and should not be changed. But comparing the issue of spaying and neutering and its connecttion to defenseless and homeless animals who live on the streets because their parents were not spayed/neutered should not be compared to the issue of incest, adultery or anything else you mentioned. That is like comparing apples to oranges. Please come up with a better rationale or tell us what the Torah says should be done about those animals.

Editor's Comment

Rabbi Chein responds: They are indeed different Commandments, but they come from the same Commander. The reason why the Torah can't be changed is not because of the character of its particular instructions, but because of the divinity of its instructor: G-d. The issue being addressed was not how to solve the homeless animal problem. I am not an expert in this field, and whilst I hope the experts are working on a solution, I currently don't have one. My response in this article was merely to the question/notion that the Torah should be changed. And the Torah can't be changed, even when we don't know of another solution.
Torah
Torah is G–d’s teaching to man. In general terms, we refer to the Five Books of Moses as “The Torah.” But in truth, all Jewish beliefs and laws are part of the Torah.
Yom Kippur
Day of Atonement. This late-autumn high-holiday is the holiest day of the year. We devote this day to repentance and all healthy adults are required to fast.
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.