Kli Yakar Genesis: Toldot
Beware the Carnivore
This is difficult for me to write. I like meat. There are few morally and legally permissible pleasures that are as savory as the smell of freshly grilled meat. However the Kli Yakar seems to frown on the practice.
Last year I wrote how the Hizkuni gives us a carte blanche on the consumption of (kosher) meat (see Carnivores Unite! piece). The Kli Yakar on the other hand seems to have had clear vegetarian inclinations.
He starts with an analysis of Isaac requesting meat from Esau for the blessing (Genesis 27:3). He claims that the eating of meat was a rarity, reserved for holidays and special occasions. He then explains what is wrong with the regular consumption of the dead flesh of animals.
Only predatory animals eat meat. Predatory animals have the traits of savagery, viciousness and callousness to the loss of life. The Kli Yakar argues that if we eat too much meat, we may also develop such traits.
He then quotes the prophet Isaiah, who predicts that in the End of Days, the very nature of the world may change and we may all, predators included, no longer seek meat:
“And the lion as the cattle shall eat straw.” Isaiah 11:7. For there shall be peace in the world amongst all creatures. Kli Yakar Genesis 27:3.
May we enjoy our steaks when and where appropriate and perhaps cut down on the cholesterol.
To all my vegetarian friends. I think you’re on to something, and respect you for your restraint. (I’m still going to Burger’s Bar though, while I can.)