Animals in Judaism

Judaism's attitude toward animals.

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Another theological problem in connection with animals, discussed particularly by Judah Halevi, is that of animal suffering: why nature is "red in tooth and claw." Although this is part of the more general question of suffering, of why God tolerates evil in His creation, the problem is especially acute with regard to animals who have no moral sense that might be refined and developed through suffering.

Halevi admits that it is hard to explain why animals should have to find their food by preying on one another. But in the very act of the spider spinning its web to catch the fly there is to be seen the wondrous wisdom of the Creator and faith must then sustain us in the belief that, in a way beyond our grasp, this same wisdom is benevolent and in the divine plan all is well and truly put.

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Rabbi Louis Jacobs

Rabbi Dr. Louis Jacobs (1920-2006) was a Masorti rabbi, the first leader of Masorti Judaism (also known as Conservative Judaism) in the United Kingdom, and a leading writer and thinker on Judaism.