Can a frum person be a vegetarian if he wishes?
It depends. If a person is a vegetarian because on principle he thinks that it’s wrong to slaughter animals, then he’s an apikoris and he doesn’t belong to the Jewish people. Anybody who goes overboard for animals shows that he doesn’t have Torah in his mind. He’s lacking a Torah mind.
People who think of dogs as companions?! I was once walking on the street and I saw a couple who were saying farewell to their parents, so he kissed his parents goodbye, and then he kissed his parent’s dog goodbye too. These are dogs; they are beheimos! You don’t kiss a dog goodbye.
Here’s a man who is enamored with horses. He can tell you all about horses. It’s a waste of a mind. Some people are enamored with birds. Birds! The Audubon Society, ah! It’s a sign of an aristocrat; you’re an intellectual, you’re a liberal, if you belong to the Audubon Society. Love birds, and write letters to the New York Times protesting about the mistreatment of pigeons, and so on. All this artificial baloney is a sign that a person’s mind has become corrupted by garbage.
We also love birds. We love birds when they’re served, let’s say, as roasted chicken. We love those kind of birds. We want chickens to increase and multiply; why not? We want pigeons to increase. Pigeons are also delectable to eat. Did you ever eat a roasted pigeon? It tastes good too. It’s a kosher bird; why not?
But just to be interested in birds for the sake of birds, because of an artificial interest in something that’s far away from Torah attitudes, that’s nothing. I’m not saying it’s a big sin, but it’s silly as can be, and it’s certainly not a Torah attitude. When a person has pity on animals because he thinks it’s wrong to slaughter them for human consumption, then of course, that person is against the Torah.
Now, if a person feels that it’s better for his health to be a vegetarian, that’s something else. We have no quarrel with him. It doesn’t mean that he’s right, but still, we’re not interested in quarreling with him about that.
TAPE # 627