A World Going Ape

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7 Responses

  1. ASC says:

    Why does the slippery slope always seem to slip away from the direction Rabbi Shafran decides? Perhaps the Great Ape folks have overstepped philosophically (not in their goals, I’d add), but isn’t there also a slippery slope when we treat all creatures as mere human property, when nature is viewed as mere expediency for human ends? When humans ignore the obvious pain of a fellow creature — creatures with complex social communities, creatures who suckle their young and protect them from danger — might not that lead to a general coarsening of our attitudes toward human life as well?

    Besides, just whom is he arguing against? Leona Helmsley is a target of ridicule because she gave her fortune to dogdom – it’s not as if there was a fervent “Amen” when the news was announced. That being said, the ASPCA and similar groups are slavering over the possibilities of Helmsley’s money, not because they degrade human life, but because they are right that humans often treat their animals cruelly and organizations like theirs have an important role to play.

    The irony here is that Agriprocessors more than suggests that the slippery slope is actually slick with the blood of slaughtered cows. The owners’ indifference to animal life seems indistinguishable from their indifference to their workers’ rights and well-being. It would be an interesting bit of halachic sociology to ask if what Shafran calls the “affirmation of the singularity of the human soul” extends in the mind of Agriprocessors Chabad owners to their non-Jewish workers and if they resist making the distinctions, heard in their teachings, between Jewish and non-Jewish souls.

  2. Bob Miller says:

    If the apes had any ability to get their act together, they would not be needing human advocates now after these many years.

  3. Benzion Chinn (www.izgad.blogspot.com) says:

    “No so, apes.”

    Not so, apes.

  4. Naftali Zvi says:

    ” Why should we consider any insect our inferior…”

    Rabbi Shafran is reminding us of the well known Midrash in parshas Tazria – “If you are worthy, you are at the head of the entire Creation; if you are unworthy, even the gnat has preceeded you.”

    What we see from all this is that we are either at one pole or the other. There is no neutral.

  5. Toby Katz says:

    The evil at the heart of the seemingly nonsensical formula equating apes with humans is that it equates humans with apes.

    Rabbi Shafran is so very right to worry about what humanity is capable of when it loses sight of the difference between human beings and animals.

  6. The Contarian says:

    It is a pity that the Nazis did not declare that the True Jews to be apes and killed 6 million simians instead of our kedoshim.

    I do not think my father’s entire family who died al Kidush Hashem would have been insulted.

  7. Sue Per Frumm says:

    Rabbi Shafran should be rejoicing. This enactment simply kashers
    those Jews who are descended from apes, as is mentioned in the Holy Qur’an!

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