Orthodox Judaism/Daniel's experiment
QUESTION: (Daniel 1.12) I was struck by Daniel's vegetable eating test.Is this the first recorded scientific experiment?
(1) Is vegetarianism a viable option for Jews?
(2) When did animals become divided into clean and unclean and why? At the beginning they all seemed to be created good.
ANSWER: Hi Laurence.
Actually according to our tradition, this wasn't a scientific experiment at all.
Daniel did not want to eat non kosher meat. His handler was scared to defy the king's express command to feed him meat. So Daniel reassured him that the king would not find out, because he will (miraculously)look just as healthy and fit as the other (meat-eating) children. He agreed to a ten day testing period to see if indeed Daniel's claim will pan out. It did. Nothing scientific here - just testing whether the miracle will indeed come to pass.
1)Re vegetarianism as a viable option, it would depend on the motivation. For health reasons, well, yes it can work. Otherwise, saying that we don't have the "right" to eat meat, is clearly against Torah principles.
2)The Torah expressly enumerates the various animals that are considered spiritually good for you. The others are considered spiritually harmful to our souls. They were always so. This isn't about good or bad but rather which foods can advance you spiritually and which foods will damage your spiritual receptors. The Torah is the blueprint for a spiritual way of life and in it God clearly demarcates actions that will make you more spiritual or less spiritual.
Hope this helps!
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: Dear Tzvi, Thank you for taking time to answer my questions. I guess if you believe in miracles then there can be no further discussion!
As to vegetarianism, I never said anything about "the right to eat meat". My partner is a vegetarian and so I have been following her example and in the last five years I have found that my blood pressure has returned to normal and so do not need medication now.
It struck me that the laws in the Old Testament are so sensitive about blood that it would be better to stop spilling it and getting the lawyers so worried about who eats it or where it ends up.
I am afraid your answer to (2) will remain a mystery to me - "spiritually harmful to our souls?", as I believe all animals are related through evolution. The way evolution unifies all animals seems to me to carry a far more beautiful "spiritual" enlightenment than the Torah's incomprehensible divisions.
It is wonderful that your blood pressure went down!
Keep up the healthy lifestyle.
Regarding spirituality, as a believer and follower of the Torah I'm afraid it isn't up to me to decide whether something carries a beautiful spiritual enlightenment or not. If you believe in the divinity of the Torah then you believe that God created all animals for a distinct purpose. And He identified which animals' consumption is spirituality good for you or not.
If you don't believe in the divinity of the Torah then there is no purpose in this dialogue.
I am not here to convince anyone what to believe.
Just to explain what the Torah says!
Take care Laurence and keep up the healthy lifestyle!