ISAAC BASHEVIS SINGER THE SLAUGHTERER PDF

Yoineh Meir should have become the Kolomir rabbi, but the Kuzmir Hassidim opposed him and installed a rabbi of their own. In order not to leave Yoineh Meir without a source of earnings for his family, he is appointed the town's ritual slaughterer, though he cannot bear the sight of blood. A pious man, he bears in mind that Man may not be more compassionate than the Almighty, the source of all compassion, and begins to study the laws of slaughter. Yet, Yoineh Heir's horror, fright and repulsion do not abate with time, as he had hoped, and he finds no consolation even in religion.

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Singer was an outstanding writer of Yiddish stories. He received the Nobel Prize for Literature in He was a staunch vegetarian for his last 35 years, primarily because of compassion for animals. He was fond of saying that he was a vegetarian for health reasons - the health of the chicken. He frequently included vegetarian themes in his stories. In his short story, "The Slaughterer", he described the anguish that an appointed slaughterer had trying to reconcile his compassion for animals with his job of slaughtering animals.

He felt that the eating of meat was a denial of all ideals and all religions: "How can we speak of right and justice if we take an innocent creature and shed its blood". According to this logic, we should not try to prevent people from murdering other people, since this has also been done since the earliest of times.

Even in the worm that crawls in the earth there glows a divine spark. When you slaughter a creature, you slaughter God. As often as Herman had witnessed the slaughter of animals and fish, he always had the same thought: In their behavior toward creatures, all men were Nazis. The smugness with which man could do with other species as he pleased exemplified the most extreme racist theories, the principle that might is right.

They have convinced themselves that man, the worst transgressor of all the species, is the crown of creation. All other creatures were created merely to provide him with food, pelts, to be tormented, exterminated.

In relation to them, all people are Nazis; for the animals it is an eternal Treblinka. Why is one born? Why does one suffer? In my case, the suffering of animals also makes me very sad. I'm a vegetarian, you know. When I see how little attention people pay to animals, and how easily they make peace with man being allowed to do with animals whatever he wants because he keeps a knife or a gun, it gives me a feeling of misery and sometimes anger with the Almighty.

I say "Do you need your glory to be connected with so much suffering of creatures without glory, just innocent creatures who would like to pass a few year's in peace? I would say that all life is asking: "What am I doing here?

Only a few years ago millions of Russian peasants starved to death just because Stalin decided to establish collectives. I could never forget the cruelties perpetrated upon God's creatures in slaughterhouses, on hunts, and in various scientific laboratories. The same is true about vegetarianism We find very few people who have never thought that killing animals is actually murder, founded on the premise that might is right.

I will call it the eternal question: What gives man the right to kill an animal often torture it, so that he can fill his belly with its flesh. We know now, as we have always known instinctively, that animals can suffer as much as human beings. Various philosophers and religious leaders tried to convince their disciples and followers that animals are nothing more than machines without a soul, without feelings.

However, anyone who has ever lived with an animal be it a dog, a bird or even a mouse - knows that this theory is a brazen lie, invented to justify cruelty. The only justification for killing animals is the fact that man can keep a knife or an axe in his hands and is shrewd enough and selfish enough to do slaughter for what he thinks is his own good.

The Old Testament has many passages where the passion for meat is considered to be evil. According to the Bible, it was only a compromise with so-called human nature that God had allowed people to eat meat. I'm often astonished when I read about highly sensitive poets, preachers of morality, humanists and do-gooders of all kinds who found pleasure in hunting - chasing after some poor, weak hare or fox and teaching dogs to do likewise.

I often read of people who say that when they retire they will go fishing. They say this with an understanding that from then on they won't do any damage to anybody.

An epoch of charity and tranquility will begin in their life. It never occurs to them for a moment that innocent beings will suffer and die from this innocent little sport.

I personally am very pessimistic about the hope that humanity's disregard for animals will end soon. I'm sometimes afraid that we are approaching an epoch when the hunting of human beings may become a sport. But it is good that there are some people who express a deep protest against the killing and torturing of the helpless, playing with their fear of death, enjoying their misery. Even if God or nature sides with the killers, the vegetarian is saying: I protest the ways of God and man. We may admire God's wisdom but we are not obliged to praise what seems to us His lack of mercy.

It may be that somewhere the Almighty has an answer for what He is doing. It may be that one day we shall grasp His answer. But as long as we don't understand it, we shouldn't agree and we shouldn't flatter Him.

There is ouly one little step from killing animals to creating gas chambers a la Hitler and concentration camps a la Stalin. There will be no justice as long as man will stand with a knife or with a gun and destroy those who are weaker than he is. Preface - by Isaac Bashevis Singer Vegetarianism is my religion.

I became a consistent vegetarian some twenty-three years ago. Before that, I would try over and over again. But it was sporadic. Finally, in the mids, I made up my mind.

And I've been a vegetarian ever since. When a human kills an animal for food, he is neglecting his own hunger for justice. Man prays for mercy, but is unwilling to extend it to others. Why should man then expect mercy from God? It's unfair to expect something that you are not willing to give. It is inconsistent. I can never accept inconsistency or injustice. Even if it comes from God. If there would come a voice from God saying, "I'm against vegetarianism! In orthodox religious circles, this would be considered heretical.

Still, I consider myself a religious man. I'm not against organized religion, but I don't take part in it. Especially when they interpret their religious books as being in favor of meat-eating.

Sometimes they say He wants sacrifice and the killing of animals. If this is true, then I would never be able to comply. But I think God is wiser and more merciful than that. And there are interpretations of religious scriptures which support this, saying that vegetarianism is a very high ideal. Whether the mass of people accept the vegetarian interpretation of religion or not really doesn't matter.

At least not in my life. I accept it implicitly. Of course, it would be wonderful if the world adopted vegetarianism, on religious grounds or any other.

But this is not likely. I am a skeptic, it's true, but I'm also realistic. In any event, what the people in general do will not affect me. I will continue to be a vegetarian even if the whole world started to eat meat. This is my protest against the conduct of the world. To be a vegetarian is to disagree -- to disagree with the course of things today. Nuclear power, starvation, cruelty -- we must make a statement against these things. Vegetarianism is my statement. And I think it's a strong one.

Author Steven Rosen makes a similar statement in his book. And although I do not necessarily agree with everything he says, point for point, I do find his work fascinating and convincing. He correctly points out that various philosophers and religious leaders have tried to convince their following that animals are nothing more than machines, put on earth for our pleasure, with no purpose of their own.

Rosen smashes this idea, however, and every reader who is predisposed to the vegetarian ideal will enjoy his logic and reason in doing this. Copyright Isaac Bashevis Singer.

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Isaac Bashevis Singer

Singer was an outstanding writer of Yiddish stories. He received the Nobel Prize for Literature in He was a staunch vegetarian for his last 35 years, primarily because of compassion for animals. He was fond of saying that he was a vegetarian for health reasons - the health of the chicken. He frequently included vegetarian themes in his stories. In his short story, "The Slaughterer", he described the anguish that an appointed slaughterer had trying to reconcile his compassion for animals with his job of slaughtering animals.

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The Slaughterer

He was also awarded two U. Isaac Bashevis Singer was born in in Leoncin village near Warsaw , capital of Congress Poland in the Russian Empire - lands that were a part of the Russian partition territories of the former Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. A few years later, the family moved to a nearby Polish town of Radzymin. The exact date of his birth is uncertain, but most probably it was November 11 a date similar to the one that Singer gave both to his official biographer Paul Kresh, [7] his secretary Dvorah Telushkin, [8] and Rabbi William Berkowitz. The often-quoted birth date, July 14, was made up by the author in his youth, most probably to make himself younger to avoid the draft.

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