Lamb’s Blood Aside, Passover is the Perfect Time to Go Vegan

You might assume that The Beet-Eating Heeb dreads Passover.

After all, the very name of the holiday relates to the smearing of lamb’s blood on the doorposts of the Hebrews.

It would be one thing if the lambs had willingly donated a pint or two at the local blood bank. We all know that’s not how it happened.

Furthermore, the Ashkenazic prohibition on eating legumes (which is pointless) really limits The Beet-Eating Heeb’s diet. This means eating even more beets than usual. Not such a bad thing, but he really misses lentils.

Believe it or not, though, BEH looks forward to Pesach every year as a holiday whose main spiritual themes intersect with veganism.

You might find that to be quite a stretch, especially if your mother is making her brisket for the Seder again this year.

But hear BEH out.

Without further fanfare, or actually any fanfare, The Beet-Eating Heeb presents:

The Top 3 Reasons Passover is a Vegan Holiday

  1. At Passover, we celebrate our freedom, our deliverance from slavery.

It seems like a good time to abstain from meat, dairy and eggs, since the animals from which those products are derived are treated like slaves, or worse.

Actually, anthropologically speaking, the very motif of slavery comes from animal agriculture. (This may be the most intellectual sentence BEH has ever written.)

Allow The Beet-Eating Heeb to translate.Chickens-Passover

Buying and selling living beings, binding them with chains, and branding them with hot irons are all actions that we associate with slavery. And these are all actions that originated in animal agriculture.

In modern factory farming, what animals experience is even worse than slavery. BEH will spare you the details this time around. But suffice it to say, during Passover, it would be a little hypocritical to celebrate our freedom while participating in the confinement, mutilation and killing of other sentient, soulful beings.

  1. At Passover, we seek to free ourselves from our own personal mitzrayim, our bad habits.

And meat-eating is a very bad habit. Bad for your health. Bad for the planet. And very bad for the animal involved.

Pesach provides the perfect opportunity to make changes in our lives. Reducing or eliminating animal products from your diet is one of the best changes you can make.

  1. Humility.

Why do we eat matzah, the bread of affliction?

It’s not because we enjoy the feeling of constipation. (A feeling vegans rarely get, by the way.)

Matzo-recipesIt’s because, spiritually, matzah is humble. It is unleavened. It has not risen.

We rid our homes of chametz and we eat matzah to remind ourselves to remain humble.

The whole concept of killing animals for food is based on the misguided notion that we are far superior to our furry and feathered friends.

The rabbis of the Talmud realized that humans would have a tendency to be anthropocentric. (BEH is on a roll.) Yes, anthropocentric. Look it up, if you have to.

Those rabbis found many ways to make the point that if human beings are superior by animals, it’s not by much. Take, for instance, the mitzvah of feeding your animals before you feed yourself. That’s humility, baby.

So, you see, The Beet-Eating Heeb has good reason to engage in vegan advocacy, right there at his Seder table.

If we take the spiritual significance of Passover seriously, then we must consider going veg.

About The Beet-Eating Heeb

I'm a meat-abstaining Jew who believes our religion commands us to treat our bodies with care, to treat animals with compassion, and to treat our planet like it's the only one we've got.

Posted on April 11, 2014, in Factory Farming / Animal Cruelty, Torah/Bible and Veganism and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I love this artical. Thank you and. GOD BLESS!!

  2. my LTE on Exodus fast forwarded;

    Dear Editor,

    A brief interview on Southern California Public Radio, March 20, with Jeffery
    Masson, author of the books, Why Elephants Weep, The Pig Who Sang at the Moon,
    Dogs Never Lie About Love, and most recently, Beasts, talks about the advent of
    slavery; how we first learned to use brute force against humans, stemming from
    domesticating animals. This short interview confirms my understanding that the
    ancient struggle for freedom from bondage and violence, a struggle we will
    remember on Passover, (Easter as well as it was brute force that enabled the
    capture and crucifixion of Jesus) is ongoing because we are largely unaware of
    its roots.

    Whether looking at the behavior that enabled Pharaoh’s domination of Jewish
    slaves, white settlers (glorified as pioneers) who, using force, stole land from
    native Americans, white slave holders who used force to dominate and enslave
    blacks, or Nazi’s who used violence and force to exterminate Jews , we are
    looking at the same mind set that might makes right, handed down since the
    advent of human domestication of animals to exploit them for their flesh, skin,
    fur, eggs, milk, children…The link is well worth the twelve minutes it takes
    to listen.—domesticating-animals-caused

    This Passover, as I recall the story of Exodus,the story of oppression to
    freedom, and note that most people will be consuming other beings who, like
    ancient Jews, were forced, against their will, into bondage, slavery and
    ultimately, to death, ( Easter as well since millions of sentient pigs and lambs
    will die in the name of Jesus who taught mercy ) I will dip my finger into the
    wine to recall the ten plagues Gd sent to Egypt in order to warn them that their
    behaviors were unacceptable. I will be mindful of how little the hearts of
    humankind have changed, and how power is still used to cause harm. Today,the
    Pharaoh’s are dressed in fine clothing, have cell phones attached to their ears,
    and military might at their disposal.
    As I recite the ten plagues, I will have in mind our current plagues due to
    our behavior; Cancer, heart disease, greed, pollution, marine ecocide, global
    injustices, inequality,food insecurity, drought, war.

    I will be mourning human and animal suffering that has been ingrained in our
    history, since we first learned to make slaves of animals, then slaves of
    people, then slaves of economic systems. It has been said that peace begins on
    the plate. I believe it.

    NOAH was chosen for a reason.

    Laura Slitt

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