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Jewish Humane Education Kit Backup Material:
Stories from the Bible and from Jewish Tradition





Backup Material: Contents

Lesson I Backup

Lesson II Backup

Lesson III Backup

Lesson IV Backup

Lesson V & VI Backup

Lesson VII Backup

Lesson VIII Backup

Lesson IX Backup



Judaism & Animals




Click on each lesson below to access the stories.


Lesson I — Backup Material

Jewish tradition embodies the view that good and wise treatment of the animals in our care is so important that it indicates good character and even demonstrates that the person is worthy of being in a position of national responsibility and leadership. Thus, the truly great Jewish heroes of the Bible were trained for their tasks by being shepherds of flocks. They were chosen as leaders of their people because of the kindness they showed to the animals in their care.


Lesson II — Backup Material

Judaism recognizes that animals feel physical pain, and we are forbidden to inflict it.


Lesson III — Backup Material

Judaism recognizes that animals experience emotional pain, and we are forbidden to inflict it.


Lesson IV — Backup Material

Judaism recognizes that animals have parental feelings toward their young and feel emotional pain when their young are harassed, threatened, or hurt. Inflicting such pain is forbidden.


Lesson V — Backup Material

Jewish tradition doesn't just require that we not inflict pain on animals, it requires positive actions toward the animals in our care.


Lesson VI — Backup Material

For Lesson VI, see Backup Material for Lesson V  (Note: Lesson VI is an extension of Lesson V)

Given that animals feel physical and emotional pain (Lessons II and III) and that we have responsibilities toward them (Lesson V) — how should we take care of our companion animals and the animals who help us in our work, according to Jewish tradition?


Lesson VII — Backup Material

We also have responsibilities toward animals we encounter, to prevent their pain (law of helping an overburdened donkey), hunger and thirst (Rabbi Leib), abandonment (Rabbi Salanter), and emotional suffering (Rabbi Zusya).


Lesson VIII — Backup Material

Jewish tradition includes the mitzvah of bal tashchit (do not destroy). Animals are not hefker (expendable, lacking in intrinsic value) to be abused with impunity.


Lesson IX — Backup Material

Shabbat is regarded as a foretaste of the Messianic Age. The Messianic Age will restore the original harmony between human and nonhuman animals. Requiring people to let their nonhuman animals rest on Shabbat creates a consciousness that the Messianic Age will also be one of peace between human and nonhuman animals as well as between nations.


Lesson X — Backup Material (To Be Supplied)

Jews developed, in centuries of living in the Galut (Diaspora), an acute understanding of what it means to be hefker (Lesson VIII) — to be hunted, captured, penned up in ghettos, subject to the power of others. Instead of passing on their pain to animals, the ideal is to transfer their understanding and compassion to animals.



All the illustrations in this backup material were especially designed by Saija Turunen for CHAI and are protected by copyright.