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The Meat You Eat
by Prof. Yirmiyahu Branover

The average American consumes 64.9 pounds of beef per year. The amount of greenhouse gases emitted by a similar number of beef cattle is the equivalent of a car driving for 2,000 kilometers! Producing one kilogram of animal protein requires at least 10 kilograms of plant protein, which is far more expensive. The process of raising, slaughtering and processing cattle for beef also requires huge amounts of energy, produces toxic wastes and does great damage to the environment.

So why do we eat meat?

People did not always consume meat, certainly not to the extent that it is eaten today. Adam and his descendants were not permitted to eat meat and also did not require it in their diets. Only after ten generations, in the days of Noah, did G-d give mankind permission to kill animals for food.

The recent scientific and industrial revolutions have also affected the quality of our food supply. Food that was once natural and relatively simple has become a complex product with multiple artificial ingredients that our ancestors would never have dreamed of eating.

Our sages promise us that in the era of the Redemption, there will be a fundamental change in our entire relationship with food. The G-dly energy hidden within the body will be revealed, and the body will be sustained directly by its G-dly source. The soul will actually be sustained by the body. The energy that we now absorb only through consuming food will be available to us in a form that does not require us to eat animal protein....

The animals themselves will change as well. As the prophet Isaiah predicts, "A lion like a steer will eat hay." This phrase is not only a metaphor to a time when peace will rein between predator and prey, but is a prophecy that will be fulfilled literally. In the time of Redemption there will be universal peace, not only among men but in the animal kingdom as well. All opposing forces will cease their conflict with each other.

Even before Moshiach comes, this process will be set into motion. One place to start this process and prepare for the era of Moshiach is by strengthening our bond and unity with each other\. “Universal peace” is a fine catch-phrase, but it starts with peace in the home and peace in the community, among our own family, friends and acquaintances. Strengthening unity will remove one of the primary causes of exile, senseless hatred, and will usher in the final and complete Redemption.

Prof. Yirmiyahu Branover is chairman of the Center of Magnetohydrodynamic Studies and Training at Ben-Gurion University.



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