Rav Weissmandel – Humanitarian and Environmentalist

Rabbi Avraham Meir Israel relates this fascinating anecdote1:

[זה] כעשרים שנה ששמעתי מפי הגאון הצדיק רבי מיכאל בער ווייסמאנדעל זצ”ל מנייטרא, שנפגשתי אתו על הרכבת, ומבעד החלון הראה לי פרות רועות באחו, שרצו הנה והנה ברצוא ושוב ממקום למקום, שלא כדרך הרועות, לצעד לאיטן צעד אחר צעד, והסביר לי סיבת אי שקטותן, שהוא מחמת עצבון שבהן, על שמונעים מהן תאותן הטבעית אחר הזכרים, וחיים בעיצבון ואי נוחיות, ואחר כך הביע את דעתו שאולי משום זה נתרבה בימינו העצבניות בעולם, על ששותין את החלב של הפרות העצבניות, ע”כ, ואם קבלה היא נקבל

As the scientists say, more research is called for; what sorts of physical differences are there between the milks of cows that are and aren’t allowed to mate? Do we find a statistically significant correlation between milk consumption and depression?

  1. שו”ת ויען אברהם חלק א’ חו”מ סימן ה []

One thought on “Rav Weissmandel – Humanitarian and Environmentalist”

  1. Once again, thanks for a great blog.

    The notion that what a person eats affects his temperament is common in rabbinic writing. For example, Sefer HaIkarim (3.15) writes that the following reason why killing animals for consumption was prohibited in the anti-diluvium world: “In the killing of animals there is cruelty, rage, and the accustoming oneself to the bad habit of shedding innocent blood. Moreover, eating the meat of certain animals produces in man coarseness, ugliness, and numbness of the soul.”

    Parenthetically, the notion that there is the possibility of depression among animals is fascinating. It reminds me of the comments of Ramban (Gen. 1.28) regarding the above topic:

    “The reason behind the initial prohibition against eating meat was that creatures possessing a moving soul have a certain superiority as regards their soul, resembling in a way those who possess the rational soul: they have the power of choice affecting their welfare and their food and they flee from pain and death…”

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