Rabbi Lior: Vegetarianism is Wrong


rabbi-dov-liorWhoever avoids eating meat or has chosen a vegetarian lifestyle for the sake of having mercy on animals is wrong, according to Rabbi Dov Lior, a prominent Religious Zionism halachic authority.

“We still are not compassionate towards people in our times, so having mercy on animals is irrelevant,” explained the rabbi. “Only when the world ascends spiritually and we have mercy on people will we be able to be vegetarians.”

 Rabbi Lior is serving as Kiryat Arba’s rabbi and is considered a prominent leader in the National Religious movement.

 Rabbi Lior addressed the issue in an article published in the “Gilui Da’at” pamphlets distributed at shuls. “There is no objecting to bringing korbanos (in the Bais Hamikdosh) on claims of cruelty to animals,” opened the author in reference to a central topic in the weekly parsha.

 He said, “When the Torah allowed the slaughter of animals for human consumption, it thus permitted slaughter for higher needs (for mitzvos).”

Regarding the Torah’s permission to kill animals in order to eat them, he wrote that Yidden can “raise up the mundane.”

 “When a person from Klal Yisroel eats, if he does so for a holy purpose, he sanctifies the material, something that does not exist among the nations of the world, for whom eating has no connection to holiness,” Rabbi Lior explained.

As an example, he mentioned the Chassidishe minhag of tasting a Rebbe’s leftovers.

Rabbi Lior believes that “the time has yet to come” for vegetarianism out of compassion for animals: “I remember when the Russians sent a dog to space there was an outcry about cruelty to animals. I wonder: How is it that when ships sink in Haifa we do not hear these cries? Rav Kook said about this that when the world ascends spiritually – we will be vegetarians.”

The non-profit organization Anonymous for Animal Rights said in response, “The short and impressive book by Rabbi Kook, ‘A Vision of Vegetarianism and Peace,’ is available for reading on the internet, and we are certain that whoever reads it not out of a clear interest of continuing to eat meat at any price will find a difference spirit presented than the one in Rabbi Lior’s statements.”

Israel’s Green Movement said that “Rabbi Lior’s response shows ignorance of the subject. Eating meat damages humans first and foremost and their ability to exist on the face of the earth. The environmental effect of the livestock economy is enormous and one of the major factors in the eradication of human’s life support systems. Raising animals for food is one of the factors with the largest effect on global warming, deforestation, soil erosion, and contaminated water sources.”

{Ynet/Yair Alpert-Matzav.com Israel}


  1. Rabbi Lior is only saying someone who is a vegetarian “for the sake of having mercy on animals is wrong”. His basic argument is that the Torah allows for it and therefore any claim that it is unethical is incorrect.

    The Green movement argued with him on a different point – the environmental cost that is damaging humans.

    This article’s title is misleading. Rabbi Lior is only talking about vegetarianism for one specific reason. He does not say that it is wrong to be a vegetarian for other reasons. Moreover, he brings up Rav Kook who says that one day we will all be spiritually high enough to be vegetarians. So it’s not that it’s always wrong – only if you do it for the reason of ethics, and only nowadays.

  2. “We still are not compassionate towards people in our times, so having mercy on animals is irrelevant…”

    This makes absolutely no sense. Any place in your life where you can have compassion will improve the world.

    After spending half a century watching my fellow Jews disregard how animals are treated and diving into meals with no thought other than feeding themselves, I’d say that the animals who died so they could fress weren’t elevated much.

  3. Does he not see the difference between sending one or two dogs into space for research and living on dead animals daily? Animals who were cruelly raised and even more cruelly killed?

  4. When the mikdash is rebuilt, even vegans will have to eat 45cc ( kzayit /olive’s bulk) worth of Goat or Sheep meat.

    -YUM! 🙂

    (other than that, unless you have a taaiva -desire- you do not have to eat meat whatsoever.)

    Happy Pesach /Passover!

    -Yisrael the Shochet who eats meat for breakfast.

  5. why is it sacrilegious if someone avoids meat for health reasons, or because they simply don’t care for it? true, the ethical argument is wrong, but there are many other reasons why people are vegetarian that have nothing to do with liberal sacrilegious values.

  6. why does Matzav report what the Green Movement says or what the Animal Rights says they are less then Zero compared to Rav Lior [Think Kovod Hatorah]these groups are the useful idiots of communists

  7. never heard anything more crazy or ridiculous than this. I for one have decided to extend compassion and humanity to ALL living breathing beings regardless.