Plant-based Nutrition  -  Fasting  
Optimizing Healing for Degenerative Diseases  

Biblical Nutrition and Scripture

 
The following are two sections from the book: 
    Biblical Nutrition 



Meditation #4

  The First Law of Kosher 
                                        
“The first law of kashrut, of kosher is, in fact,
the commandment to be raw vegan:
“I give you every seed-bearing plant that is upon all the earth
and every tree that has seed-bearing fruit;
these shall be yours for food.”            Gen 1.29 
“I brought you to a fertile land to eat of the choicest fruit.  As soon as
you came you defiled my land and dishonored my heritage!”                    Jer 2:7  
“Do not follow the majority when they do evil...”        Ex 23:2 
 “There is a way that some think right, but it leads in the end to death.”     Pr 16.25

In the account of creation people are to be the image of God                 Gen 1:26
we are to be holy as God is Holy                                                           Lev 19:2
and we are to walk in God’s ways                                                         Deut 10:12 
“After the Lord your God you shall walk.”                                             Deut 13:5  

Eating meat was a concession on God’s part,
“because of man, because his heart contrives evil from his infancy.”         Gn 8.21
A temporary concession because of human weakness.
Says Yahweh. I am sick of holocausts of rams and the fat of calves.
The blood of bulls and lambs and the goats revolts me. 
Bring me your worthless offerings no more,
the smoke of them fills me with disgust. 
If you are willing to obey, you shall eat the good things of the earth.”        Is 1:11,13,19 
Every seed-bearing plant and every tree that has seed-bearing fruit.        Gen 1.29                               

Man ought never to forget that meat-eating is but a temporary concession. 
The merciful God of Israel would never decree that man’s survival
should be eternally contingent upon butchering animals.
“Someone asked him, ‘Lord, will only a few people be saved?’ 
He answered them, ‘Strive to enter through the narrow gate,
for many, I tell you will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough.’”     Lk 13:22-30
“The time of judgment has come and it begins with God’s household.”          1 Pt 4:17
Today in the area of nutrition, 
 “My people are being destroyed from lack of knowledge.”                          Hos 4:6

            4.  The First Law of Kosher 

           Professor Roberta Kalechofsky Ph.D., points out that:  
“The first law of kashruth is, in fact, the commandment to be vegetarian: “I give you every seed-bearing plant that is upon all the earth and every tree that has seed-bearing fruit; these shall be yours for food.”               Genesis 1:29

 Later God expresses dislike of meat sacrifices. “What are your endless sacrifices to me?  Says Yahweh. I am sick of holocausts of rams and the fat of calves. The blood of bulls and lambs and the goats revolts me.  Bring me your worthless offerings no more, the smoke of them fills me with disgust.  If you are willing to obey, you shall eat the good things of the earth.”                                Isaiah 1:11,13,19

 The Jewish laws of Kosher go back to the Book of Leviticus.  Here we find that animal sacrifices were limited to the offerings of animals deemed fit for consumption.  Fit - kashar (from which word the terms kashrut and kosher are derived) - for the diet of a holy people are only those animals that are thorough herbivores, grazing animals, animals that “chew the cud.”  In other words vegetarian animals.  Kosher for a meat eating Jew involves a lot of rules and laws that involve meat preparation and eating.

 The laws of kashrut and those of shechitah (ritual slaughtering of animals for food) are a compromise between the ideal of vegetarianism and the lust of the flesh (carnivores).   Whereas kashrut is about having reverence for life and what one eats, when it is applied to killing an animal to eat the animal, it becomes a contradiction.  So the Jewish writers seem to try to rationalize this by trying to find the swiftest, most painless and humane way to kill an animal.  But this again is another contradiction since killing is not humane, and goes against the principles in the Torah.   

 God allowed people to eat meat as a concession, it seems that it was his permissive will not his perfect Holy Will.  “You may eat any animal that has a split hoof completely divided and that chews the cud.”   “Anything that has fins and scales, and lives in the water, whether in sea or river, you may eat.”  Lev. 11:3   Some birds were pronounced clean and there was a list of unclean animals not to be eaten.  Why would Yahweh proclaim this to His people about clean and unclean meat?

 God’s first preference is for humans not to eat meat, but man objects and demands to eat meat, thus God in his loving kindness and compassion, gives permission for man to eat meat.  But then in Leviticus and Deuteronomy, God sets up the sacrificial system and tells man only to eat certain types of meat and to avoid eating other types of meat.  Why?  Why would the Lord make the effort to tell his people to only eat certain types of meat?

 The first thing that is noticed upon going through the lists of clean and unclean animals is that the clean animals are all vegetarian types of animals (calf, deer, goat, ox, sheep, goose, chicken, duck, etc.) and the unclean animals are mostly meat eating or scavenger types of animals (bear, dog, fox, rat, swine, bat, eagle, hawk, vulture, etc.).
  
 A fascinating study by a researcher looking at Leviticus XI and Deuteronomy XIV, gives some scientific support for God’s wisdom.  “Much of the wisdom in the Divine Design for meats was confirmed by a 1953 study in which Dr. David Macht of Johns Hopkins University reported the toxic effects of animal flesh on a controlled growth culture.  A substance was classified as toxic if it slowed the culture’s growth rate below 75 percent.  In each case, the blood, of all the animals Dr. Macht tested showed up more toxic than the flesh.

“His results show that the lower the growth percentage of the culture, the more toxic the flesh.  Note that the flesh of animals and fish given to us by God for food are all nontoxic, but all forbidden animals lie in the toxic range.”    Furthermore, the toxic animals are all meat eaters, while the non-toxic animals are vegetarians!   Apparently the Jews understood the biochemistry of toxicity 3,500 years ago, or perhaps God knew this and was warning the Jews for their safety!

 Richard Schwartz, Ph.D. is one of the leading writers of a vegetarian Judaism. (Judaism and Vegetarianism) points out:  That the root of this problem goes back to the Jewish interpretation of the book of Leviticus.  Of the 613 commandments in the Torah, nearly half (247) are based upon Leviticus.  The Book of Leviticus is about the sacrificial system and animal slaughter and its related acts of worship.  The Jewish philosopher Abarbanel cites a Midrash which indicated that the Jews had become accustomed to sacrifices in Egypt.  Even though God tolerated the sacrifices, to wean them away from these idolatrous practices, they had to be offered in one central sanctuary:   “Thereupon the Holy One, blessed by He, said ‘Let them at all times offer their sacrifices before Me in the Tabernacle, and they will be weaned from idolatry, and thus saved.’”  
    
 Biblical commentator David Kimhi (1160-1235) noted that the sacrifices were voluntary and nowhere in the Ten Commandments is there any reference to sacrifice, and even when the sacrifices are first mentioned (Lev 1:2) the expression used is “when any man of you bringeth an offering”, literally “if”, implying that it was a voluntary act. 

 When Israelites were in the desert, the eating of unconsecrated meat for private consumption, without being first brought to the temple was not allowed.  The animals needed to be killed and eaten only as part of the sacrificial service in the
sanctuary.      Lev 17.3-5; Deut 1213-28. 

 Dr. Schwartz comments: The laws of kashrut can lead to a reverence for life.  Yet since the blood is the life of the body, Jews are forbidden to eat blood.  “For the life of the flesh is in the blood.”  Lev 17:11   By this verse alone some Jews may have been a vegetarian even during Passover.   “While most Jewish scholars assume that all Jews ate meat during the time that the Temple stood, it is significant that some (Tosafot, Yoma 3a, and Rabbeinu, Sukkah 42b) assert that even during the Temple period it was not an absolute requirement to eat meat.”   Some of the Jewish sects were vegetarians. 

 Back in the Old Testament times, as today, there were Jews who did not believe that it was necessary to eat meat as a requirement to celebrate Jewish festivals and the Sabbath day.  This is clearly noted in the Talmud (Pesachim 109a), which says since the destruction of the Temple, Jews need not eat meat on holidays; rejoicing with wine is sufficient.  A number of modern Rabbis, including Alfred Cohen, spiritual leader of the Young Israel of Canarsie and editor of The Journal of Halacha (Jewish Law) and Contemporary Society, J. David Bleich, a highly respected Torah scholar and professor at Yeshiva University, and Emanue J. Schochet, author of Animal Life in Jewish Tradition (1984), (to name a few) have stated that Jews do not have to eat meat, even on festivals and Sabbaths.  To reinforce this conclusion, there have been several Chief Rabbis have been strict vegetarians, including the present Chief Rabbi  of Haifa, Sha’ar Yashuv Cohen.   As Professor Schwartz, Ph.D. notes: “There is no contradiction between Judaism (and its dietary laws) and vegetarianism.  In fact, Jewish vegetarians argue that vegetarianism is the diet most consistent with the highest Jewish values.”    

 Richard Schwartz, Ph.D. further notes: After he asks the question; “Which Torah laws involve compassion for animals?” he gives a list of eleven scripture quotes.

1.   It is forbidden to cause pain to any animal:  
      “Wherefore have you smitten your ass?”                                             Num 22:32
2.   “You shall not muzzle the ox when he threshes the corn.”                  Deut 25:4
3.   “You shall not plow with an ox and an ass together.”                          Deut 22:10
4.   “A person should not eat or drink before providing for his animals.”  Deut 11:15
5.    Animals too must be able to rest on the Sabbath day:  “Remember the Sabbath day,
         to keep it holy.  Six days shall you labor, and do all your work; but the seventh day
         is a Sabbath unto the Lord, thy God, in it you shall not do any manner of work, you,
         nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your man-servant, nor your maid-servant, nor
         your cattle, nor the stranger that is within your gates.”                     Exod 20:8-10
6.   “It is forbidden to sacrifice a newborn ox, sheep, or goat until it has had at least seven
             days of warmth and nourishment from its mother.”                       Lev 22:27  
7.   “And whether it be ox or ewe, you shall not kill it and its young both in
             one day”                                                     Lev 22:28
8.   “We are forbidden to take the mother bird and its’ young together.  The mother bird
            must be sent away before its young are taken.”                              Deut 22:6-7
9.   “We should not boil a kid in the milk of its mother.”                           Ex 23:19, 34:26
10.   Animals should be relieved from suffering:  “If you see the ass of him that hates you
             lying under its burden, you shall surely not pass by him; you shall surely
             unload it with him.”                                                                        Ex 23:5
11.   We must be vigilant for the well-being of a lost animal:  “You shall not see your  
              brother’s ox or his sheep driven away and hide yourself from them; You
               shall surely bring them back to your brother.”                              Deut 22:1 
  
 Following God’s Laws and teachings were very important back in biblical times and today, and these laws are principles to be followed.   “Teach me, Oh Lord, the ways of your laws; and I will observe them to the utmost.”         Ps 119:33

 Roberta Kalechofsky Ph.D., author of Vegetarian Judaism, points out the four basic Jewish laws or tenets concerning vegetarianism.  “Only vegetarianism can fulfill Judaism’s four important tenets: that we guard our health (pikuach nefesh), tsedakah (charity), bal tashchit (not to destroy wantonly), and tsa’ar ba’alei chayim (not to cause sorrow to other creatures).   Vegetarianism dissolves the juggernaut in the paradox between our permission to eat meat and our belief in the justice and mercy of God.  Rabbi Kook, one of the greatest exponents of vegetarianism, taught “that man ought never to forget that meat-eating is but a temporary concession.  The merciful God of Israel would never decree that man’s survival should be eternally contingent upon butchering animals.” 

 Furthermore, there is the prohibition against eating dairy products with red meat in Scripture: Ex 23.19, 34.26; Deut 14.21.   Also, whole milk has fat;  “Say to the Israelites: Do not eat of any of the fat of cattle, sheep or goats.”  Lev 7:23

 “I brought you to a fertile land to eat of the choicest fruit.  As soon as you came you defiled my land and dishonored my heritage!”                                                                                  Jer 2:7  
“Do not follow the majority when they do evil...”                                                Ex 23:2 
“The time of judgment has come and it begins with God’s household.”               1 Pt 4:17
“There is a way that some think right, but it leads in the end to death.”                 Pr 16.25

In the account of creation people are to be the image of God                              Gen 1:26
we are to be holy as God is Holy                                                                        Lev 19:2
and we are to walk in God’s ways                                                                      Deut 10:12 
“After the Lord your God you shall walk.”                                                         Deut 13:5  

 Eating meat was a concession on God’s part, “because of man, because his heart contrives evil from his infancy.”  Gn 8.21   This was meant to be a temporary concession because of human weakness. 

 From a theological understanding, there are those things that are allowed or permissible by God, those things that he has made a concession on because of his great mercy and those things that God prefers for humans.  Thus there is God’s Permissible Will (because of his great mercy, He made a temporary concession in the Old Testament) and there is God’s Holy or Divine Will.  Thus the question would arise, does God have a preference for human diet?  And the answer is ‘yes’ God prefers that humans be vegetarian, this is His Divine Will, His Law as decreed in Scripture and natural law, and common sense!  But being a God of mercy he permits people to eat meat for a time, because of their human weaknesses, darkness of mind and lusts of the flesh. 

Today in the area of nutrition, 
 “My people are being destroyed from lack of knowledge.”    Hos 4:6  

 
Meditation #5
  The Biblical Jewish Vegetarians

The attitude of Yahweh to a plant-based diet is always positive and uplifting. 
“But Yahweh your God is bringing you into a prosperous land, a land of
streams and springs, of waters that well up from the deep in valleys
and hills, a land of wheat and barley, of vines, of figs,
of pomegranates, a land of olives, of oil, of honey...”                                     Deut 8:7,8

Meat is never included among the staple diet of the children of Israel,
which is confined to agricultural products, ‘grain and wine and oil’.                  Deut 11:14
God permitted the Jewish people to eat meat, but in the Torah,
God connects meat with uncontrolled dietary lust.                                            Deut 12:20

“The description of God’s anger, loathing, and contempt for this request for
meat is undisguised:  You have kept whining before the Lord and saying,   
‘If only we had meat to eat!  Indeed, we were better off in Egypt!’  The   
Lord will give you meat and you shall eat, until it comes out of your
nostrils and becomes loathesome to you.’  Thus Yahweh gave them meat
in the form of quail driven by the wind of the sea.  ‘The anger of Yahweh
blazed out against the people.  Yahweh struck them with a very great plague. 
The name given to this place was Kibroth-hattaavah  ‘The Graves
of Lust’, indicating the lust of the flesh which led to many deaths.”                     Num 11:18-33

The leader and revolutionary, “Judas Maccabaeus with about nine others,
withdrew into the wilderness, eating nothing but wild plants
to avoid contracting defilement.”                                                                        2 Macc 5:27 

“Daniel said ‘Please allow your servants a ten days’ trail, during
which we are given only vegetables to eat and water to drink. 
You can then compare our looks with those of the boys who
eat the king’s food, go by what you see, and treat your servants
accordingly.’  The man agreed when the ten days were over
they looked and were in better health than any of the boys
who had eaten their allowance from the royal table;
so the guard withdrew their allowance of rich foods and the wine
and gave them vegetables.  And God favored these four boys.
with knowledge and intelligence... The king conversed with them,
and among all the boys found none to equal
Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah.”                                                Dan 1.11-19

The fertile valley’s of Canna they were, “a good and spacious land,
a land flowing with milk and honey.”                                                        Ex 3:8
Happy those who hunger and thirst for what is healthy:
they shall be satisfied.                                                                              Matt 5:6

5.  The Biblical Jewish Vegetarians

 An early example of vegetarianism is found with Daniel and his three friends: Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah were Judaeans would not eat meat and the Kings delicacies.   For ten days (possibly longer) they were vegetarians and then they were presented to the king and “The king conversed with them, and among all the boys found none to equal Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah.”  Dan 1.19

 Daniel and his three friends: Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah were Judaeans.  For ten days they were vegetarians and then they were presented to the king and “The king conversed with them, and among all the boys found none to equal Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah.”  Dan 1.19   This is a clear instance in the Bible showing the superiority of a vegetarian diet over a meat centered diet.  And the book of Daniel is a major Prophetic work which relates to our own time and the end times.  The rich food of the kings table is similar to the rich food, the fast food, the junk food, and the questionable food of today.

The king of Babylon marched on Jerusalem and captured it.  Daniel and other boys were chosen to be trained into the kings ways for service to him.  Daniel did not want to defile himself by eating the food from the kings table but the chief eunuch was concerned that the boys would be thin and weak.  “At this Daniel turned to the guard whom the chief eunuch has assigned to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah.  He said ‘Please allow your servants a ten days’ trail, during which we are given only vegetables to eat and water to drink.  You can then compare our looks with those of the boys who eat the king’s food, go by what you see, and treat your servants accordingly.’  The man agreed to do what they asked and put them on ten days’ trial.  When the ten days were over they looked and were in better health than any of the boys who had eaten their allowance from the royal table; so the guard withdrew their allowance of food and the wine they were to drink, and gave them vegetables.  And God favored these four boys with knowledge and intelligence...”  Dn 1.11-17

 One of the first great leaders of vegetarianism was Judas Maccabee, the revolutionary.  In 167  BC:  “Judas, called Maccabaeus, however, with about nine others, withdrew into the wilderness and lived like wild animals in the hills with his companions, eating nothing but wild plants to avoid contracting defilement.”  2 Maccabees 5:27   Judas Maccabee was the primary leader behind the great Jewish national liberation struggle which is commemorated by the festival of Hanukkah, the rededication of the Temple.  Judas and his followers were the forerunners of other wilderness-dwelling, vegetable-eating persons, like John the Baptist. 

 In the Torah, God connects meat with uncontrolled dietary lust (Deut 12.20) yet God permitted the Jews to eat meat.  But vegetarian foods God looks upon with favor:  “But Yahweh your God is bringing you into a prosperous land, a land of streams and springs, of waters that well up from the deep in valleys and hills, a land of wheat and barley, of vines, of figs, of pomegranates, a land of olives, of oil, of honey...”  Deut 8.7,8.  The attitude of Yahweh to a vegetarian diet is always positive and uplifting.  Whereas, eating meat brings penalty, eating a vegetarian diet brings God’s blessings.

 “The Encyclopaedia Judaica notes that “meat is never included among the staple diet of the children of Israel, which is confined to agricultural products, of which the constantly recurring expression in the Bible is ‘grain and wine and oil’ (Deuteronomy 11:14) or the seven agricultural products enumerated in Deuteronomy 8:8.”   The concepts of the “good and fertile land,” a land blessed by God has no images of the abundance of meat for human consumption.  The rabbis point out that the eating of meat is often associated with gluttony, self indulgence, and disaster, as the event at Kibroth-hatavah foreshadows.  The description of God’s anger, loathing, and contempt for this request for meat is undisguised: 

‘Say to the people: Be ready for tomorrow and you shall eat meat, for you have kept whining before the Lord and saying, “If only we had meat to eat!  Indeed, we were better off in Egypt!”  The Lord will give you meat and you shall eat.  You shall eat not one day, not two, not even five days or ten, or twenty, but a whole month, until it comes out of your nostrils and becomes loathesome to you (Numbers 11:18-20).’

 Manna in the desert was another non-meat diet, it was a vegetarian food, “like coriander seed” Num 11.7.  For forty years the Israelites were fed in the desert on manna; “Behold!  I shall rain down for you food from heaven;...It is the bread which the Lord hath given you to eat.”  Exod 16.4,5.
 
 Yet the Children of Israel were not satisfied, “The foreign elements were overcome by greed, and the sons of Israel themselves began to wail again, ‘Who will give us meat to eat?’”   “The anger of Yahweh flared out, and Moses greatly worried over this.”  Thus Yahweh gave them meat in the form of quail driven by the wind of the sea.  “The meat was still between their teeth, not even chewed, when the anger of Yahweh blazed out against the people.  Yahweh struck them with a very great plague.  The name given to this place was Kibroth-hattaavah (‘The Graves of Lust’, indicating the lust of the flesh which led to many deaths.).   Num 11.4-33. 

 God did not want the Israelites to go back to the meat eating diet they had left in Egypt but some of “the foreign elements” (others slaves who left Egypt with the Jews) in Num 11.4, lusted for the meat and influenced the Israelites with this desire.  Thus God gave permission but with restrictions, as a concession to dietary lusts of a desiring people.

 Emotions are a strong motivation in the area of diet.   And emotions have been connected to the development of the Jewish culture over time in the Bible in one study.  The study analyzed the emotional content of the Old Testament over their evolution of a twelve century period.  Word frequency correlations were run and it was discovered that the basic emotion of ‘happiness’ was statistically significant.  “Our procedures led to the clear conclusion that happiness increased with time in the Hebrew Bible.”    And a key emotional term in the New Testament is ‘Joy’ or ‘Happiness’.   Thus the Jerusalem Bible translates the Beatitudes of Jesus using the word, Happy. 

 The diet of the Israelis would have improved after they settled down in the fertile valley’s of Canna.  It was called, “a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey” (Ex 3:8).   After living in this fertile valley they would have grown their own foods and lived a more peaceful, joyful life among the twelve tribes of  Israel.  With greater physical health usually comes happiness. 

 The Lamsa translation of the Holy Bible from the Aramaic of the Peshitta; the ancient Eastern text has a good insight into the translation of the verse explaining how it is easier for a camel to go through a needles eye then it is for a rich man to get into heaven.  The scholar George Lamsa points out that in ancient times as today the word ‘galma’ means both camel and rope.  When an Aramaic person was speaking they knew whether it meant a rope or a camel.  A similar example today would be the mouse on a computer versus the mouse the creature.

 Modern English translations, with our emphasis on right vs. wrong, politics, morality and justice yields this rendering for this verse: “Happy those who hunger and thirst for what is right: they shall be satisfied.”  (Matt 5:6, Jerusalem Bible)   The ancient Aramaic language, a very simple, earthy, practical language, probably had a different translation or two translations for this verse: “Happy those who hunger and thirst for what is healthy: they shall be satisfied.”  The word ‘healthy’ would be in line with ancient Jewish practice and theology as laid out in this work.

 “Whatever you eat, whatever you drink, whatever you do at all,
      do it for the glory of God.”       1 Cor 11.31.






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