You don’t need to unfurl the Torah scroll too much, or turn too many pages in your Bible, to find the foundational verses of religion-based vegetarianism.
It’s right there in the opening chapter of Genesis.
Discovering this changed The Beet-Eating Heeb’s life and the life of Wife of BEH, too.
Their discovery occurred on Rosh Hashanah morning, 5766, when The Beet-Eating Heebs were still meat-eating Heebs.
The morning’s service had plodded along for two hours or so when the Torah was taken from the Ark to be read. At this point, many of our fellow congregants weighed two options:
Head to the restroom and stay there for an extended period.
But BEH and Wife of BEH chose a third option: Actually pay attention.
When the Torah reader arrived at Verses 29 and 30 of the opening chapter, we did a double take. Here’s what it says:
And God said: ‘Behold, I have given you every herb yielding seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed–to you it shall be for food.
'and to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is a living soul, [I have given] every green herb for food.’ And it was so.
Every herb-yielding seed. The fruit. Every green herb. It seems filet mignon, chicken cordon bleu, and Thanksgiving turkey didn’t make the cut.
Wait. It gets better. Or very good, anyway.
In the very next verse, Genesis 1:31, it says:
And God saw every thing that He had made, and, behold, it was very good.
Not just good, mind you. Very good.
And that’s very significant.
G-d evaluates his creation seven times in the first chapter of Genesis. On the first six occasions, he gives His handiwork a rating of “good.”
Only after giving Adam and Eve a vegan menu does G-d utter “very good,” or, in Hebrew, “tov m’ode”.
It’s painfully obvious. G-d wants us to eat fruit, vegetables, nuts and grains. Period.
Bible-literate carnivores, please hold your fire. The Beet-Eating Heeb knows what you’re going to say. And he is going to address those arguments in future blog postings.
For now, suffice it to say that BEH and Wife of BEH looked at each other (lovingly) that Rosh Hashanah morning five years ago and simultaneously decided to become vegetarians.
That was their beginning.