Vegetarianism and the Ethical Treatment of Animals in Judaism

Some time ago an article appeared on the website My Jewish Learning written by Rabi Jill Jacobs.

Medley Ethical Treatment of Animals in Judaism 2 Jill-Jacobs
Rabi Jill Jacobs

Here follows an excerpt:

The concept of Tzaar Baalei Hayim demands that we take animal suffering seriously.

Beginning with the first chapters of the Torah, Judaism establishes a fundamental connection between human beings and animals. Animals, created on the fifth day of the biblical story of creation, can be understood as prototypes of the first human beings – Adam and Eve, created on the sixth day. One of Adam’s first responsibilities as a human being is to name the animals. As evidenced by the episode in which a serpent tempts Eve to eat a forbidden fruit, humans and animals originally speak one another’s language (Genesis 1-3).

The story of Noah’s ark represents a turning point in the relationship between human beings and animals. Furious about human misbehavior, God decides to destroy the world by flood, saving only the righteous Noah and his family and enough animals to sustain all of the species. When the waters recede, God gives Noah seven laws – now known as the Noahide laws–aimed at establishing a just society.

Read more: Vegetarianism and the Ethical Treatment of Animals in Judaism


Leo Babauta – USA

A simplicity manifesto in the Age of Distraction: Part 11

Tools for beating distraction

Man must shape his tools lest they shape him.”

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Arthur Miller

(Arthur Asher Miller was a prolific American playwright, essayist, and prominent figure in twentieth-century American theatre)

This is a resource for those who need a little help in blocking out distractions. It’s software that will block websites and other timewasters, or clear away everything on your computer but what you need to focus on.

Read more: Focus

“Religiously integrated” psychotherapy is effective for depression


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For chronically ill patients with major depression, an approach to cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) that incorporates patients' religious beliefs is at least as effective as conventional CBT, suggests a study in the April issue of The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease. The journal is published by Wolters Kluwer.

Integrating religious clients” beliefs into CBT does not appear to significantly reduce its effectiveness, especially in religious clients," write Dr. Harold Koenig of Duke University Medical Center, Durham, N.C., and colleagues. They believe that this approach might help to make psychotherapy more acceptable to religious patients with depression and chronic illness.

Read more: “Religiously integrated” psychotherapy is effective for depression

Is the Brain Just a ‘Wet Computer’? – Part two

Edi Bilimoria – UK

The Master Analogy: Its Fatal Flaws

Medley Brain 2 Just a Wet Computer
The author, an excellent pianist, playing the grand-piano

Let us first cite an actual example before moving on to consider medical and philosophical issues and finally a summary of the main arguments that entirely repudiate the master analogy.

Read more: Is the Brain Just a ‘Wet Computer’? – Part two

Dementia patients benefit from holistic exercise program, study shows

Source: Elsevier

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While dementia patients can often suffer from depression and declining physical and mental ability, exercise has been shown to help improve both their physical and psychological wellbeing. Researchers at Teesside University in the U.K. investigated how combining cognitive activities and elements of yoga, tai chi, qigong and meditation with routine physical exercise affected dementia patients. They found that a holistic exercise program focusing on both mind and body can help improve quality of life for dementia patients. Their findings are published in the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies.

Read more: Dementia patients benefit from holistic exercise program, study shows


Leo Babauta – USA

A simplicity manifesto in the Age of Distraction: Part 10

Medley Focus 2 part ten

Why letting go can be difficult

While it might seem appealing to give up distractions and let go of the addiction to information, email or news, it’s not always easy. It’s definitely easier said than done.

It’s similar to the problem of letting go of possessions — often we have sentimental or emotional attachment to possessions, or worry that we’ll need them later or be less secure without the possessions. Clearing out clutter isn’t always easy, because of these emotional hurdles.

Read more: Focus

Respect for nature key to Hinduism

Respect and reverence for nature underlies many Hindu practices and rituals. Yet, many Hindu places of worship face huge environmental problems.

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Hindu texts and scriptures are full of references to the worship of the divine in nature. And they continue to be relevant today. Millions of Hindus recite Sanskrit mantras daily that revere their rivers, mountains, trees and animals. Many also follow, for religious reasons, a vegetarian diet and oppose the institutionalized killing of animals for human consumption. The Earth, depicted as a Goddess or “Devi”, is worshipped in many Hindu rituals. For instance, before the foundation of a building is dug, a priest is invited to perform the “Bhoomi (earth) Pooja” to seek forgiveness from mother earth for violating her. To many Hindus, the concept of environmental protection is not separate from religious teaching. That’s seen in several local practices among rural Hindu communities such as the Bishnois and the Bhils to protect forests and water sources. Despite the deep-rooted reverence for nature in Hinduism, there’s no disputing that many Hindu places of worship – from pilgrimage sites high up in the Himalayas to the Ganges river system – face major environmental challenges.


Padmanabhan Krishna – India

Medley The Krishnamurti School 2 P
The author, P. Krishna

Several persons, both in India and abroad, have expressed an interest in starting a `Krishnamurti School ' in their town. Since Krishnaji did not specify any particular technique of education, the question arises, “What are the essentials of a Krishnamurti School?” It is not easy to answer that question and one needs to inquire deeply into this. Through this article I wish to share a few thoughts with those who feel interested in education. To me, a Krishnamurti school represents an experiment in right living, without anyone dictating to anyone else what that means and without accepting any formula, any prescription, any authority that must be followed unquestioningly. It means to live rightly, not just accept the answer from someone else and try to practice it or repeat it. Unless we learn to live rightly, we cannot teach the children to live rightly; therefore it is our first and highest responsibility to find out what it means to live rightly. One can learn if one begins with saying,” I do not know but I am going to find out.” Then one can learn along with the student – not merely hand down words by way of teaching. So that is the first thing – not to have one's mind filled with conclusions, with answers, with certainties and not to attach too great an importance to one's own opinion, one's own view-point. To doubt it, question it and be willing to learn at all times; never to be so sure that one cannot even listen to another or consider a different point of view. That is being receptive and not just tolerant.


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