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1 CuriousLurker  Sat, Oct 16, 2010 9:16:48pm

Very well done. Thank you.

2 Bob Levin  Sat, Oct 16, 2010 9:57:22pm

Thanks for this--regardless of Pam, these are actually the kind of informative essays and discussions I think we need to have.

I'll make one little point regarding the difference between Halal and Kosher, and it ends up making quite a difference in terms of religious law.

The method of cutting is identical, both methods require drainage of blood, and the only crucial difference is that Jews do not require a blessing before each cut.

Kosher slaughter must be done in only one cut. Now, whether shochets do this is another issue. But that's how it is supposed to go. The knife must be extremely sharp, so much so that the animal is not aware of the cut. So, from the point of view of the animal (and this point of view counts), the animal simply falls asleep.

Let me ask this, just to make sure--Muslims can eat shellfish? Do you differentiate Halal (I don't know the terms) fish and non-Halal fish? And if so, what differentiates Charlie Tuna from Mr. Krabs? Besides Herschel Bernardi was the voice of Charlie and Clancy Brown is the voice of Krabs?

3 CuriousLurker  Sat, Oct 16, 2010 11:23:28pm

re: #2 Bob Levin

In reference to the cut, halal sacrifice is the same as kosher: The knife must be very sharp (for the same reason as in kosher) and the cut should be in a single stroke that severs the trachea, esophagus, and the two jugular veins without cutting the spinal cord (if the spinal cord is cut, the nerve fibers to the heart might be damaged leading to cardiac arrest thus resulting in stagnation of blood in the blood vessels). The blood must be drained completely before the head is removed.

There are other restrictions, such as the animal must be handled as gently & calmly as possible, it shouldn't be shackled, intention must be made, the name of God uttered, etc.

Regarding seafood, the four Sunni schools of Islamic law are in agreement that all types of fish are halal for consumption, however the Hanafi school disallows shellfish (though some scholars have made an exception for shrimp) and eels. I think one or two of the other schools also disallows eels (I'm not sure why). It's also disallowed to eat fish that have died of natural causes. I don't know if things like squid fall under the category of "fish" (samak in Arabic). I've never looked into it in any detail as I'm severely allergic to seafood, so those things aren't going to end up in my kitchen anyway. :)

4 Bob Levin  Sun, Oct 17, 2010 1:31:42am

re: #3 CuriousLurker

Okay, there you go. I've never heard of Hanafi, and I don't know the four schools of Islamic law.

Is Wahabism one of those?--I sort of suspect this view is too new to have real scholarly weight--but I could be wrong.

You are probably aware of the rules of kosher fish, that they must have fins and scales, although I believe you can use other fish for purposes not related to consumption. For instance, a very rare snail can be used to dye clothing a shade of blue.

We have the same prohibition against eating things that have died of natural causes.

That was a great article you posted earlier today. The picture of the kids running the companies--they seem young. I would imagine they hire people with the skills needed for proper slaughter. It's a difficult skill.

You also said something very significant--about intention. If your meaning is the same as ours, then we are both talking about the most powerful force on earth. Our concept does not translate into English at all, and without a good understanding of what we call cavanah, it's impossible to understand any concept or law of the Torah.

Same with you?

5 deranged cat  Sun, Oct 17, 2010 1:54:24am

well, wasn't that a complete and utter point-by-point take down of Gellar!

6 CuriousLurker  Sun, Oct 17, 2010 4:34:36am

re: #4 Bob Levin

Okay, there you go. I've never heard of Hanafi, and I don't know the four schools of Islamic law.

The four classic schools of Sunni jurisprudence (fiqh) are Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi'i and Hanbali, each school being named after its founder. All were established within the first 200 years or so of Islam. There was originally a much larger number of schools, but most were eventually consolidated under umbrellas of the "big four", so to speak. Others simply died out.

While there are differences between the schools, none is considered superior to the other, and the rulings of all are equally valid—e.g. a follower of the Maliki school would never say that Abu Hanifah (the founder of the Hanafi school) was wrong to disallow the eating of shellfish. This is because all of the schools' founders arrived at their various conclusions based on Qur'anic exegesis, hadith, sunnah, qiyas (deductive analogy), ijma (concensus of scholars), etc. IOW, they had extensive knowledge of many things.

Is Wahabism one of those?--I sort of suspect this view is too new to have real scholarly weight--but I could be wrong.

Wahhabism is a puritanical ideological sect. Ditto for Salafism, though I'm sure they don't see themselves as such. Though the two groups are similar, they have different roots. Both tend to reject and/or not consider themselves bound by the interpretations of the four classic schools, and therein lies the problem—i.e. with a few exceptions, from around the 9th century to the 18th century mostly everyone (except the Shia) stayed on the same page by following one of the four schools (and respecting the other three), then along come these groups who want to "purify" Islam by purging it of what they consider to be "innovations". Strife naturally ensues.

Regarding kosher fish, yes, I'm aware of the basic rules. Kosher & halal seem very similar, though I know kosher is stricter in some areas, and halal in others.

I'm glad you enjoyed the article about the young people running the kosher/halal companies (I suspected you would). It's heartening to see people being smart and working together for the good like that. Now if only we could figure out how to bottle that spirit of mutual respect & cooperation...

You also said something very significant--about intention. If your meaning is the same as ours, then we are both talking about the most powerful force on earth. Our concept does not translate into English at all, and without a good understanding of what we call cavanah, it's impossible to understand any concept or law of the Torah.

Same with you?

Yep. Aside from intention (niyyah in Arabic), I think the nearest word to describe it in English is probably awareness... or perhaps consciousness... heart-consciousness... being fully and truly present... Heh, you're right—it really doesn't translate well.

7 Our Precious Bodily Fluids  Sun, Oct 17, 2010 5:20:42am

*goes off to buy some Welcome to Vegetarianism cookbooks*

8 Bob Levin  Sun, Oct 17, 2010 11:29:15am

re: #6 CuriousLurker

I think it has been bottled. It sounds like both of our traditions can be seen under one umbrella, and that is imploring us to become truly literary, that is, knowing how to read a book precisely, and knowing how to see all of the implications and connotations.

This notion has been screwed up in English with the King James' translation of the Torah--which has led to the treatment of Webster's Dictionary as a holy text, which it isn't. But that's where this crazy fundamentalism comes from.

Our Talmud, which is how we access our different opinions (consolidated), is a very long literary discussion--so just reading through it should be enough for a person to become literary, if you follow the method of the scholars. But once again, the western philosophy of knowledge creeps in, taking everything and making it fit into a standardized test, as if that is the form knowledge takes--facts, true false statements. This is the opposite of literary thinking. But we're trained to think and see the world in those patterns. You might have something similar to say.

The way you are attempting to describe niyyah, same problem as above. I read that and see that playing jazz embodies all of the qualities you mentioned--but again, jazz curriculums do not teach niyyah. Jazz programs put jazz into the true/false, will this be on the test, just the facts, right and wrong form of Western epistemology.

Our notion of cavanah is described through parable--that, for instance, if a person wanted to become the greatest thief in the world, then Gd will assist this person. In other words, even Gd doesn't get in the way of human cavanah, Gd assists human cavanah.

The idea is to adjust your cavanah into a more infinite form. A jewel thief is working on a finite form--because there are other's cavanah who might want this person in jail. So, our daily process is one of purifying this cavanah, by any means possible. And yes, one other metaphor that we use to refer to cavanah is 'heart'.

This would bring us to Abraham, who did purify--make infinite--his cavanah, but he lived in a world where that wasn't exactly the norm. Christopher Hitchen's does to Abraham what Pam Geller did to Halal.

One other note--becoming literary fits very well with western science, paradoxically. Whereas being so darned literal does not fit.

9 Bentis Fughazi  Mon, Oct 18, 2010 1:34:00am

Quoth the ravin',

70% of New Zealand lamb imported into the United Kingdom is halal.


This Kiwi is having immense difficulty understanding what conceivable point is being made here. Apart from the fact we're not panty-pissin' afeared o' them SKEERY MOOZLUMS like we should be BECAUSE THEY'RE ALL COMING TO GET YOU.

But then, when the Dominion Post ran those Mohammed cartoons, local Islamic leaders met with the Government to reassure them that there was no cause for any concern. And there wasn't, to exactly nobody's surprise.


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