August 17, 2011 | by

I always thought that was hunting was not a Jewish sport. But I recently read about a rabbi who took his congregants on a hunting safari of sorts. Is this acceptable?

The Aish Rabbi Replies

Hunting animals for sport is viewed with serious disapproval by our Sages. (Talmud – Avoda Zara 18b; "Noda BiYehuda" 2-Y.D. 10)

While it is certainly true that hunting has never been thought of an activity that Jews do in their spare time, there are legal principles at stake as well. The great scholar Rabbi Yechezkel Landau (18th century Prague) listed several reasons why Jews should not hunt for sport:

1) It causes pain to animals, which is forbidden by Jewish law.

2) It senselessly destroys God's creations.

3) It is characteristic of the behavior of the evil Esau and Nimrod, who were both hunters.

4) It is indicative of cruel behavior. One of the 613 mitzvot is to emulate God. One of God's attributes is mercy, which is the antithesis of cruelty.

5) It is a dangerous activity.

To hunt for food would theoretically be permissible, if not for the fact that it is virtually impossible to slaughter an animal in accordance with Jewish law while hunting.

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