Get the best of content every week!
Find answers to fascinating Jewish questions, enjoy holiday tips and guides, read real-life stories and more!

Would You Hurt a Fly?

Autoplay Next

Would You Hurt a Fly?

Cruelty towards animals is strictly forbidden by the Torah. For two distinct reasons: one intrinsic to the life of the animal itself; the other extrinsic, yet no less important ... indeed, perhaps even more important.
Milk and Meat, Tza'ar Ba'alei Chayim, Mishpatim

Join the Discussion

Sort By:
Robin S York Atlanta February 8, 2021

But, I think it is okay to kill a fly.....Leviticus11:20 All winged insects that go on all fours are detestable to you. Reply

Deborah White City OR April 8, 2019

Getting back to: Would You Hurt A Fly? All of Us Peoples, have hurt or killed an insect even if it's not on purpose. When we walk, some life is so tiny, we don't see what we are walking on. Reply

John Heck USA April 3, 2019

Very moved! Caused reflection in myself!! what I found Chilled me. I work with people entering the Justice System. Some of those people I come in contact with daily are people who are very bad people. Yes, some I can find empathy for, others like the one who have hurt women and children, I only wish the very worst.
In short, I am not in a position to exact retribution, nor would I, but when it happens sometimes I smile, and the only thing that bothers me is I have no remorse for my thoughts.

is there a way to correct this? Reply

Michael Chighel Jerusalem April 5, 2019
in response to John Heck:

John, your question is a question for a Rebbe. So I am unable to answer it.

But I hope you will allow me to sharpen it. You say that this video about cruelty has triggered a self-reflection. You're worried that your silent wish that cruel people suffer is itself cruel.

Whether there is a way, or even a need, to "correct" this wish, I honestly don't know. Is there not a natural inner fury and rage to justice? Is it possible or even desirable to feel calm and impartial in the face of injustice? The one thing that does seem clear to me is that whatever cruel feelings belong to a desire to punish criminals really cannot be put in the same scales with the cruelty of those criminals themselves, a cruelty that was original, that was not motivated by any desire to punish, that was unaffiliated with any empathy for anyone.

So if the inner panic, as it were, of your question stems from a self-comparison with such criminals, then the question is misplaced. There is no hypocrisy at play. Reply

Michael Chighel Jerusalem April 5, 2019
in response to John Heck:

The question is simply, to what extent can a human judge, policeman, lawyer, social worker etc. accommodate feelings of vengeful second-order "cruelty" within the calm operations of justice. This question, again, I simply cannot answer. From my own limited perspective, I think I can see the lofty ideal of an administrator of justice who can empathize with the worst of criminals and who is free of all feelings of vindictiveness. And yet no less impressively I think I see the validity of feelings of satisfaction when a crime is punished.

I am sorry I cannot be more useful in answering your heart-wrenching question. I pray you are able to find someone who can, and that Hashem sends you the needed clarity for your own cheshbon nefesh. From my part, please accept my humble admiration for even having this problem. Hatzlakha rabba! Reply

John Heck April 10, 2019
in response to Michael Chighel:

First I would like to thank you for your thoughtful reply. As much as your advise would have been very welcome, I respect your declination of an answer just as much, if not more! But, I will ask you for suggested Torah reading related to my dilemma. Once more, thank you for the direction your pointing me and your kind words. Reply

Shay WV via March 30, 2019

Great video! Very informative in just a few minutes! Your presentation style keeps my attention, and I am learning a lot from you.

Does anyone know if it is part of the Kosher laws that you would not cook a chicken in its own egg? That seems a lot like boiling a kid in its mother's milk, like if you dip chicken in eggs before breading. If someone has the answer, I definitely appreciate it :) Reply

Michael Chighel Jerusalem March 31, 2019
in response to Shay:

Good question. Let's compare. What is the most original and natural purpose of the milk in which the kid goat is boiled? Presumably to feed that very same kid goat. This is what makes the gesture in question so cruel. The kid goat is cooked in the very substance designed to give it life. Can the same be said of an egg? The egg is admittedly the "housing" of the baby chick. But only for so long as the chick is not yet a viable animal. As soon as it hatches and becomes a living being, the egg becomes a useless shell, literally and figuratively. Reply

Bladimir 33069 February 2, 2019

Great video! Keep the good work Judaism needs to be exciting , fun , inspirational, Warm and welcoming to its valuable lessons. Take the holy teachings to a new height . May Hashem bless you and all people involved iin the video to be successful beyond measure. Reply

Misty Ky February 1, 2019

"...really about distancing human beings from cruelty." I love this. Cruelty to animals is unconscionable. And this lesson is for all humanity. Thank you for this wonderful, timely teaching. Reply

Deborah Ware White City OR. January 31, 2019

Really enjoyed Rabbi Chighel's Lesson on "Would You Hurt A Fly?". Thank You! Actually, sometime back I was telling a friend, when We All Stand before G-d and Our Lifetime is graded on how We lived Our Lives, etc. I'm sure I will get to meet the Flys, Ants & Bees that I saved as well as the ones I did not save. Todah, Rabbi! Reply

Maryasha Schild Spring Valley January 31, 2019

Ah! A person's a person no matter how small! My mouth fell open! Thank you for all of your references. They make the video astoundingly funny! (and ironic)

Please, please, please make more videos!

Beautiful message! Taught in a caring and unintimidating manner :) Reply

Meir Queens ny January 31, 2019

Thanks rabbi... awosome video!!! It seems A lot of work is put in these videos. Reply

Cesar P January 31, 2019

Very funny and original !!!! Reply

Anonymous HOBART January 28, 2019

Although implicitly suggesting that one wouldn't hurt a fly, it was not explicit. It would be nice to know halacha's ruling on swatting a fly. Reply

Anonymous January 28, 2019

Oh he's supposed to be an Italian mobster now I get it.
The music in the end though that's already leading towards some movies right?... I got that right too didn't I ? Reply

John Heck April 4, 2019
in response to Anonymous:

I was thinking.....Steven Segal - ish. Reply

Uri Yitzchak Orlando,Fl January 27, 2019

Very talented and funny..thank you.! Reply

Related Topics