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But the difference, he explained, was that Rabbi Israel did not need to fetch water in order to sharpen the blade– rather the tears that streamed from his eyes were adequate.
Hierarchy of Creation While Jewish law protects the ethical treatment of animals, Judaism also maintains that animals are meant to serve mankind, as it says: "Let man dominate the fish, birds and animals" (Genesis ).
Rabbi Yosef Albo (14th century) asserts that this philosophy has its roots in the biblical story of Cain and Abel.
Maimonides identifies four levels in the hierarchy of creation, in which every creature derives its sustenance from the level beneath it: Level 1: Domaim – the silent, inanimate realm (i.e.); has the non-kosher elements (blood and certain fats and sinews) removed (Leviticus ; Genesis ); is prepared without mixing meat and milk (Exodus ); and that appropriate blessings are recited (Deut. By eating in the Torah-prescribed manner, and with the proper focus and intent, says the Talmud, one's table can become a virtual altar in the service of God.Compassion for Animals At the same time, the Torah stresses compassion for animals.From the Jewish perspective, activities that present themselves as mundane– eating, sleeping, conducting business, relationships, etc.– are part of serving God, no less than the ritual observance of prayer, study and giving charity.Earthly activities are the bridge through which we access higher realms.