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Genesis states "And God said: Behold, I have given you every herb yielding seed which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree that has seed-yielding fruit—to you it shall be for food." Many scholars see the Torah as thereby pointing to vegetarianism as an ideal, as Adam and Eve did not partake of the flesh of animals as all humans and animals were originally commanded by God to only eat plants.
While most modern-day Jews are not vegetarian, a number of prominent rabbis have advocated vegetarianism or veganism.
According to Rabbis Shlomo Ephraim Luntschitz and Abraham Isaac Kook the complexity of these laws were intended to discourage the consumption of meat.
Some writers assert that the Jewish prophet Isaiah was a vegetarian, on the basis of passages in the Book of Isaiah that extol nonviolence and reverence for life, such as Isaiah , 11:6-9, , and 66:3.
Some Orthodox rabbis have argued that it is forbidden for an individual to become a vegetarian if they do so because they believe in animal rights, but have ruled that vegetarianism is allowed for pragmatic reasons (if kosher meat is expensive or hard to come by in their area), health concerns, or for reasons of personal taste (if someone finds meat unpalatable).