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Limmud Oz Fest 2012 - Some Halakha and Jewish Philosophy on GM Plants

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Some Halakha and Jewish Philosophy on GM Plants


LMaaseh all agree you can eat transgenic and cisgenic plants and can create
them, I will be looking at some of the philosophy of bringing new creations to the
world.

Kilayim Forbidden mixtures


Leviticus 19:19

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You shall observe my laws, you shall not mate your cattle with a different kind; you shall now
sow your field with two kinds of seed; you shall not put on a cloth from a mixture of two
kinds of material.
Deuteronomy 22:9-11

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You shall not sow your vineyard with a mixture, lest the growth of the seed that you plant
and the produce of the vineyard become forbidden. You shall not plow with an ox and a
donkey together. You shall not wear combined fibers, wool and linen together.
Aruch Hashulchan Yoreh Deah 235:1
There are five types of
Kilaayim

(prohibited

mixtures) that the Torah


forbade Clothing that is
made of a mix of linen and
wool, mixing animals by
mating

animals

with

animals that are not of the


same type, mixing of trees
by grafting two dissimilar
types (which is explained
further later [i.e. grafting
one shoot onto the roots of
another that is different]),
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Limmud Oz Fest 2012 - Some Halakha and Jewish Philosophy on GM Plants


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mixing of seeds [which is] planting two types of seeds together, Kilayim of the vineyard
which Is planting grains in a vineyard of grapes. The last two [mixed planting and vineyard
cases] are commandments relating to the land and do not apply outside the Land of Israel
from the Written Torah and only through rabbinic prohibition is vineyard kilayim prohibited
outside the land of Israel because vineyard kilayim are proscribed from derivation of benefit
from the torah.so the Rabbis therefore were cautious about this as well outside the land [of
Israel]. And dont ask [as in dont think you are going to ask some brilliant question, here is
the simple answer], if so then why doesnt the prohibition on grafting also not apply outside
the land of Israel because it also is a commandment connected to the land? However the
Torah already explains that this [grafting] is also prohibited outside the land of Israel- as it is
written [in lev. 19:19]: You shall observe my laws, You shall not mate your cattle with a
different kind; you shall not sow your fields with two kinds of seeds. Just like your cattle
with mixing, so too your field with mixing. And just like [the laws about] your cattle [apply]
in the land [of Israel] and outside the land [of Israel], so too [the law of mixing in relation to]
your fields [apply] in the land [of Israel] and outside the land [of Israel].
Rambam- Mishne Torah - Kilayim 10:10

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Clothing that is kilayim it is permitted to create and sell them, and there is no prohibition
except to wear them or be covered by them. As it says [in the Torah (Duet. 22:11)]: you shall
not wear Shatnez and it says [in Lev. 19:19] it shall not come upon you coming upon in
the sense of wearing. But a tent made of Kilayim is allowed.
Rambam- Mishne Torah - Kilayim 1:6

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The one who plants seeds in a manner that is Kilayim and so too the one who grafts trees in a
manner that is Kilayim even though they are punish by lashes the [crop] is permissible to
eat, even to the person who transgressed and planted [or grafted. Because] the only thing
that was prohibited was the planting [or grafting]. And it is permissible to plant a graft from
the tree that was grafted into kilayim and to plant the seeds of the kilayim plants.

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Limmud Oz Fest 2012 - Some Halakha and Jewish Philosophy on GM Plants


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Radbaz Ad loc.

Ramban, Commentary to Torah, VaYikra 19:19

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The reason for [the prohibition of] kilayim is that God has created different species in the
world, among all living things plants, and animals and has given them the ability to
reproduce, so that these species should continue to exist as long as God desires that the
world continues to exist. And God decreed that this ability should be according to their
kind and that they should never change, as it says regarding all of them, to their kind.
One who cross-breeds two different species, changes and weakens the forces of Creation,
acting as if he things that God had not done a good enough job completing the world, and he
this person! wants to help God in Gods creation, to add some new creation

Are we supposed to be partners in creation or are we


supposed to leave creation to G-d?
And G-d took the human [Hadam] and placed him in the Garden of Eden to work it and
guard it [Lovdah ulshomra] Genesis 2: 15
The heavens are G-ds Heavens, but their earth was given to Human Kind. Psalm 115
The Earth is the Lords and the fullness there of. Psalm 24

Midrash Tanchuma (Tazria, 5)


"Once the evil [Roman governor] Turnus Rufus asked Rabbi Akiva, 'Whose deeds are greater
- God's or man's?' He replied, 'Man's deeds are greater.' Turnus Rufus asked him, 'Is man
then capable of creating heaven and earth, or anything like them?' Rabbi Akiva replied, 'I
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Limmud Oz Fest 2012 - Some Halakha and Jewish Philosophy on GM Plants


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was not referring to the sphere beyond man's ability, over which he has no control. I refer to
those creations of which man is capable.' He then asked, 'Why do you circumcise yourselves?'
Rabbi Akiva replied, 'I knew that that was the point of your question, and therefore I
answered in the first place that man's deeds are greater than God's.' Rabbi Akiva brought
him grains of wheat and some bread, and said: 'These grains of wheat are God's handiwork,
and the bread is the handiwork of man. Is the latter not greater than the former?' Turnus
Rufus answered him, 'If God wanted you to perform circumcision, why did He not create the
child already circumcised while still in the womb?' Rabbi Akiva answered, 'Why do you not
ask the same question concerning the umbilical cord, which remains attached to him and
which his mother must cut? In response to your question - the reason why he does not
emerge already circumcised is because God gave Israel the commandments in order that
they would be purified by performing them. Therefore David wrote, 'Every word of God is
pure (or, purified).'"

Pesachim (54a)

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It was taught, R. Yossi said: Two things He decided to create on the eve of the Sabbath, but
they were not created until the termination of the Sabbath, and at the termination of the
Sabbath the Holy One, blessed be He, inspired Adam with knowledge of a kind similar to
Divine [knowledge], and he procured two stones and rubbed them on each other, and fire
issued from them; he [Adam] also took two [heterogeneous] animals and crossed them, and
from them came forth the mule.

Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel said: The mule came into existence in the days of Anah, for it is
said, this is the Anah who found the mules in the wilderness. Those who interpret
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Limmud Oz Fest 2012 - Some Halakha and Jewish Philosophy on GM Plants


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symbolically used to say: Anah was unfit (the child of an incestuous relationship), therefore
he brought unfit [animals] into the world.
)Maharal - Beer HaGolah (Beer 2

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The Torah is one thing and making a completed world is another

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