Torah does not discourage meat-eating
In his column in the April 17 edition of the Chronicle (“Did the Torah warn us about COVID-19?”), Jeffrey Spitz Cohan purports to associate the COVID-19 virus with eating meat. He even goes so far as to say that the Torah is in line with his theory, by bringing up biblical sources. Unfortunately, Spitz Cohan’s biblical sources, facts and logic are all so distorted that it renders his opinion untenable.
Spitz Cohan’s assertion that the Torah prohibits or even discourages eating meat is inaccurate. He cites a source that prohibits meat from before the time of Noah. Yet Spitz Cohan fails to mention that the prohibition was lifted in the time of Noah, after the flood (Genesis 9: 3): “Every moving thing that lives shall be yours for food.”
He then brings up the incident of the Jewish nation craving meat, and G-d sending them quail. The sin was not that the Jewish people ate the meat, but that they lusted after it and rejected G-d’s gift of the manna.
At the end of the piece, Spitz Cohan claims that the COVID-19 virus is not a divine punishment. He then contradicts himself by claiming that if one eats meat and dies, he was asking for it.
There are plenty of good reasons to live a vegetarian/vegan lifestyle. In this era, when there is no Temple, the Torah does not dissuade one from doing so. But when bogus references and false equivalencies are used to bolster the argument, one will do more damage to his cause than good.