by Reb Gutman Locks @ The Mystical Paths Butcher Shop
“How do I shecht the behaimah?” (How do I slaughter the animal?) This is what a young, religious Jewish man asked me as I was rushing home from the Kotel last night. I had an appointment and could not stop, but he was insistent. He wanted me to answer his deep question right there on the spot.
This question deals with a Chassidic concept about the “animal inclination,” The animal inclination is also called the “evil inclination.” He wanted to know how he could kill his evil inclination.
Without stopping, I said, “You don’t kill it. You train it to do good.” I ran on, leaving him staring at me and thinking about what I said.
Without the animal inclination, people would not move. The animal wants to eat, to go, to do things. That is its job; it is supposed to be active. The problem only comes when the animal is the one making the decisions. For instance, the animal wants lunch. Fine, he is entitled to eat. In fact, he has to eat, or he will not be in this world much longer. And we want the animal to be here, or else, we-- the spiritual beings that we really are-- will not be on the planet, either. But who is going to decide the menu? If we let the animal decide, we might end up eating 14 chocolate bars for lunch, or 12 pieces of pizza.
Here is where the intellect comes in. The intellect takes charge and tells the animal that he can have one chocolate bar, or a couple of pieces of pizza, but not the whole pie. Now we have a well-behaved, trained animal.
This does not mean that he will not go running crazy again if you let him. It means that the animal is being directed to the goal that is best for all. Even the animal feels better when he eats healthy food. This same process can be used for anything the animal wants. The truth is, we can find healthy and kosher ways to satisfy any of its desires.