Viewing Non Kosher Animals

Looking at Non-Kosher Animals

Although it’s not against halachah to gaze at non-kosher animals or at pictures of them, the Kav Hayashar and other mussar works speak of the importance of guarding one’s eyes from looking at devarim temei’im (impure creatures). The Lubavitcher Rebbe spoke about this at length, especially concerning the impressionable minds of babies and children, adding that our generation in particular needs to train its eyes to see only positive and holy things. 

Still, there are a number of exceptions:

  • Meshaneh Habrios: If one wishes to make the brachah of Meshaneh Habrios, the blessing made upon seeing rare or unusual animals, although the Kav Hayashar cautions to look at them only for as long as necessary;
  • Zoo: Going to the zoo for the purpose of reflecting on the greatness of Hashem’s creation;
  • Shul: Using the image of a lion or other animals as a motif in artwork for shuls—such as on the paroches of the aron kodesh or on the mantle of a sefer Torah—since these teach us to serve Hashem with the positive attributes of these animals, as well as being reminiscent of the animals in the Heavenly Merkavah.
  • Teachers: Teachers using pictures of animals to illustrate halachos or Torah stories to their students.

Practical Halacha: One minute a day. By Horav Yosef Yeshaya Braun, shlita, Mara D'asra and member of the Badatz of Crown Heights.