The end is nigh. It’s here. It’s now. The man to your left, that teenager behind you, they are biding their time. Do not let the feigned focus on a cell phone confuse you. They are planning an assault and they will not be denied. Hiding in plain sight, they wait, knowing their time will come. Their small, self-satisfied smiles are the only indicator of a quiet but steely determination. If only we knew who they were, if only there was a way to distinguish them at a distance, we could keep away. But we can’t know: there is no clear sign and there seems to be no way to stem the tide.
Oh, it starts gently enough. The casual question on a Friday evening, the fleeting frown across a brow, the flick of the eyes across the table. But then it rises like a tide: deeper, more passionate, more knowledgeable, more ideological, more more. Until the moment you feared arrives and you know it’s true. Your daughter is, (give me strength, Lord) she’s a .. she’s a.. she’s a vegan. And as the declaration leaves her mouth, you know that life as you have known it will never be the same. In fact, (sob) I have already lost two of my immediate family (and now a sister-in-law has also succumbed). And these vegans are not just in my house, they are also in the Knesset. In fact, 5% of Israelis are vegan and rising. All joking aside, if you thought the terror on the streets was bad, wait till you live with two vegans.
It is goodbye to bagels, lox and shmear, to cheesecake with sour cream like an adorning crown, to glorious, steaming plates of lasagna, to the fatty circles shining on your chicken soup, to the heart-breaking promise of the Pavlova.
It’s hello to the bunny on the shampoo bottle and the Vegan Friendly leaf on the Tivol. Even vegan shoes have moved into my home and they seem unlikely to leave any time soon.
As for all of us getting ready for Passover, on one hand, we celebrate the daring escape of Inky the Octopus from his NZ tank to the sea and we identify with clips of mature birds learning to walk outside of cages. We are moved by these escapes to freedom. But on the other, as it applies to our plates? We’re so pharaoh. We are so in denial of what we know we see. We say, I love a good steak and avoid thinking of what it is. We know that even the screaming horrors of the abattoir pale in comparison to the tortures animals endure as they are de-beaked, crammed, clipped, force fed, and abused. As Harari says in Sapiens, “… Billions of (animals) have been subjected to a regime of industrial exploitation whose cruelty has no precedent.” We know it. We just don’t want to know it.
If you keep Kosher or don’t like the idea of eating a pet, imagine being offered a crispy slice of Blackie. Your refusal echoes a vegan-like determination.
The future is here and it cares about animal suffering. According to Isaiah, “The wolf and the lamb shall feed together; the lion shall eat straw like an ox.” Yep, wolves and lions will be vegan. In terms of the food chain, we are the wolves and the lions.
We can decide to eat more like folk who value freedom from suffering. Veganism is what freedom from enslavement looks like as it applies to dinner.