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Are there any restrictions on purchasing or using non-food products that were manufactured in violation of the Law? If so, on what grounds?

For example: A non-Jew manufactures a product, and, in doing so, he breaks one of the Noahide laws (as in Sheitelgate). May a Jew buy/use the product if he knows what happened? Or, suppose a Jew manufactures a product, and in doing so he transgresses one or more of the Commandments. Same thing--can we make use of that product?

I am also interested in the case of products in which the manufacturer himself did not specifically transgress a law, but the manufacture did not occur in a generally "torahdik" manner. Unfortunately, I cannot list any specific examples, but it certainly seems conceivable that this could occur.

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Please source the claim that testing on animals is not torahdik. Humans are certainly required to minimize pain to an animal, but if the test is needed (and note that that does not mean needed in order to save a life) it's certainly permitted. (People who are opposed to animal testing are usually opposed to it completely, and make no distinction of whether the animal is in pain unnecessarily, and this attitude is not in keeping with halacha.) –  Ariel Mar 19 '13 at 10:32
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@Ariel Most people who are against animal testing are against it precisely because it is not needed. It is possible to test cosmetics equally thoroughly for safety and efficacy through other means, although they are often more expensive. Note that "people who are opposed to animal testing" tend not to be opposed to animal testing for medical research, in which case it really is necessary. –  SAH Mar 19 '13 at 10:41
    
@Ariel Incidentally, I'd be interested in a source for your comment that "if the test is needed [...] it's certainly permitted." So even if the product were a children's toy, if a cruel test were "needed" to produce it, that would "certainly be permitted" by halacha? –  SAH Mar 19 '13 at 10:42
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Perhaps vaguely relevant: R' Chaim Volozhiner reportedly said that studying from sefarim that were published by a reprobate publisher could present a spiritual impediment to success in one's studies. –  Fred Mar 19 '13 at 17:58
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@msh210, SethJ, Done. Related: judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/27308/… –  SAH Mar 20 '13 at 22:38

1 Answer 1

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Once again, you're approaching this the wrong way.

We have a very broad and deep legal system - Halacha - that covers most cases.

Temple-hair wigs -- the question isn't "we shouldn't buy it because I don't like how they made it." The question is that the Torah says to get rid of anything (in your possession) connected to idolatry, including items sacrificed to idolatry.

We also have a prohibition called "facilitating sin." If someone's manufacturing practices involve sinning (whether it's a violation of the 613 laws of the Torah for a Jew, or 7 Noahide Laws for a non-Jew) because of me, then my giving him that business is "facilitating." If he's selling to a million other people, then I'm not "facilitating" per se.

We do have laws on the books in a handful of cases for penalties, for instance: if a Jewish shopkeeper owned bread on Passover, I'm not allowed to eat it afterwards. Depending on the circumstances, food cooked by a Jew violating shabbat may be prohibited.

If you don't like a product or its manufacturer for whatever reason, you're free to shop as you wish. But a broad, overreaching "prohibition" on "anything non-Torahdik"? Good luck trying to quantify that. The best you could hope for is the attitude of "stay away from the distasteful."

The Talmud is not afraid to quote scientific knowledge that was obtained (by others) through horrific human experiments, by the way. Once the knowledge is there, it's there.

Lastly, as you'd asked on animal experimentation for cosmetics (I have no idea what "non-essential medications" means) -- Rabbi Yissochar Frand expressed uncertainty about whether this is permitted, and Rabbi Yitzchak Breitowitz felt it wasn't.

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I'm terribly sorry for "approaching it the wrong way" once again. I happen not to have a lot of knowledge, which is one reason I'm asking questions on this site. And yes, I've heard of "halacha" and that it is extensive; sorry I don't know all of it. Anyway, despite the slight obnoxiousness, you did answer my question really well, so thanks. +1 –  SAH Mar 19 '13 at 12:10

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