Building upon the concept that Mitzvos can be between a person and Hashem, or a person and their friend (Source for "Ben Adam Lemakom" and "Ben Adam Lechavero"), where would T'zaar Ba'alei Chaim lie?

  • Is T'zar Ba'alei Chaim a Mitzvah? Which one?
    – Tamir Evan
    Aug 16 '20 at 14:31
  • @TamirEvan judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/98055/…
    – Joel K
    Aug 16 '20 at 16:23
  • @JoelK That question asks about T'zar Ba'alei Chaim being from the Torah, and my understanding (of the current answer there) is that, to the extent that it is from the Torah, it is a principle that, among other things, is the suggested rationale for some Mitzvot, but not a Mitzvah itself.
    – Tamir Evan
    Aug 17 '20 at 14:29

I don't know about just stam inflicting pain on a random animal, but if the said animal belongs to one's friend, the Sefer Chasidim 666 seems to imply that one is violating a bein adam lechaveiro.

It writes:

כל מעשה גרמות שאדם גורם צער לחבירו נענש ואף אם יעשה צער על חנם לבהמה כגון שמשים עליה משאוי יותר מאשר יכולה לשאת ומכה אותה ואינה יכולה ללכת עתיד ליתן את הדין שהרי צער בעלי חיים דאורייתא.

Any action that a person causes pain on a person's friend is punished, even if he freely inflicts the pain on an animal (that belongs to his friend). For example he places on it too heavy a load so that it causes a wound and it is no longer able to walk - he will have to provide accountability (i.e. be judged accordingly) as this is animal suffering according to the Torah.

The implication other than the person clearly committing tzaar baalei chaim, is that conceivably, now that this animal owned by his friend is injured / damaged, he has thereby made his friend lose out, thus violating a bein adam lechaveiro.

  • How do you know that the animal under discussion belongs to his fellow? Maybe the חבר here is the animal itself?
    – Joel K
    Aug 16 '20 at 4:10
  • If the "chaver" is the animal then surely that would only reiterate that it is bein adam lechaveiro?
    – Dov
    Aug 16 '20 at 7:07
  • אין הכי נמי I was just curious where you were getting your reading of the Sefer HaChassidim from
    – Joel K
    Aug 16 '20 at 9:29
  • Fair enough - that's just how I interpreted it l'fi ani da'ati. It is my translation - if it is wrong please feel free to correct.
    – Dov
    Aug 16 '20 at 9:36

Rav Yoel Amital has an article on Tzaar Ba'alei Chaim (ZBC).

He says (in part) that the הרמ"א באה"ע סימן ה' סע' יד says

"כל דבר הצריך לרפואה או לשאר דברים, לית ביה משום איסור צער בעלי חיים

Anything needed for a cure or other needs, does not involve the prohibition of Tzaar Ba'alei Chaim.

He asks whether the permission of ZBC above is similar to the prohibition of not destroying material (בל תשחית) or more strict. He then asks your question:

יש לברר האם צער בעלי חיים הוא גדר של מצות שבין אדם למקום, וכמו בל תשחית שהוא שלא להשחית מה שעשה הקב"ה, כך איסור צער בעלי חיים הוא שלא לצער. או שזה כמו הלכות שבין אדם לחברו ועיקרו הפן המוסרי של המעשה

It must be ascertained whether animal cruelty is an aspect of מצות שבין אדם למקום, and just as one may not destroy what G-d made, so the prohibition of animal cruelty is not to cause suffering. Or is it like the laws between a person and his friend and it is essentially the moral aspect of the act which is forbidden.

That is, the more ZBC is like בל תשחית, it is בין אדם למקום and the more there is a moral aspect, it is like בין אדם לחברו.

He brings various sources tending both ways and concludes regarding animal experimentation:

ניסויים שלא כרוכים בהריגה, נראה שיש שתי גישות. מתוס' ע"ז רואים שלא כל צורך מתיר, ולכן אף אם אין בל תשחית עדיין יש איסור צער בעלי חיים. ואילו התוס' בבבא מציעא משוים ונראה לכן שמקילים יותר. כיוצא בזה מחלוקת האחרונים האם הרמ"א באה"ע התיר רק משום צורך או גם לרווח ממוני (וכן נוהגים שהרי מפטמים אווזים וכיו"ב). לדעת התוס' בע"ז נראה שיש לחוש לצער בעלי חיים אף כשיש צורך ואם כן יש לשקול את התועלת של המחקר לעומת הצער. ואף דבר שמותר על פי ההלכה, יש לשקול את הפן המוסרי כמו כתב הנודע ביהודה לגבי ציד.

For experiments that are not linked to killing the animal there are two approaches. From Tosefos in Avodoh Zoroh we say that not every need permits ZBC and that even if there is no possibility of בל תשחית, there would still be a prohibition of ZBC. The Tosefos in Bovo Metzioh compares ZBC and בל תשחית and would be more lenient. There is a corresponding argument amongst the later authorities as to whether the Rema permits only cases of need or allows even ZBC for profit. According to Tosefos in Avodoh Zoroh even where there is need it is necessary to take care with ZBC and weigh the benefit of the pain against the value of the research. And even where something is permitted according to halocho, the moral aspect should be considered as the Nodeh BiYehudah says regarding hunting.

The situation is not clear-cut but it seems that there is a slight majority view in favour of the moral aspect which would categorise the mitzvah as בין אדם לחברו.

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