Meat: Wealth Food
Not a Health Food

I am sure this will come as no surprise to you but studies show that it's official: Men like meat and women like their veggies.

Many reasons for this were suggested, such as womens' tendency to care more about body image, to be more health conscious and budget minded. Across the board in 23 countries, when asked, women preferred eating healthy fish and vegetables over red meat.


Our innate preference in this area reflects a deeper connection with our purpose and role as women. By design, we are in tune with what the Torah requires from us to maintain our families' financial, material and physical resources. In particular, we women are the primary guardians of the foods select and prepare for our family. 

In the Torah (Devarim 12:20) it says “When Hashem…will broaden your bounty…it is the desire of your soul to eat meat.” 

Rabbi Akiva says the verse above teaches us that one should desire to eat meat only when Hashem has “broadened his bounty;” that is, made him wealthy. Rashi comments that Rabbi Akiva's interpretation also has another dimension. He suggests that succumbing to a strong desire for eating meat can ruin one's financial health. 


Our sages tell of an ordinary shepherd who became wealthy. Having seen many prosperous people from backgrounds such as his become full of their own perceived importance, the shepherd made an arrangement to keep himself mindful of his humble origin. 

He retained all of his simple clothing and utensils, his shepherd’s staff and his flute and placed them in a special room. He ate all of his meals in this room, meals free from the indulgences common to men of his elevated station. Because of this strategy, his tastes remained modest and he was able to maintain his wealth.


In addition to preserving our material wealth, Rambam advises that eating meat other than occasionally could damage one’s physical health. A renowned physician as well as a brilliant Torah Scholar, Rambam devotes a chapter in his Mishneh Torah to medical advice. 

He prescribes daily exercise and eating a diet high in carbohydrates, low in sugar and fat, especially animal fat, as a recipe for keeping a body healthy. 

The Rambam acknowledges there is a place in a Jewish life for indulging our carnivorous desire. He says that on Shabbos and Yom Tov, enjoying kosher meat according to one’s means will bring simcha. This he relates to our original simcha of eating the korban. Because we lack the Temple sacrifices today, we are we obligated to find other means to bring ourselves to a state of same’ach, joy. Now this is what kosher meat is about.


That said, this is a chapter on kosher meat. And it is a long accepted fact that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach. Our men really enjoy their beef: Steaks, roasts, stews, grills. No doubt about it, we women often like to try and taste kosher meat recipes, too. 

Nothing says celebration better that a juicy roast beef: Lemon Rosemary , Creole or Fired up London Broil. Nothing says summer better than grilling steaks. And nothing is as chill chasing as Beef Bourguignon or Veal Stew, simmering on the back burner, tickling the nose with its satisfying aroma. So let us eat beef. In moderation, in honor and in good health. Amen.