One thing I love about Judaism is that long involved conversations about things like “can a zombie attend shul?” or “can i use my pet dragon to light candles on shabbat?” or “is meat from a replicator kosher?” are seen as completely normal.

Yes, but it should avoid contact with a Cohen if it can, and if the dragon is a Gentile sure, why not, a pet dragon is an ideal Shabbos goy, since it probably lives with you, and will get a kick out of helping. If it’s a Jewish dragon, though, no, it’s better for you to do it yourself rather than cause another Jew to violate Shabbat.

Wait wait… if a jew owned the dragon as a pet wouldn’t using the beast’s labor to light candles be pretty explicitly prohibited?

Good point. Is the dragon property, or is it a roommate?

I think it was ruled that one may allow a dragon to ignite a fire if (a) the dragon is non-sapient, and preventing them from lighting the fire would be animal cruelty, or (b) the dragon is sapient, non-Jewish and not in indentured service.

I love that a discussion that started with “I love Jews because they’ll have arguments about theoretical Shabbat dragons” ignited an argument about a theoretical Shabbat dragon

But is replicator meat kosher?

Depends.  There’s a nice big passage about what you are and aren’t allowed to eat (Leviticus 11), but it only addresses “living things”, and on top of that, it’s pretty clear that it means “animate things” specifically–plants are all parve.  So the real question becomes: do you consider replicator meat to be alive?

Well, if it’s made via cell divisions, tissue cloning, &cetera, one could argue that yes, it is alive, in which case either a) none of it is kosher, because it is a living thing of the land that doesn’t chew its cud or have cloven hooves (being, you know, sludge in a vat) OR b) it is kosher only if the original DNA belongs to a kosher animal.  I’d justify the latter by arguing that the cloned tissue is ~part~ of the animal or that it’s an animal by-product of a sort, which means if you can eat the animal you can eat the replicator meat.  (And, bonus, don’t have to worry about kosher butchering and draining all the blood.) 

That said, you could also argue that vat meat is /obviously/ not a “beast that is on the earth”, much less a sea creature, bird, or “swarming thing that swarmeth upon the earth.”  This is a particularly compelling argument if your replicator meat is just a bunch of synthesized proteins, closer to a dietary supplement than a partially cloned organism.  If it was never a living (animate) thing at all, it’s all kosher, and maybe even parve to boot.

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