Ask The Rabbi

Lassie Goldberg

The Color of HeavenArtscroll
Topic: Dogs, Making them Jewish

Madeline Davis from Kenmore, NY, wrote:

Dear Rabbi,

I'm writing a story about a Jewish child who has adopted her first pet - a puppy. She asks her Sunday school teacher if Emily, her dog, is or can be Jewish? The teacher takes her to the Rabbi for an answer. The child loves Judaism and loves her dog. What can the Rabbi tell her about G-d's relationship to animals that will let her know that the dog is not Jewish, but is still loved by G-d? What Biblical references will explain this? Thanks for the help.


Dear Madeline Davis,

Perhaps the Rabbi should explain how G-d created the world and all the creatures in it. On the sixth day of the Creation, G-d created the animals "each according to its own kind" and "G-d saw that it was good." that "each according to its own kind" teaches that G-d gave each individual type of animal its own nature.

Every one of G-d's creations has a reason for it's existence. To "make a dog Jewish" is removing the real identity that G-d wants it to have, just as if the dog tried to turn the little girl into a dog!

By the way, Glynda Kramer sent us the following note:

Here is a joke:

Why did the dog bite the rabbi?

Because he had no "mazel."

(Isn't that a real "canine horror! [keninina hara]")

Sources:

  • Genesis 1:24-25.
  • Mincha Belula, commentary on the Torah

 
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