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Shalom Haver (November 2017)

Rabbi Mike

     Last week my family had to have our beloved dog Dylan euthanized.  It was not an easy decision but clearly the right one, as he had been injured in a minor accident, and was clearly suffering. 


     I share this with you because as a congregation we share the good times as well as the bad.  We have been together for many a shiva minyan after the loss of family members, and I have commiserated with more than one Beth Tikvah family over the loss of a pet.  I am by no means equating the loss of a human family member with the loss of a pet, but there is nonetheless a sense of losing a member of the family when a pet dies.


     I have always found the relationships we forge with our pets to have an aura of mystery about them.  Pets are so ubiquitous that it is easy to lose sight of the fact that we establish these relationships with animals that are wholly different than we are, yet we build love and trust with them.  As “other” as they are from us, they have a human-like spirit or soul, and we connect with them on that level.


    I am reminded of Abraham’s servant in this week’s Torah portion, Chayei Sarah.  Abraham sends the servant back to his native land to find a wife for his son Isaac.  The servant asks God for guidance, and when he is at the town well waiting for the daughters of the townsmen to arrive to draw water, he asks that the young woman who offers him water to drink, and then offers to draw water for his camels, “let her be the one whom You have decreed for Your servant Isaac.”  Kindness to animals is thus part of the litmus test for the woman who is to become one of the matriarchs of the Jewish People, and Rebecca passes the test with flying colors. 


    Darn pets!  We take them into our homes, they become part of our family, they steal our hearts, and then they break them.  


Shalom, haver.  Goodbye, dear friend. 

Thu, June 13 2024 7 Sivan 5784