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Throw it to the dogs!

Thursday, 31 January, 2019 - 6:36 pm

Earlier this week, I came across a heartwarming story that happened right here in Bozeman. UPS driver, Ryan Arens, was out delivering packages, when he jumped into a frozen pond to rescue Sadie, a drowning dog. It was inspiring but not shocking, as Ryan lived up to the Montana ethic that I’ve learned to appreciate: doing what’s right even at your own expense and comfort and caring for all G-d’s creatures in a most considerate way.

In this week’s Torah portion, Mishpatim, we are taught regarding Kosher consumption “And you shall be holy people to Me, and flesh torn in the field you shall not eat; you shall throw it to the dogs”. Even if an animal is Kosher, having fully split hooves and chewing its cud, if it dies of natural causes or is killed, it shouldn’t be eaten by a Jew as it’s not ritually slaughtered. One must wonder: why should we give it to the dogs? Isn’t it ok to serve it to any non-Jew who isn’t Kosher observant? Midrash Mechilta teaches “Because the Holy One, blessed is He, does not withhold the reward of any creature, as it is said: “But to all the children of Israel, not one dog will whet its tongue” (Exod. 11:7). Said the Holy One, blessed is He, “Give it its reward.”. The dogs didn’t bark at Jewry during the Egyptian Exodus, so they are rewarded with extra care by our people.

G-d, once again, is teaching us the importance of gratefulness. If a dog, who G-d programmed to remain silent during the exodus miracle, is given credit for its behavior and we reciprocate for all eternity, how much more so, when a fellow human being chooses to do an act of kindness, should it be recognized by the recipient and credited. The one who is acting kind may not need or want the recognition, but in our hearts, we mustn’t ever forget what they’ve done for us, our community and our world. There is no time limit to gratefulness, as it should be vivid in our memory forever.

As they say, “a grateful heart is a magnet for miracles”!

May G-d guard our brethren in Israel and the world over from harm and send us Moshiach speedily. May He protect the armed forces of Israel and the United States wherever they may be. Shabbat Shalom! Chazak!!! L'Chaim!!!

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