Saturday, March 18, 2017

How we treat animals says plenty about who we are

My latest blog for the Times of Israel
I confess, I yelled at a stranger today for the way she was treating her dog. No tags to know to whom and where the canine belonged. Tied up on a bench in the snow and rain, while the owner went into a store to get a cup of hot cocoa. The poor animal was shivering.
We are admonished in Torah to remember to care and feed our animals before we take care of ourselves. We are required to care for the most vulnerable among us. We are required to respect them, to cherish them, to honor their sacrifices. You cannot truly follow Jewish beliefs if you mistreat an animal in anyway. Perhaps because that teaching is so ingrained among the Jewish people is the reason why Israel has the highest number of vegetarians and vegans in the world. Perhaps that is why Tel Aviv is the most dog friendly city in the world as well. I don’t know.
But one thing I do know is that how we treat the most defenseless beings in our society says everything about who we are as a people. And there is nothing more dependent and vulnerable in our world than our children and our animals. People who are thoughtless towards those who are the weakest among us should always bring out society’s wrath and derision.