blessings for animals (in particular, pets!)

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  • #604694

    aurora77
    Participant

    Hello Coffee Room,

    I have found a little bit of information about this online and am wondering if anybody here knows more about this and would like to share.

    It seemed to me from the little bit I found that there me be some blessings after the the New Year during that week that Parashat Noah (or Noach) is the Torah portion? Does the blessing include pets?

    I am not sure how this works exactly, but I am a major animal lover and would like to say or do something in relation to my rescued cat Cleocatra!

    If anyone has any heart-warming stories in this regard, I would LOVE to hear them. Cleocatra brings so much joy into my life, and I would love to celebrate it somehow in a spiritual way.

    #895931

    HaLeiVi
    Participant

    I found that there me be some blessings after the the New Year during that week that Parashat Noah (or Noach) is the Torah portion

    What do you mean by that?

    #895932

    aurora77
    Participant

    Hello HaLeiVi, I am not even remotely sure of the specifics, I am trying to find out more. From the little that I have found online, it sounded like there may be some kind of special service around the Shabbos that centers on this Torah portion. It sounded as if special blessings were given over pets? What exactly happens and when and where is very unclear to me, no doubt because I am very much a newbie (I discuss this in my first thread from several days ago about becoming Jewish after discovering Jewish roots). I am sorry if this answer doesn’t really provide any more clarity regarding the subject…I will try to find out more somehow.

    #895933

    Curiosity
    Participant

    This is NOT a traditional custom, to the best of my knowledge. There is a lot of misinformation online. Be really careful which websites you rely on for facts on Orthodox Judaism.

    #895934

    aurora77
    Participant

    Hello Curiosity, this is good to know, thank you…it sounded legitimate, but it is hard for me to know that as a newcomer, to be sure.

    Even though there is not a special service regarding the blessing of pets, do you (or anybody) know of any special prayers that a person might say individually to give thanks for his or her pets, and if so, where could that text be found?

    Thank you!

    #895935

    Curiosity
    Participant

    A big element of Judaism is to keep things in proper perspective. Our purpose in this life is to do God’s will. While God’s will may be different for different individuals, we should still keep that goal in mind no matter what we are doing – “What does Hashem want me to do now?”

    Once we realize this, we can better understand the place of pets in Jewish life. Pets provide company, help children learn responsibility, and can be emotionally supportive of their owners, even though they don’t talk. Some pets also aid the handicapped or provide security. These things are all important and help a person lead a happy life. On the other hand, pets are often costly, may cause halachic problems (problems relating to Jewish law), and can be very time consuming responsibilities.

    The question is, are there alternate methods you can derive the benefits that pets provide, without having to sacrifice with the negative aspects of owning a pet? It might very well be that there DO exist better alternatives, but detaching from a pet is too emotionally straining to make it worth it. That’s fine.

    Once you recognise that the true purpose of a pet is to provide you with various things to help you better serve Hashem, you should no longer feel a need to pray for your pet – you can just pray for the satisfaction, joy or other good that your pet provides for you. Instead of praying for Cleocatra to live a long life, pray that you should live a long life that is free of sorrow and pain. Hashem is all-powerful and can make you genuinely happy with or without your pet. A pet is just a means to an end.

    In general, the Torah’s philosophy is to not allow ourselves to become too attached to anything physical in this temporary life. I hope this helps.

    #895936

    aurora77
    Participant

    Hello Curiosity, thank you for these insights. This is very interesting….because I know so little about how Jewish prayer works on a daily basis, I had been thinking that maybe prayers and/or blessings were broken down into categories of things, such as the blessing for bread, for lighting the Shabbos candles, etc. I just assumed that, since there are these blessings for things we do with inanimate objects, there would be blessings for the living things we interact with as well. I am trying to find a way to conceptualize things and am very much at sea. Any new information helps so much, so I thank you again!

    #895937

    Mammele
    Participant

    However, king David taught us that all living things can bring benefit to humans, even a spider which he thought worthless, eventually saved his life.

    In appreciation to the dogs for not barking when we left Egypt, we are to give unkosher meat to dogs. We thank Hashem every morning for giving wisdom to the rooster to differentiate between day and night (which was the only “alarm” before we had alarm clocks).

    My point is that although for various reasons most of us here don’t have pets such as cats and dogs, appreciation is very much a Jewish trait. You should always thank G-d for all the good he sends your way, which presumably includes your cat. Just don’t obsess over her and imbue her with human characteristics — only humans were created “in the image of G-d”.

    #895938

    sm77
    Participant

    Yes, the reform and conservative movements have a ridiculous custom,

    where on Parshas Noach, the congregants are invited to bring in their pets for a special Birchas Kohanim service. Followed by kaddish for their deceased companions.

    The custom comes from the Catholic and Episcopalian churches, who celebrate the teachings of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals, by blessing animals on October 4th.

    #895939

    aurora77
    Participant

    Hello Mammele, thank you for those examples of appreciation of each little creature…that is what I was thinking of in relation to my cat. On the subject of living things, is Tu B’Shvat a holiday that is celebrated in Orthodox circles? I have read some about it, and it sounds beautiful!

    #895940

    Whiteberry
    Member

    If they are kosher, shehakol, unless you eat it with bread then the hamotzi excempts the bracha.

    #895941

    yitayningwut
    Participant

    aurora77 –

    Bless you. It is highly commendable that you are looking for ways to show appreciation for something; gratitude is one of the most basic tenets of Judaism. We do have standardized prayers, but we also believe that one can add whatever they feel like in their own words.

    The first of the standard morning blessings goes as follows:

    Blessed are you LORD, our God, king of the world, who gives the rooster understanding to distinguish between day and night.

    If you wish to say a prayer of thanks for your pets, that might be an apt place to insert some of your own thoughts.

    #895942

    HaLeiVi
    Participant

    To clear up a few issues:

    Most often, when we refer to blessings, we are actually talking about blessing, or thanking, Hashem. There are different classes of blessings:

    • Blessings on Mitzvos (commandments)

      Before performing almost any Mitzva we thank Hashem for giving us that Mitzva and for the opportunity to perform it.

    • Blessings on benefits

      Before eating we make a short blessing and after eating we make a longer blessing. Not every enjoyment gets a blessing. There is no blessing for talking to a friend or listening to music. Basically, only something that is consumed and used gets a blessing, including smelling enjoyable fragrance.

    • Blessings of praise

      When we experience something outstanding or unusual, if it is on the list, we recite this type of blessing. On this list is: hearing personally good news, or bad news; visiting a site of a miracle; hearing thunder; seeing lightning, the ocean, untouched landscape, odd creatures, and a long lost friend. There is also a list of blessings recited every day, thanking Hashem for the ability to wake, for being who we are, for eye-sight, clothing, an erect posture, free movement, dry land, the ability to walk, shoes, strength, appearance and energy.

    Separately, the everyday prayers were designed to cover all our very basic necessities. If there is something on your mind that you want to ask of Hashem you may ask at any time of the day in any language. Although, there is a benefit to asking in Hebrew. Likewise, you can always express gratitude, in any language, about anything that made you happy, even if there is no prescribed blessing for that.

    The idea of prescribed prayers is that they are composed in the perfect model of prayer.

    #895943

    WIY
    Member

    Aurora

    Go with what Haleivi said. You can always thank Hashem (G-d) and speak to Him in your own words any time of day. So if you feel appreciative that you have a pet you may certainly thank Him for giving you this pet and all the benefits that you accrued from it.

    #895944

    aurora77
    Participant

    Wow, fantastic feedback, thank you everyone very much!

    Whiteberry, I am sorry, the only one of the non-English words that you wrote that I know is “kosher.” I would like to understand what you are trying to convey to me if you read this and have a moment to clarify. I am sorry that I am so basic!

    HaLeiVi, what you wrote is the kind of structural stuff that I am trying to figure out so that I can get a framework in my head. Thank you for that! Out of curiosity, what would be an example of an unusual creature? Is it a wild animal of some sort not native to the region one lives in?

    sm77, thank you for the information on the initial question about whether blessing of pets happens at a certain time in the Torah cycle. I erroneously thought that the blessings originated in Judaism, not in another religion.

    WIY, I appreciate your recommendations as well.

    Yitayningwut, what you said was really beautiful, thank you so much for your blessing. Your suggestion about the timing sounds like a great idea to me. I am trying to find little ways throughout the day to let G-d know that I am very grateful. I am caring for my mother as she undergoes chemotherapy, and it has been absolutely amazing to me how both her cat and my cat have provided us both with so much comfort and unconditional love during this time. Their companionship has made the difference on some days when the side effects of chemotherapy have been at their worst.

    #895945

    HaLeiVi
    Participant

    Any animal foreign to you would get that blessing. The example given is an elephant and a monkey.

    #895946

    HaLeiVi
    Participant

    Actually, there is a once a year blessing (from the third category) on the blossoming trees. In that blessing we include all creatures. There is no specific blessing thanking for animals since there is no starting point. Upon waking up, however, there is a blessing for giving the rooster the capacity to discern day from night. This is because it is a specific point that we derived a benefit from the animal. On the other hand, even in times when we depended on horses and cattle there was no designated blessing of thanks for them.

    As to the other meaning of blessing, to bless a person, when a person is blessed his property is blessed. You don’t have to separately bless his belongings. You can enumerate, as the Torah does, that your children should be blessed and your animal and fields should be blesssed. This is not the same as blessing them. It is a blessing on you about them.

    #895947

    aurora77
    Participant

    That is good to know, thank you HaLeiVi…I live in an area with a great deal of wildlife (foxes, deer, and the like), which are amazing, but I am getting the sense that you mean more rare than that!

    #895948

    OneOfMany
    Participant

    I had a pet cactus named Cleopatra, once…maybe I should have named it Cleocactra, eh? ^_^

    #895949

    RebRY
    Member

    Tu B’shvat is referred to as Chamisha Aser B’shvat. By Chasidim we eat 15 types of fruit. Some Rebbes make a tish.

    #895950

    I also have cats – three, to be exact. Took them into the house from the streets of Jerusalem when they were small, weak and sick. Now they’re the happiest and healthiest cats in the world. In Israel, especially in Jerusalem, there are hundreds of thousands of homeless cats.

    Now, this may sound a bit funny – but indeed, I was wondering whether there was somewhere, anywhere, I could mention my cats now and then in prayers. What I do now is that I mention them in birkas hamazon (grace after meals), since one can pretty easily add all kinds of people there. (there is a section that goes like “may the Merciful one bless my wife/husband, my father, my mother, my children…” as applicable; I just mention “my wife, my father, my mother, and my cats”). I realize others may think it’s a bit weird, but I can’t see anything wrong with it.

    #895951

    daniela
    Member

    I have a question for TCG, I am ignorant of this subject as I never have had pets nor do I want any. You say you have three cats and you took them from the streets, so I assume you have males and females.

    #895952

    HaLeiVi
    Participant

    I think it’s a bit weird, but I can’t see anything wrong with it. However, realize that you are mixing in unrelated things. You ask that Hashem Bentch you, your spouse, your hosts and your parents. This means that Hashem should have them, personally, in mind. However, just like in the ‘Harachaman Hu Yishlach Lanu Bracha Meruba Babayis Hazeh V’al Shulchan Zeh She’achalnu Alav’ we don’t say Hu Yevarech Es Hashulchan, you shouldn’t really say Yevarech Es Hachatul. But I can’t say there is something wrong.

    #895953

    aurora77
    Participant

    More great commentary! Thank you to all 🙂

    RebRY, the eating of the many fruits is one of things that I read about the celebration. Do you know if it is common in Orthodoxy generally to plant trees at that time as well, another practice I read about?

    OneofMany, that is a very creative name for a cactus! At the time that I named my rescued kitty, she went by the name Fluffy Gina (!) , but I thought that something more classic was in order, so I chose Cleopatra after Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra. Then an acquaintance said to me within a couple days, “Don’t you mean Cleocatra,” and I knew then that it should be that instead!

    Thank you The Chassidishe Gatesheader and HaLeiVi for the discussion of where and how exactly to mention these cats in our prayers, which was my overarching dilemma. CTG, you have done a beautiful thing by rescuing these poor, defenseless creatures!

    #895954

    Toi
    Participant

    i imagine shehakol?

    #895955

    OneOfMany
    Participant

    lolol that’s really funny because mine was also named after Shakespeare’s Cleopatra, and someone told me that I should really give my cactus a boy’s name too, since plants are hermaphroditic…so I called it Antony and Cleopatra. For real. ^_^

    #895956

    aurora77
    Participant

    OneofMany, perhaps it is a case of great minds thinking alike!

    Toi, I apologize, but I am too much a newbie to know what “shehakol” means, so I will try to find a good definition on-line…

    #895957

    Sam2
    Participant

    Aurora: Don’t, it was a terrible joke. And planting trees in Israel on Tu Bishvat is a custom at the very least in some communities (I don’t know if it is in the more right-leaning communities, but if I had to guess I’d assume that it isn’t).

    #895958

    aurora77
    Participant

    Hello Sam2 , thank you for cluing me in to the joke; they are often hard for me to get, even when I understand the language! I also appreciate the information on the different customs…I love how each place has their own additions to the larger traditions.

    #895959

    OneOfMany
    Participant

    Seeing as you are a fellow English major, I could hardly disagree. 🙂

    So you are a Shakespeare fan, huh?

    #895960

    aurora77
    Participant

    You too OneOfMany? Then it must be that minds of genius think alike! I am learning many Hebrew and Yiddish words from posts here, but I did not expect to learn an emoticon for a cat smile…what an unexpected surprise! My Riverside Shakespeare is one of my most hefty and treasured books of all time. I would like to make a personal resolution to read more of his historical plays than I have yet. I devoured the comedies and tragedies. How about you?

    #895961

    2bshvat
    Participant

    Aurora- you might find “Perek Shira” interesting. It talks about how each one of the creations sings its own praise to Hashem (G-d). The praises are verses from various places places in Tanach (the Old Testament). The cat is mentioned toward the end of Chapter 5. (Perek Shira can be easily found on line in the original Hebrew & translation). The cat is also mentioned in the introductory Talmud citation as being the quintessential example of modesty.

    #895962

    aurora77
    Participant

    That is fascinating! Thank you 2bshvat. I will have to look up these verses. I always sensed that Cleocatra was very special 🙂

    #895963

    daniela
    Member

    No words from any of the animal-friendly readers about feasible options? Sometimes I see cats who are obviously abandoned house pets and won’t survive in the streets, I’d be happy to make a phone call.

    #895964

    aurora77
    Participant

    That is so sad Daniela! I cry when I see abandoned pets. They just want love and a safe home!

    #895965

    daniela
    Member

    I understand, but what to do? I don’t have the time or energy to take care of it. It is unfortunate but if I call anyone who is likely to want a cat in the house, regardless if jewish (probably non observant) or not, this person will right away, or shortly afterwards, have the animal sterilized, which is a very serious prohibition. Nothing works, it does not work have people sign this or that, it does not work giving them money, it does not even work giving the cat to, say, families who feel very strongly about it and who say will never do: they will eventually change their mind or be forced to. Believe me I tried. However, please advise, because if you have a feasible solution, I will do differently in the future, and of course I’ll talk to the rabbi, to my friends, and to whomever I have occasion to talk about the subject.

    #895966

    aurora77
    Participant

    Hello Daniela,

    That is such a predicament — I did not realize until I read some things here in the Coffee Room that it is prohibited to get pets spayed and neutered (I am becoming Orthodox after discovering Jewish family roots). I adopted Cleocatra from a rescue foundation that had saved her from a “kill” shelter, and she had been spayed by her previous person ( who had dropped her off at the kill shelter).

    It is such a desperate situation — these homeless pets on the streets need help so much. I am not sure what the solution is, given the prohibition.

    #895967

    yytz
    Participant

    I second what was said above — you can certainly thank Hashem for and pray to Hashem for your pets in your own words. Few people know much about it nowadays, but in fact there is a ton of rabbinical literature on the importance of treating animals with compassion and such, and many beautiful stories of famous rabbis who went out of their way to help animals. Rabbi Dovid Sears wrote a fascinating book exploring this topic (among others), A Vision of Eden, a draft of which is available online for free. I’m sure other books and articles have been written as well.

    Sterilizing animals has traditionally been forbidden by most poskim, though there are some exceptions. Rabbi Shmuel Wosner and Rabbi Shlomo Amar, for example, have approved letting a non-Jew sterilize your pet. Many poskim hold that non-Jews are not forbidden to sterilize pets.

    If you see an abandoned animal, one good option would be to give it to an animal shelter that identifies as a no-kill shelter. Most animal shelters euthanize a large proportion of the perfectly healthy cats and dogs they have, because there aren’t enough people who want to adopt them. No-kill shelters are run by people who think that is wrong, and only euthanize them in very rare cases (if they are about to die or are extremely dangerous and aggressive). Since these places are mainly run by non-Jews I don’t think it would be a problem if they would spay or neuter them — it would seem more important to save them from suffering or death. That said, I don’t know whether the life of an average stray or feral cat is all that bad.

    #895968

    daniela
    Member

    Dear Aurora

    first of all, thank you for sharing your amazing story, and I wish you a lot of success and happiness.

    Please be aware there is no prohibition to own an animal who has been neutered or spayed. I am sure you would never had done that, had you been aware of the prohibition and had the animal been yours. You have nothing to regret.

    On the other hand, according to most authorities, the prohibition also applies to nonjews, and so, we can’t give the cat to the nonjew and have the nonjew do the surgery for us, and we can’t even ignore the issue in the case we have no interest in taking back the dog or cat and the nonjew will keep it and we never see it again. This is one part of the problem, but – fair enough, one could find people who will not do. Most jews including chilonim are disgusted by the very idea, also there are nonjews (namely hindus) who have similar prohibitions and will not do. But then the second part of the problem kicks in: in western countries, veterinarians do not think this is appropriate, and will basically force upon the person, or even do it without their knowledge at the first opportunity and charge it to some or some other “animal welfare charity”. The only legal recourse is if the animal is a purebred, then one may warn, beforehand, that should it be spayed or neutered against our wishes, we’ll prosecute to the full extent of the law. But if the animal is no purebred, the law does not protect us in most countries and states.

    Many shelters require spaying or neutering as a condition for adopting a pet: they have no problem with it remaining caged, and not even with killing it, but giving it to a loving owner who will not do – they don’t even want to hear about.

    It is a crazy situation and we need people like you to speak up, of course it does not help that people like me complain, because I won’t adopt anyway. You have to know, Aurora, that many of us are not very attracted to pets, because we have families and can’t handle the extra workload (and who will wash the nonkosher dishes and where?), because we are overwhelmed with human beings and jews asking for help and we can’t help them all, let alone the animals, and also because we were raised in a different outlook from the mainstream western culture and many among us are not interested in pets. But the key point is that everyone’s rights and beliefs should be respected, which also will lead to better care for animals, because, as I said, so many times I would have phoned someone, or a shelter, or a veterinarian. Possibly I’d have even paid some money. I don’t, because the few times I did, it turned out a terrible disaster.

    Let me tell you about the one time it worked out: the cat (female) was very old and had health troubles. Plenty of money had been spent on it previously. The owners were moving to another country, and brought with them another cat (its offspring) but this one did not comply with quarantine and import requirements. So the owners asked around, but could not find anyone, they cared very much for the cat (the very fact they spent lots of money on it, shows so) but they had no option, and in the end, arranged euthanasia. I am happy to say someone took the cat instead, and that it lived peacefully the rest of its life, and since the cat was old and sick, no one insisted with the new owners about sterilizing.

    But unfortunately I could tell you very different stories, lots of those. In each one of these I did my best, and yet, it did not work.

    #895969

    aurora77
    Participant

    Hello yytz and Daniela,

    Thank you for your kind words and well wishes on my journey.

    Yytz, I have heard of Vision of Eden and am going to check that out for sure!

    I think that no-kill shelters are definitely the way to go, as you suggest yytz. I am not sure to what extent they are available where Daniela lives. It is awesome that you are trying to help these poor animals out Daniela! I did find an article from 1992 about Halachic perspectives on pets by Rabbi Howard Jachter of Yeshiva University Kollel Lehoraah (you can find it on the Internet), and in this article, Rabbi Jachter talks about the differing schools of thought on neutering and spaying pets. Daniela, maybe you could discuss this article with your rabbi to see what parts of it he adheres to, as this article does appear to indicate that there is some room to prevent pet reproduction and still follow Halacha. Maybe if your rabbi determines that some of the perspectives in the article are acceptable, then some type of action can be taken where you are that is consistent with your rabbi’s determination? There was some discussion in the article, for instance, about preventing reproduction chemically or otherwise without removal of the reproductive organs — the article suggests that it is the removal of these organs, rather than the infertility itself, that is problematic in terms of Halacha.

    This was just a thought I had as when I read this article. I would love to hear what you think?

    #895970

    OneOfMany
    Participant

    aurora: Sorry, I didn’t catch your response early enoughlol, I actually have a blog dedicated to my opinion of Shakespeare. Google the first word in THIS post. ^_^

    #895971

    aurora77
    Participant

    Cool! Thank you OneOfMany, I will check it out 🙂

    #895972

    daniela
    Member

    Thank you all for the suggestions and kind words. Also thank to Aurora for the very interesting article.

    I have heard about answers which permit in some cases to remove reproductive organs from animals (having nonjews do it), but, correct me if I am wrong, this was done under two conditions:

    – the animal had a disease which would cause it to suffer and die, were the surgery not performed

    – the animal’s owner would suffer great distress and/or financial loss

    But those leniencies are not applicable generically. Most animals are not neutered because they have an ovarian or testicular cancer, but because their owners would like to. Most animals in a shelter don’t even have an owner, the shelter has taken animals which were either in the streets or whose owners wanted to get rid of them for whatever reasons (I am not discussing legitimate reasons vs superficial reasons, just the fact that owners no longer want to keep them).

    There is no obligation to allow animals to reproduce, we may avoid it by keeping it apart from other animals or via hormonal treatment, but it’s not so straightforward. These pets, even when alone, make noise at night and disturb their owners, who might eventually bring them in for surgery. And the hormonal treatments, which I have paid for and taken care of it via sympathetic veterinarians writing the prescription, means that people are harassed and told they are causing disease to the animals (?! human females take the pill too…), while the surgery would “magically” eliminate diseases and give long life (yeah I know it’s pocket lining, but that’s what they are told – sometimes in public and in front of their children or other people). It’s a problem when someone who cares for a pet is insulted like that, because most will give in, or alternatively, get rid of the pet by letting it out in the streets. Those few who don’t, I am sorry to say, will one day find out that surgery had been done.

    Perhaps people like you should consider setting up an animal shelter and clinic, one that does not spay or neuter under any circumstances (it should not accept animals with the sort of diseases I mentioned before: these cases are very rare, let the owners ask their posek). Or at least, flood with letters the shelter you donate to or where you volunteer. If it’s possible to set up a no-kill shelter, then no doubt it’s possible to set up one which respect our beliefs. It would also provide a living for people who would like to become veterinarians or veterinary technical/sanitary assistants and who would be excellent professionals, but in the current system, can not. The very existence of people like that, out in the open, would mean a lot and make a lot of difference.

    #895973

    aurora77
    Participant

    Hello Daniela,

    It is such a vexing problem! When I was looking around for information regarding the neutering of pets, I saw that a certain Sephardic authority has allowed it — the Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Israel Rabbi Shlomo Amar — on the basis that it is to prevent cruelty to animals (a ruling made in 2007). If this is accurate (I am not sure, as I read it on Wikipedia), I wonder if this may be a growing trend? I guess time will tell?

    #895974

    @aurora – I read that as well, and indeed I relied upon that for my cats – though I symbolically ‘sold’ them to my non-Jewish family (who were in E”Y then); one of them was actually taken to the vet by them.

    We took 3 cats straight off the streets of Jerusalem – two males, one female. In a miniature house like the one we lived in then, there is absolutely no way we could have managed with more. (In fact, 3 was way too many already – but we *had* to take them in.)

    I found all three of them in a very bad and difficult state. One had just been thrown out of a house and was living on the street and deteriorating day by day. The second was a nearly dead miniature skeleton that barely weighed anything at all, had burns on its body and no teeth. The third was also very young, very sick and weak. All three would, without a doubt, have died within a month (the second within a day probably) if we hadn’t taken them in.

    I don’t understand the logic behind some people here. Some (actually, most chareidim) argue that it’s completely fine to just kill street cats – but oy vey, if you would neuter them it’s a horrible thing that must be protested against. But killing them is fine. Sorry, but I just fail to understand the reasoning behind it. Luckily, so does Rav Amar and a few other dati leumi (Religious Zionist / Modern Orthodox) rabbonim, and that is who we relied on when we took them to the vet. I usually wouldn’t rely on their psak but in this case, I saw no other choice.

    #895975

    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    Some (actually, most chareidim) argue that it’s completely fine to just kill street cats – but oy vey, if you would neuter them it’s a horrible thing that must be protested against. But killing them is fine. Sorry, but I just fail to understand the reasoning behind it.

    You are asking why G-d made an issur to neuter animals? Ask G-d.

    #895976

    aurora77
    Participant

    Hello TCG,

    What a wonderful thing you did by taking in those three poor, defenseless creatures!! I almost cried when you spoke about the second one — is he/she in good health now I hope? I wish I could take in more too — the community we live in limits us to two pets, which we have (Ivy is Cleocatra’s kitty sister!). I get so sad and upset when I hear about cats and dogs being killed. I wish I could find a way to save every single one of them!

    #895977

    aurora77
    Participant

    When I read the article I mentioned in a prior post on this thread (by Rabbi Jachter of Yeshiva University), the article mentioned that, regarding female pets, there is some question as to whether the prohibition against removing reproductive organs is Biblical or rabbinical (the article is clear that the same prohibition in regards to male pets is Biblical). I wonder what would account for the difference?

    #895978

    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    I think the best way to deal with the cat problem in Jerusalem is to scatter poison.

    #895979

    daniela
    Member

    To Aurora77: If you are planning to own other pets in the future, and you would like them to have that surgery, you have to ask a question, with all the details. You can no doubt ask it from Rabbi Amar and in the same letter, you can also ask for clarification of his previous rulings. You can also discuss the alternate procedures that were mentioned, which involve removing blood supply and thus have organs atrophize: it is my understanding they are intended for use in the very specific situations I outlined, in order to minimize violation in those cases in which it’s permissible to do. But of course I am no rabbi and I would never presume to teach. On the other hand I can tell, because I have seen people do it, that cats and dogs, and other animals which are kept for utility (bulls, horses, etc) or as pets, can have a long, healthy and happy life without being subjected to the surgery.

    To The Chassidishe Gatesheader: I am sorry, I did not write the Torah. And the reason I would never willingly help in neutering or spaying pets is not that I find it cruel, it is that it’s forbidden. Moreover, I was taught we ask a question from our Rabbi and then we do what he tells us. I am willing to believe that’s exactly what you did, and that you were told you are allowed to spay and neuter all your cats, both males and females. But this does not completely help, because that’s not how I was taught. So, when I see a sick or wounded stray cat and I know I have the option, say, of making a phone call, you bet I won’t be calling anyone. I could tell stories about how a chiloni veterinarian agreed to something (and money was paid to secure that), then some person talked the vet into doing the surgery without notifying anyone, using a load of lies about it being permissible and a kindness to animals. I wonder if you would have an excuse for that, or if you find it as repulsive as I do.

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