When Someone Puts You Down with "It's Just A Dog" - A Judaic Response

When Someone Puts You Down with "It's Just A Dog" - A Jewish Response

The K9 Human Dog Bond In Judaism

          The etymological derivation of mitzvah* is neither good deed nor commandment (as in Bar Mitzvah – the Son of the Commandment) but rather the Aramaic ‘tzavta’ meaning – connection.

Thus, the mitzvot (Tzavta) are connections between man & God

          There is a long history of the ‘connection’ (tzavta) between man and dog (Hebrew – kelev) in Judaic thought starting even with Adam:

God brought (them) to the human (Adam) to see what he would name each one

Genesis (aka Bereishit) 2:19

  • The word the word ‘lev’ in Hebrew means ‘heart.’ Adam designated but only one animal to have within ‘its’ name the root word ‘lev’ kelev: dog. (Note:  the first and last letters of The Torah, when transposed, become the word – lev – yes, heart – and yes, as in kelev – dog.)

  • Per Chumash Bereishit (commentary based on the teaching of the Rebbe) “The human proved to be outstandingly insightful; he deduced what each creature’s name should be based on its characteristics and qualities.”

  • Per Rabbi Chaim Vogel, “…these (names) weren't random names picked out of a hat, mind you. According to the Kabbalah, the name of every creation is its life-source. The Hebrew letters carry a G‑dly power, and, when put together in different formations, they give life wherever they are applied. Thus, all created things are directly affected by their Hebrew names, and the letters of which they are composed.”

  • In ‘addition’ - the Gematria of kelev (dog) 52 is also the number 52 for the phrase ‘and he will do thee good’ (Deuteronomy 30:5).

  • Effectively the first watchman (one who watches over the dead body until buried – a Jewish custom) was a dog – Abel’s dog.

  • And the Lord provided Cain with a token of his protection (Genesis 4:15). “He gave him a dog” Rav, Legends from the Talmud & Midrash

  • In Exodus 11:7, the howling sentries became the silent sentinels as Moses led the children of Israel out of Pharaoh’s court and Egypt. Who were those silent enabling sentinels – kelev – dog!

  • Per The Chumash Shemot (Commentary Based on the Works of The Lubavitcher Rebbe- Deuteronomy 11:7 Parsha Bo (“Come”) relative to the 10th Plague of The First Born: As a result of this outcry, all the dogs in the vicinity of the Egptians will get overexcited and start barking ferociously. This will exacerbate the Egyptians’ terror. But among the Israelites, they will only bark benignly as they do whenever the moon is out; no dog will whet its tongue ferociously against any Israelite person or even any beast belonging to an Israelite. None of our animals will be frightened and run away, so all our cattle will leave with us, as I have said. Torat Chaim 2:123a

  • You may derive any other benefit you wish from such meat (forbidden meat) but you shall preferably cast meat from a fatally wounded animal to the dogs; they obeyed My command not to whet their tongues aginst you when you left Egypt. The Chumash Shemot (Commentary Based on the Works of The Lubavitcher Rebbe- p. 163

  • Per Zohar, Vol. 1, folio 20b, “the souls of animals and of humans are imprinted one within the other.’

  • Per Rabbi Gershon Winkler’s research, “the souls of animals are sparks of the human souls” (13th century Rabbi Shomo ben Aderet, Manuscript parma-de Rossi 1221, folio 288b).

  • “In the world to come (Olam Haba), the wolf will spin silk and the dog will open gates” (Ecclesiastes. Rabbah 1)


  1. In Israel, archeologists have found a 12000 year (yes, 12000 year old) remains of a woman holding a puppy. Other finds have found man buried with his dog – in Jewish and many many cultures historically throughout the world.

  1. Recent research concluding there is not only oxytocin (the content feeling & social bonding) generated by the presence of dogs, but that there is a ‘mirror neutron’ in dog (for the benefit of man and dog) buttressing the K9-Human bond.

  1. And per Dr. Berns’ scientific findings (even on 60 Minutes!) as to what do dogs think about, ‘they (dogs) think about us’ – God’s Ambassadors to man ‘think about us.’

Pawnote to disagreeing & disagreeable Rabbis from Perek Hirah, Keta 8 (In Otzar HaMidrashim edition) : “Rabbi Yeshayahu, a discipline of Rabbi Chanina ben Do’sa (2nd century), once fasted a series of 85 fasts. For he said, ‘And the dogs are of arrogant soul; they know no satisfaction” (Isaiah 56:11)- they should merit (be included in the Midrash of animals who) sing to God?!’ Finally, an angel from the heavens responded to him and said: ‘Yeshayahu! Until when will you fast over this issue? They have sent me from the heavens to appear to you to explain to you by what merit the dogs have been privileged to join in song to God. For it is written (in Exodus 11:7), ‘And unto the Children of Israel, not a single dog wagged its tongue (barked).’ And not only that! But they were also merited thereby that skins are treated with their dung, upon which are then written sacred scrolls of Tefillin, and Mezuzot, and Torah Scrolls, and so on.”

* Good deeds and fulfilling commandments may be a means to attachment/connection to God but neither ‘good deed’ nor ‘commandment’ was the original derivative of mitzvah/mitzvoth.

Excerpted from my published Jew Again thru The Dog Door(c)

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