January 03, 2005

Ani L'dodi

So my posts have gone to the dogs so to speak, as that is the topic foremost on my mind.

Being bit by a creature that you love and have loved for years--- my father purchased a dog for my mother's birthday, which is the day before mine--- shakes one up. If this had been a stray I know what I would do; have it picked up, have it quarantined, have it killed. My love of the four-pawed creature does not extend to the loss of my life. Rabies is a horrible way to die, and having a biting dog loose and about is a danger to all.

But this was a neighbors dog; they are nice people, it is only in this issue that they are operating beyond the bounds that most of us take. Like an errant child of whom the parents say "why he is just a bit more active than most" I think the family overlooked the negative behaviour of their beloved pet.

And while I dislike the dog, and now have a bit of fear about it, I don't hate it or them; and reporting the dog left me reeling with guilt.

I made certain that they dog would be returned to them after quarantine, but I didn't realize that quarantine was as costly as it apparently is; I allowed my concern for their financial position---beleive me I can relate---to persuade me fact prevericate on the issue of whose dog was it. "It was dark" I told the whoever it was who was in charge. I may have erred." Which of course led to a whole back and forth conversation about the advisablitiy of getting rabies shot; part of me actualy began worrying---I'm too easily persuaded sometimes---that I may have made an error, and that I should go get shots--part of me thought the doctor who spoke to me knew very well that I was deciving her, and that she was trying to frighten me into admiting the dog was our neighbors.

I'm emotionally a wreck by this time, feeling hemmed in and that there is no moral and satisfying action that I can take. I feel guilty, respoinsible for the further actions of this animal, wondering why me? what did I do to this dog to deserve its wrath, trying to calm myself that of course it was the dog, hat it has menaced others, over and over in my head; drowning in my thoughts.

So I call my Rabbi. I don't normally call my Rabbi unless there is a specific law and my dh can't answer; is this kosher or is that alright to use. I don't go in for these emotional based issues. But I really felt the need for advice; what else was my obligation in this area. And he told me; leave it alone but if they ever leave their dog loose, even once, take action.

I can live with that. But in the course of the conversation we spoke about the number of dogs that were in the streets of the Yishuv, and that were often strays. He and his wife had been menaced by a group of four or five such dogs near the gate to the Yishuv; all strays. "There was a time when one could simply shoot a stray" he informed me. "But now there is a law against it."

I'm nonplussed. How could one have such a rule? Stray dogs are a great danger to humans and other animals. What could be the reason for their disaallowing such a intelligent response?

And then part of me says "because maybe they aren't strays in the real sense of strays" they aren't lacking owners, as much as lacking responsible owners. From my understanding many of the strays belong to some of the surrounding Arab villagers; unvaccinated, lacking tags, often hungry and barely cared for, they come to our Yishuv and cause problems, leaving their droppings on the sidewalks, annoying other animals. and so forth.

"Why aren't we allowed to shoot them?" And I ask myself if this is a paranoid response; "Because the government cares more for the response of the Arabs and the world than for the lives of 'settlers'"

And, adding to these fears and concerns are the rumors that are passed back and forth (they are going to stop the bullet proof buses) and the realities that exist (no mail for the Yishuvim. )

Do we count? Are we now dismissed. A mock concern is made for our feelings but the real desire on part of a segment of the Israeli population is hatred toward us. And hatred I think to G-d, and a specific moral way of life.

It is so much easier to chuck all the rules. Believe me, I've been tempted at times. How much easier it would be to shop on a Saturday, or forget family purity laws; they are a drag anyway. How much fun can the three weeks be, a state of mourning, ending with the nine days; no meat, no bathing for pleasure, all during the hotttest time of the year. Right, like, G-d, couldn't you have done this during the winter? The fast days, worrying about Kashrut, whether the food had been tithed or whether one needs to do it oneself, saying one's prayers before and after eating, after using the facilities, before going to bed and waking up, covering my hair...and the list goes on. So much easier to chuck it, at least the parts that don't make sense to me, and maybe mixing and matching whatever rules I l ike till I have what I like, as if the Torah was a linen store and I was choosing the blankets and sheets---but I can't do that.

I can't give up on Torah and I can't give up on the lands G-d gave us, not so much as a gift but as responsibility; to care for her and guard her and use her for purposes dedicated to G-d. in honor of G-d.

Much of the world wants to us to give up on G-d, and so tries to convince us that G-d has given up on us. We may as well chuck in all in because G-d doesn't care or G-d doesn't exist, but my soul knows a different story.

So I cling to His laws, even when I don't particularly want to comply with His ruling, and I cling to the land, even if the world tries to tear my from her heart. My body is suspetible, it is easy to harm or kill, my mind can falter and die, but neither my heart nor soul will turn. Ani l'dodi v' dodi li" I am my beloveds and my beloved is mine. I belong to G-d and threaten or cajole me, promise or sneer at me for my position, the battle may be won by the world, and they may cheer, but in the end, the war is won by G-d.

Posted by Rachel Ann at January 3, 2005 08:07 AM

this was a wonderful piece. I do understand perhaps as well as any gentile can, your life of the land and how you are tied to it and to faith and the Torah... In a small way I feel this way about my Hawaii, and will now give it up for the sake of my husband my faith and Him Who Is Greater, who seems to ask this of me...It is very hard. Im not sure I would have been as kind as you were to your neighbors. I find that sort of thing reprehesable, and that there is no acknowledgement of the act is wrong...

I will be blogrolling you. You are a unique voice!

Posted by: Hokulea at January 5, 2005 02:13 AM
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