Monday, July 21, 2008

No Dogs Allowed!

A girl I know gave up her dog (which she had for years) because Rabbi Wallerstein said that Jewish people shouldn't have dogs. She didn't give me a reason that he gave as to why one is not supposed to have a dog, so I have no idea why this is so. Was it a halachic reason? Was it traditional thing back in Eastern Europe not to have a dog?


One theory a friend of mine told me, was that the Torah says man should not get too close to animals, and people tend to get really close to their dogs. But I was thinking about that reason, and it makes no sense. Firstly, in my knowledge of Leviticus (very Limited) I would think that this "halacha" or Torah statement would be in Leviticus. The thing is, is that IF it is in Leviticus the "man cannot get close to animal" line probably refers to not "being with" the animal. So I highly doubt THAT would be why you cannot have a dog. Though with all the stringency's I can definitely hear Rabbeim saying "If you're alone in your home and your dog is there with you, and you love it, you may be tempted..." I know...EWW!


The second theory I made up. Due to the parnasa "crisis" the Rebbeim felt compelled to ban "extras", which further prevent people from living decent lives. Think about it...if the rebbeim ban dogs (and cats- though they're easy to hide), the frum community has more money, and are now "bored." With this new "income" they can now gamble at Chinese auctions, and sponsor dinners and yeshivos, and perpetuate the cycle of parasitic kollel men.


Whatever the reason for this dog ban, be it sick and sexually related or just randomly a "parnassa" topic, I highly doubt this dog thing is authentic halacha. But what do I know? Did any of you ever hear of this? And if you did, can you please back up with sources anything you would say against the cute little furry creatures.

39 comments:

BrooklynWolf said...

At the risk of sounding silly or ignorant, who is Rabbi Wallerstein? And why does he have a say over whether or not your friend has a dog?

In any event, I had two dogs growing up. I know plenty of other frum people with dogs. Yes, they can sometimes present halachic challenges to families (spaying/neutering come to mind), but I am fairly certain that there is no outright prohibition against owning dogs.

The Wolf

frumskeptic said...

wolf: Rabbi Wallerstein is the guy who runs Ohr Naava. A very popular girls program in sheepshead bay. He gives shuirim every wednesday night.
He is very influential.

Brandon said...

Various comments in Torah and Nevi'im support the unerstanding that dogs were not (and, among some peoples, still aren't) domesticated animals in the Middle East; as such, it's considered by some poskim that keeping a dog as a pet is a violation of the natural order.

abandoning eden said...

probably cause having dogs is a normal american thing to do, and god forbid jews ever fit in anywhere then they might ASSIMILATE OH NOES!!!11!!!

David said...

"Various comments in Torah and Nevi'im support the unerstanding that dogs were not... domesticated animals in the Middle East; as such, it's considered by some poskim that keeping a dog as a pet is a violation of the natural order."

The Torah may "support" this, however, it is flat-out wrong. Canis familiaris is a thoroughly domesticated species that is the product of thousands of years of careful breeding by people; it is no more a wild animal than a cow. Exactly how long do you suppose Chihuahuas would survive in the wild?

This is yet another example of some ignorant rav banning things because that's the method he has of interacting with what doesn't seem familiar. As to your friend who gave up a creature with which she had a long-standing and, presumably, caring relationship (which I'm certain was 100% non-sexual) just because of the rabbi's "assur-of-week" pronouncement, well, shame on her for being a mindless robot.

shoshanat ha'amakim said...

I can understand not buying a dog because your chosen halahic authority comes out against it but giving away a pet you've had for years? wouldn't that constitute some form of tza'ar ba'alei chayim? poor dog.

DYS said...

What the hell???!!!

Not only is this rabbi insane, but your friend has got some real problems if she gives away a beloved family pet on the word of some rabbi without even knowing what his reason is.

This is why I'm sometimes hesitant to call myself Orthodox, even though I live a halachic lifestyle, because I'm afraid people will think that these crazy people are somehow representative of what I believe!

DYS said...

wouldn't that constitute some form of tza'ar ba'alei chayim? poor dog.

No question. Dogs suffer horribly when they're removed from the people, places, and smells they know.

Dave said...

Did she find the dog a home, or just turn it into the shelter?

Moshe said...

Actually, "halahicaly", your friend is not allowed to give away her dog. It's a proven fact that dogs suffer when separated from their owners and can become depressed and die due to refusal to eat.
By giving away her dog, she's violating the prohibition of causing suffering to an animal, kitzur shulchan oruch 87:3,7,9,13,23 and 24.
87:18 "[on shabbat] You may place food before a dog. Even if it has no owner, there is somewhat of a mitzvah to give it some food, because the Holy One, blessed is He, showed it compassion; for, because of the scarcity of its food, He caused its food to remain undigested in its intestines for three days" (Magen Avraham)

Brandon, dog were used to guard one of Israel's borders when Israel was still divided into tribes.

"...in the World-to-Come, dogs will lead in singing the praises of the Almighty. They will say to other creatures "Come! Let us prostrate ourselves and bow, let us kneel before G-d, our Maker" [Tehillim 95:6]

DYS said...

I do know that there's some vague idea out there in the yeshivish and chassidish worlds, (especially in the ghettos of Brooklyn, etc) that having a dog isn't "frum". But there is absolutely no halachic basis, it's just some bizarre community standard, just like so many other things that have nothing to do with actual Judaism.

Child Ish Behavior said...

I think it has something to do with the shidduch crisis. Everything else does has to do with the shidduch crisis. I don't know how exactly but it has to be somehow.

or it could have something to do with the fact that Hot dogs are Kosher and R. Wally in his infinite wisdom thought that people may start using dog for eating when the dog fails at the job of guarding the chicken coup.

or it could be because he is anti people getting out of their houses. I can just imagine the scenario of 101 dalmatians. And Be fruitful and multiply doesn't count by dogs. So logically speaking the rabbunim cant be behind anything that isn't leshaim shemayim.

O and dogs are scary to rabbis with shaved beards.

Jessica said...

I'd rather live with a dog, than a stereotypical Brooklyn Jew.

Moshe said...

Stereotypical, foaming at the mouth, Brooklyn Jew.
See the problem is that they got rabies and at this advanced stage, there's not cure.

DYS said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
DYS said...

LOL

I'm glad I got out of Brooklyn - 5 1/2 years & counting. But even when I was there, I managed to associate with the sane pockets of the community (they do exist!) Oh, and I spent a lot of Shabbatot on the Upper West Side. (Which has its own form of insanity, actually.) Frum people from NY ask me how I could live in Ohio. I ask them how they could live in NY.

Jacob Da Jew said...

Big deal. So your friend is one of those "Don't ask, dont ask" kinda people.

Who needs em? World is full of people like that.

I have kitten for a few weeks until my allergies choked me up and now I keep fish.

hope to get a dog when we get a house.

Moshe said...

JDJ, If I'm allergic to cats and dogs :'-(
Do you think I'll be fine with a hamster?

Jacob Da Jew said...

Moshe, get some fish. My Betta recognizes me and my daughter loves em.

Hamsters aren't too bad tho.

Moshe said...

2 problems with fish.
1. you can't hug them and squeeze them.
2. very likely to mistake them for sashimi.

Jersey said...

I'm not about to bash Rabbi Wallerstein as some commentors have (one went so far as to call him "insane"), but I would like to relate an interesting story about him that occurred very recently.

My friend was attending a shiur of his, and he said that Pinchas was a gilgul of Nadav and Avihu. (My friend was skeptical at this point, but I have heard this before.) Anyway, the obvious question he raised was: how could he be a gilgul from two people? The answer: Nadav and Avihu never married. We see from here a proof that all men have only half a neshama until they marry. Thus, as each of these men had only half a neshama, Pinchas was a gilgul of the two, which combined to make a full one.

My friend was extremely skeptical and had a lot of difficulty accepting this answer. I agreed with her that it seemed off-the-wall, but I proposed a different problem: how did Rabbi Wallerstein answer the question? Assume all men have half a neshama. Pinchas was a man as well. So Pinchas, who should have been born with half a neshama, was born with a full one. The ratio remains two to one-- Pinchas was still born with twice as much soul as he should have! Still haven't gotten an answer.

Anyway, this is completely off-topic, but once Rabbi Wallerstein was mentioned, I figured, why not.

BrooklynWolf said...

Um... Pinchas was already alive when Nadav and Avihu died. How could Pinchas be a reincarnation of one/both of them?

The Wolf

DYS said...

I'm not about to bash Rabbi Wallerstein as some commentors have (one went so far as to call him "insane"),

I'm the one who called him insane. I'm usually a very mid commenter and prefer to avoid name-calling, but this one was so bizarre that I just wrote what I felt. I've never heard of Rabbi Wallerstein before so I can only base my assesment on what was written here, but if he did indeed tell someone to get rid of their family pet because "Jewish people shouldn't have dogs", then yes, that is insane!

londondoghater said...

i can't stand dogs so i have looked into this. There is a Maharsho in Kidusshin that says that you shouldn't have dogs because they stop you doing chessed, because even if the dog is not dangerous, people who are frightened will not want to come to your house.

A great insight, and its true

Moshe said...

Considering that most of those people are fakes, that's a plus. And if the dog is inside, why would they be afraid to come?
And what about dogs protecting the house and kids? My mother in law, when she was a baby, had a huge German Shepherd by her carriage making sure no one decides to grab her.
I saw a bunch of Brooklyn Jewish kids checking out a week old kitten, no teeth, no claws. They were making sure to keep at least 20 feet distance. Pathetic.

mlevin said...

I'm deathly afraid of dogs. Before I enter a house with a dog inside, I make sure that owners lock him up.

mlevin said...

I'm deathly afraid of dogs. Before I enter a house with a dog inside, I make sure that owners lock him up.

Jessica said...

Fear Hashem, not dogs ;-)

Jersey said...

"Um... Pinchas was already alive when Nadav and Avihu died. How could Pinchas be a reincarnation of one/both of them?"

My friend and I were both wondering the same thing, and we have no answer. But I have heard it before. It still makes no sense to me, though.

mlevin said...

My friend had a baby girl in November and her grandmother died following year in July. Both my friend and her mother insist that her daughter has her grandmother’s soul. She knows it doesn’t make any sense, but she can feel it. Maybe it’s a similar situation with Pinchas.???

BrooklynWolf said...

mlevin,

Not that it has any real bearing on this, but I'm curious... did she insist that her baby had the grandmother's soul even while the grandmother was still alive?

The Wolf

mlevin said...

Wolf - no. My friend doesn't live in US, but comes to visit for a summer. Since grandma waited to die until they came to US and said good-bye... I'm a bit confused with an explanation, but hopefully you got a gist of it.

The Babysitter said...

About the first theory, there actually is such a thing, everyone that's written in the torah has a reason, if there's a halacha saying you can't "be" with an animal. Even if it seems "eww" and so obvious, there are people that actually do desire such things and would be tempted that's why people are warned against it. Same with Homo people. Back to the animal thing, there was even a movie where a man was with his horse or some other animal that came out a few years ago, so it shows such a thing does exist.

I doubt its a parnassah reason.

I've never really heard of this "halacha". I know some Jewish families with dogs. In either case I'm happy about this ruling, makes it better for me in a selfish way. I wouldn't have to fear going into Jewish homes. I wouldn't have to think of questioning a person if they have a dog before agreeing to babysit there.

The Babysitter said...

Londondaughter: that makes perfect sense, after all I won't go to those people's houses.

frumskeptic said...

babysitter: If you go to someones house who has a dog,to babysit, why don't you just ask that they put it into a room, or cage it for a few hours? I've had friends that were allergic to dogs go to freinds houses, and they would vacuum before and hide the dog.


The 10 people in the universe who are sick enough to "be" with an animal shouldn't be allowed to have one. The other people should have one.

If anything the ones that are so sick that they'd actually "be" with the animal, the halacha wouldn't help. Same with the homo's. YOu ever read the jewish press? The chronicles of crisis and the Dr. Respler? There were like 3-4 letters in the past few months about in the closet homos, and they have no idea what to do. They still act inappropriately, but htey don't know how to change themselves.

They KNOW the halacha. They still break, even though they feel guilty.

The Babysitter said...

It has to be completely hidden and I shouldn't hear a sound from it and no way for it to leave the room where it is for me to go there, I wouldn't take chances.

Moshe said...

You really gotta learn to deal with your fear. Dogs are great. Cats are more likely to scratch than dogs bite. Yeah, the barking is loud but unless the dog is growling, doesn't mean it wants to bite you. I love both and allergic to both. :-(

The Babysitter said...

Moshe: I would take your allergies from you so that I will have a good excuse. Although that does sound ridiculous.

mOOm said...

I'm surprised that people find this surprising. That's one of the few good things about dati people IMO - few own dogs :) There's no difference in owning a pig or a dog as far as the halakha is concerned both are impure animals.... People told me that you can't pray/say berakhot with an animal like that around... Hunting is also prohibited and a dog is an animal for hunting primarily. Notice that Arab shepherds somehow herd sheep and goats without sheepdogs.. There's also somewhere a pasuk about mehir kelev, though not clear about whether it's talking about actual dogs or not.