Sunday, January 26, 2014

Exodus 3: Song of the Dog

Bo/Come (Exodus 10:1-13:16)

There shall be a great cry of anguish throughout all Egypt.... But among the Israelites, no dog shall howl for man or beast. (Exodus 11:6, 7)

In Egyptian mythology, the Dog God Anubis gains its powers from the howling of dogs at death to raise the soul to eternal afterlife.
When the dogs did not howl, the plague of the death of the first-born caused double anguish since eternal afterlife was denied.

The awesome quiet of the dogs at the freeing the Israelites from slavery gives dogs an honored place in Judaism.
Every day, Miriam reads Perek Shira (Chapter of Song) that gives voice to each creation to praise God together in a grand symphony.

The climax of Perek Shira is the song of the dog, Come! Let us bow in humility and adoration, let us kneel before God our Maker. (Psalm 95:6). 
The loyalty of a dog to his master provides a model for human gratitude to God for everything in life.

Today, we saw the development of the highest level of loyalty of a dog to its master at the Israel Guide Dog Center for the Blind (see
We witnessed dogs learning to control their instincts and desires to become the reliable eyes of their blind human partners.

At the Center, we saw puppies bred to combine the docile characteristics of the Labrador with chutzpah of the Golden Retriever. 
The dogs learn to follow the commands of their human partners, but to ignore them if they are in danger. 

They learn to navigate obstacle courses at the Center and then in the real world where their blind partners live and work.
Guide dogs turn the negative mitzvah to not place a stumbling block before the blind to a positive mitzvah to avoid the block.          

Do not place a stumbling block before the blind. (Leviticus 19:14) Accursed is one who causes a blind person to go astray on the road. (Deuteronomy 27:18)