Ask The Rabbi

My Peggy

The Color of HeavenArtscroll
Topic: Afterlife, Animals

John D. Stone wrote:

Dear Rabbi,

Someone tried to take our dog from our locked and alarmed car in a supermarket parking lot. She escaped and valiantly searched for her home for a week. I was five minutes from getting her at the latest sighting. Before I could get there she was hit and killed by a car. I know my life was blessed greatly by having Peggy as a companion for 61 months. I feel so helpless now, not only that she is gone, but that her last week searching for me was filled with hardship - longing for me and her home, suffering 12 degree (F) nights, snow and rain. She was the epitome of unconditional love, and this has taught me a great deal. Please advise me what will happen to Peggy and will we be reunited eventually?


Dear John D. Stone,

Your sorrow is evident from your message. The Torah commands many laws of mercy and kindness towards animals to nurture this virtuous feeling of compassion. For example, you may not eat a meal before feeding your animal, as this is an act of neglect and cruelty. The Torah also teaches us to have gratitude towards animals

However, animals lack a neshamah (a certain level of soul) so they have no afterlife existence. At death their ruach (a lower level of soul) expires.

By the great lesson of sincerity which Peggy has taught you, I think she has fulfilled her purpose of creation, if only we could apply this virtue in our own lives toward our fellow humans.

Sources:

  • Shemot 22:30 and Rashi
  • Ecclesiastes 3:21


 
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