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differences between a human being and a dog

02/06/2020 10:25:39 AM


Shalom Lewis, Rabbi Emeritus

We watched a video this week of our 11 month old grandson Noah scampering up stairs. We admired his assent with pride as he passed another threshold of early life, giggling with every step conquered. As we observed this milestone I recalled when Jack, our 12 year old Shitzu, accomplished the same. No larger at birth than a black Rawlings we kvelled as he climbed up the carpeted steps in our home. Such nachas. But seeing Noah and remembering Jack’s shared achievement I realized the vast difference between the two. The obvious and the not so obvious. Noah is a human being and will grow up and develop skills. Wisdom. Knowledge. Maturity. He will, God willing, contribute to the betterment of the planet. An author. A scientist. A politician. A doctor. An inventor. An entertainer. A business man. A poet. Or, dare I say, a rabbi.


There is no limit to what Noah can become but not so with Jack. Though a few pounds heavier and a few inches longer than when we got him, Jack remains a puppy, though by definition he is an 84 year old dog. The toys he plays with are the same toys from his childhood. The only adjustments made from his gathering years was his age appropriate diet and a few lame tricks learned along the way.

The differences between a human being and an animal are vast. The former grows from infant to adult. An embryo can become an Einstein or a Beethoven. The latter remains an animal throughout life. We love Jack, but his potential was reached soon after mastering the steps. We love Noah, but know he will continue to climb for the best is yet to come.

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Tue, April 7 2020 13 Nisan 5780