The animals are taking back their turf. One of the more enjoyable videos that I’ve watched during this isolated period, is the animal kingdom walking around the main streets of cities around the world. It’s now a common sight to witness a family of wild boar, with babies in tow, shopping for garbage and food in Yaffo for their family needs. Foxes are playing in front yards, sheep are strutting their stuff in Wales. Lions lay in lazy sleep on the abandoned highways of Africa and exotic big cats roam rural areas of Argentina. The common ground between all these species is that they sense that without humans, they are safe to explore their habitat once again. Since man has built over, broke down and bowled through their once lush and wild homes, they were pushed back to the edges. The natural world seems to thrive with the absence of human beings, or with them contained, like a post apocalyptic zoo, where the animals view us behind the windows of our homes. Since I am a true animal lover, I appreciate the glory and splendor of G-d’s creations. I grew up with my Zaidy’s (grandfather) wolf dog Dukey since birth in East New York, Brooklyn. Never knowing fear of my majestic beast, only unconditional love, he was my perfect playmate and a most protective nanny. My Zaidy taught me my very first Mitzvah, probably before I could talk. Every morning, he instructed me that Dukey had to be fed first, because it is a Halacha (Jewish law) to feed your animal before yourself. One day, I hope to write a book about living with my wonderful Zaidy and his Yiddish commands to his unbelievable and legendary “hoont!”
As Pandas are playing, dolphins are swimming and penguins are sashaying while humans are isolating…what is G-d trying to say to us about His creatures?
As a matter of fact there is a book called Perek Shirah means “Chapter of Song”, It is organized into six chapters of praises of G-d from all his creations. Written anonymously but Attributed to King David’s psalms. Known since the first half of the tenth century, it consists of hymnal sayings by all creatures: the natural and supernatural orders, inanimate nature, the heavens and their hosts, and worlds of plants and animals.
Here is a sampling of what some of the animals say:
The Wolf says: "For every criminal act – for the ox, the donkey, the lamb, the garment, for every lost item which he says, 'This is it!', shall they both come with their claim to the judge; he who the judge finds guilty shall pay double to his fellow." (Exodus 22:8)
The Fox says: "Woe to him that builds his house without righteousness and his upstairs rooms without justice; he employs his fellow with no wages, and will not pay him his due." (Jeremiah 22:13)
The Greyhound says: "Let the righteous rejoice in Hashem; glory befits the upright." (Psalms 33:1)
The Cat says: "I shall pursue my enemies and overtake them, and I shall not return until they are destroyed." (Psalms 30:2)
The Snail says: "Like a snail that melts away, a stillbirth that does not see the sun." (Psalms 58:9)
The Ant says: "Go to the ant, sluggard; see its ways and become wise." (Proverbs 6:6)
The Mouse says: "And You are just for all that comes upon me, for You have acted in truth and I have been wicked." (Nehemia 9:33)
The Rat says: "Let every soul praise Hashem, Halleluja!" (Psalms 150:6)
The Dog says: "Come, let us prostrate ourselves and bow, let us kneel before Hashem our Maker.”
Rabbi Lazar Brody writes in his book of Perek Shira that the sages say, “Anyone who engrosses himself in Pereq Shira every day - I bear witness that he is destined for the World-to-Come, and is delivered from calamity, and from the Evil Inclination, and from severe judgment, and from the Satan, and from all types of evil and destruction. Commit with all your heart and with all your soul to know My ways, and to guard the gates of My holy shrine and to observe My laws and commandments. Hold My Torah in your heart and may the awe of Me be before your eyes. Guard your mouth and your tongue from all transgression and guilt, and I shall be with you wherever you are.”
Maybe we are witnessing a taste of what’s to come in a post corona virus world. Like a trailer of when the world will be a balanced and healthy place. Perhaps we are witnessing the tiniest preview of Gan Eden (garden of Eden) in its glorious harmony and exquisite existence. It could be a strict warning that we’ve been chastised for polluting, pillaging and consuming the earth for too long. Maybe, just maybe, if we watch long enough we can actually hear the praises that the wind, grass, stork, tiger and poodle bestow upon Their Creator, for Their Creator is our G-d and obviously we need to learn something!
By Tobi Rubinstein