Rav Avigdor Miller on Owning a Dog the Orthodox Way

5

Q:
My question is, what’s is the Jewish viewpoint on having a pet like a dog in the house? 

A:
So the question is also what’s the Jewish viewpoint about eating lukshen? And the answer is that there’s no Jewish viewpoint. You want the Jewish viewpoint on every petty issue?! So I’ll tell you. The Jewish viewpoint about eating macaroni is it should be kosher, that’s all. And you have to make a brochah. 

However, I must tell you, there is one thing about pets. They shouldn’t be a nuisance to other people! That’s a Jewish viewpoint. If you learn gemara, you learned that if you have a dog that always remains politely behind the fence, but then, when people go by your dog rushes up to the fence and gives a loud bark and their hearts stop beating for a moment, then you have to worry about your Olam Habah. That is the Jewish viewpoint. And such a thing, if you didn’t learn gemara you’d never know it.

There’s a gemara about that (see Bava Kama 79b, 83a). You have to be careful that your animal should not frighten people. Here’s a man who has a dog and when you pass by, the dog starts growling and you walk by apprehensively, nervously. You’re worried – you’re thinking, “Who knows? Maybe he’ll tear my trousers.” And sometimes he does!  A rabbi, a neighbor of mine in East Flatbush, had his trousers torn by a dog. I was bitten by a dog too! I called the police. And I was cursed out by the owner for calling them. He said, “My dog is helpful.” His dog is helpful! Helpful?! That means you can enjoy a bite from my dog; it’s worth it. A meshugeneh!

An Orthodox Jew is the only one who knows about this. Of course, there are Orthodox Jews who are ignorant as well. But they’re not Orthodox, they’re not Orthodox enough. If you didn’t learn, or even if you did, but you don’t practice, then you’re not an Orthodox Jew enough. Because really, it’s only the Orthodox Jews, the real ones, who know what it means to prevent injury to your fellow man. 
TAPE # 204 (January 1978)

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5 COMMENTS

  1. It is a nuisance for the owner as well as his family.
    1 – You got to feed the dog BEFORE you eat yourself. Although you may drink before the dog.
    2 – you MUST the dog not only for cleanliness in your home, but for “Tzaar Baal HaChayim”.
    3 – Anytime you touch the dog, or any non-kosher animal you MUST wash your hands. Bet you did not know that.

    These are just a few examples. If you dog damages anything – you better know “Bava Kama” well before you decide how to proceed.

  2. So the question is also what’s the Jewish viewpoint about eating lukshen? And the answer is that there’s no Jewish viewpoint. You want the Jewish viewpoint on every petty issue?! So I’ll tell you. The Jewish viewpoint about eating macaroni is it should be kosher, that’s all. And you have to make a brochah.

    Yes. I’m pretty sure there is a ratzon Hashem in every situation.

    • Not so simple. One should eat his macaroni with cottage cheese and ketchup. The famous niggun with sticking a feather in his hat and calling it macaroni, is a little bit shver.

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