Hope all is well.
Is there a Jewish response to the dog fighting scandal?
I think so.
The first is obvious.
We should be shocked by the brutality of it.
And so should every decent human being.
… But here are some less obvious thoughts.
I think we should know that all “decent people” were not always shocked by such things.
You know what the Ancient Romans would have said about dog fights?
There was much more exciting “entertainment” in Ancient Rome.
Like larger animals tearing each other apart.
And tearing human beings apart!
And it was done in style.
Not in some dinky little hideout.
But in one of the “Seven Wonders of the World”!
As Jews, we should know why the world is different today.
Why today, all decent people are shocked by dog fighting in the news.
The Torah changed the world!
It taught the world three thousand years ago.
Animals are also creatures of G-d.
And we need to have compassion for them!
… You may have noticed that I didn’t say anything it being done by a famous athlete.
Or that he gets paid thirteen million dollars a year!
(It does make me think that Rabbis are underpaid. We need better agents!)
You know why?
Because I think it’s irrelevant.
It’s similar to the “steroids controversy”.
We hear things like, “These athletes influence our children.
They’re our kids’ heroes. Their role models”!
… What does Jewish tradition teach about that?
We have failed our children if their role models are athletes!
Sure. Kids need heroes. They need role models.
But they should be great people.
Not great athletes!
… What did Moshe look like?
Was he tall and handsome? Muscular?
We have no idea!
Because in Jewish tradition those things aren’t really relevant.
And they don’t make a hero.
They may make a good athlete. Or a good actor.
What makes a hero?
… Jewish tradition has always had heroes.
Famous men and women who changed the world.
And “ordinary” people who made the world a little better.
We owe it to our children to teach them what a hero is.
To tell them stories about great people in Jewish history.
About great human beings. And great people in their family.
Let them enjoy a good game!
But we should supply them with real heroes.
… And let’s not forget the best way to do it.
Especially as Rosh Hashanah approaches.
By working on ourselves!
And making ourselves the kind of person they’ll look up to!
All the best,