My life is blessed by the presence of my wonderful pug named Potato (Hebrew Name: Latke bat Adam v’Chana).
My dog is crate trained, meaning that when I am out of the house or sleeping, she sleeps in a metal crate with her bed, food, water and toys. Seems to keep her out of trouble. It also teaches her to go to the bathroom when we let her out: an almost impossible task for some rescue animals who have a hard time adjusting to a schedule.
Today I felt like a bad Pug Dad. I had been out of the house all day for meetings, going to the bank, grocery shopping, etc. So I thought, “heck, why not let her run around the house. What’s the worst that can happen?”
The worst did happen.
I came home, and my dog was chewing my tefillin. The entire front of the shel rosh (the head piece) had been chewed to the point that it looked like pale chewing gum. I yelled, “Potato! No! Bad dog!” She looked at me with fear in her eyes, slightly peed on the couch, and ran away as I leaped toward my mangled Judaica.
But I have to say, the dog taught me a few wonderful Torah lessons:
Guard the Mitzvah. That’s where Shomer (honor/defend) the Shabbat comes in. It’s important to really remember what Shabbat is. It’s not just Friday night, folks. In the same light, I should have guarded my tefillin and not left them sitting out on the coffee table.
Be Good to Animals. Human beings have dominion over the earth (Parshat Bereshit). And the second portion of Bereshit (Genesis), Noah cared for the animals on the ark.
Chill Out. In another nod to Noah, the tefillin is a box holding prayer. The ark was a box, too, holding the prayer that life at it’s worse will still survive and carry on. Too, my inner voice was saying, “dude, calm down. It’s not the end of the world. The waters will subside, eventually.”
But in case you want to see the damage, watch this fun and informative video: