"I've noticed that quite a lot of people who are prominent in the animal liberation movement are Jews. Maybe we are simply not prepared to see the powerful hurting the weak." --Peter Singer (Author, Animal Liberation)


Rabbi Holtzberg’s Final Shabbat Sermon

As the whole world knows, terrorists attacked Mumbai last week and killed at least 188 people, including Chabad’s Rabbi Gavriel and Rivkah Holtzberg.

Dr. Sherwin Isenberg attended Rabbi Holtzberg’s Saturday morning services on November 29, four days before the rabbi was killed. Here is Dr. Isenberg’s account of Rabbi Holtzberg’s sermon:
He began by relating the various halachot dealing with the obligations one has toward his pets and his animals. He contrasted these obligations when performed on Shabbat and when performed on weekdays. He then related these laws to the parshah, citing the order in which Rivkah [Rebecca] gave water and food to Eliezer and the camels. Here was a brilliant and dedicated rabbi detailing how we should be humane to animals, only to be massacred ... four days later.
The Bible story that Rabbi Holtzberg referred to provides an important lesson that is worth focusing on. Here’s what Roberta Kalechofsky said about it in Vegetarian Judaism: A Guide for Everyone:

The story of how Rebecca is chosen to be Isaac’s wife is so charming that we easily forget its main point: that she was chosen because she showed compassion for an animal. Abraham’s servant [Eliezer] traveled back to Abraham’s birthplace to bring Isaac a wife from there. As in a fairy tale, he is given a test by which to choose the right maiden: “As I stand by the spring of water, let the young woman who comes out to draw and to whom I say, ‘Please let me drink a little water from your jar,’ and who answers, ‘You may drink, and I will also draw for your camels,’ she shall be the wife of my lord Isaac.”


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