Sometimes things don't make it to the headlines in the
media, especially when they take place in someone's
imagination, even if they are of general interest. Here is a
case in point.
The Secretary General of the UN instructed his
administration staff to issue invitations to every single
one of the listed delegates to a very important meeting,
where a crucial debate would ensue. This debate was of such
major significance, that the Secretary General informed the
delegates that no time limit would be set for the debate.
Furthermore, because it was vital that the issue under
debate be fully explored, each and every delegate who
notified the Secretary General of his desire to participate
in the debate, would be granted an opportunity to let his
voice be heard - - in fact without any restrictions on the
length of his contribution.
We are talking here not of the United Nations based in the
U.S.A., served by men or women delegates from countries
around the world, but rather, of the Animal United Nations.
The previously warm relationship between man and animal has
recently cooled somewhat in many areas, and various animals
had mentioned the idea of a full debate on the issue to the
Animal United Nations Secretary General.
The cows in England were embittered. They had been for some
years now maligned by mankind to be carrying a disease
claimed to be dangerous to mankind, and were being viciously
slaughtered and wasted in large numbers. Elephants were
complaining of being over-hunted almost to the point of
extinction, and this sentiment was repeated by an ever
increasing number of species. From Europe came desperate
pleas for help from sheep who were being transported across
the length and breadth of Europe in lorries and trains for
days and days without respite, in cramped conditions, while
not being offered food or water. The wording of their plea
for help to the Animal Secretary General made startling
reading. Inter alia they claimed that they were being
treated almost as badly as the Nazis treated the Jews during
the Second World War.
A further complex problem had been raised by animals, at
first from "neutral" Switzerland, and later also by animals
from other animal loving countries around the world. These
animals sought guidance from the Animal Secretary General as
to how to react to animal lover's groups amongst mankind.
Traditionally these groups had been regarded as the closest
allies the animals possessed amongst the human race, yet it
was precisely these groups who were vociferously protesting
against shechita, supposedly in the best interests of
the animals. This confused the animals, as they knew from
their own experience that shechita was the least
painful method of slaughter.
As more and more animals gradually showed themselves to be
in favor of a full debate of their relationship with
mankind, the Animal Secretary General saw the sense in
acceding to their wishes, and duly issued instructions for
invitations to go out to every single species of animal
around the world, be it of sea, land or air category.
On the appointed day, all the animals gathered, and when the
formal exchange of greetings had taken place, the debate
began with a mighty roar from His Majesty, the lion. This
was followed by some extremely fierce growling from the
polar bear. The highly intelligent dolphin waxed lyrical for
a full hour, and so the day wore on.
When the delegates had retired for the night, the night owl
came forward to the rostrum to offer his theories on the
matter. During the following two days, the delegates
listened to the snake hissing, the horse having his nay, and
the donkey his bray. As the third day drew to a close, the
weary delegates rubbed their eyes as the timid mouse,
speaking most eloquently, made the final address.
A select committee, headed by the wily fox, ably assisted by
the most learned of this esteemed gathering, was hastily
established to prepare the wording of the motion to be voted
on. While the select committee set about their task, the
remaining delegates left the main chamber to partake of
They returned shortly to be informed that the text of the
motion was to be: "Mankind is Mad." Immediately the motion
was put to the house for a vote.
There was no need to count the votes, since the motion
"Mankind Is Mad" was unanimously approved, and the matter
moved forward right away, back to the select committee to
draft a suitable text summarizing the debate. The select
committee was further entrusted with the delicate task of
leaking news to mankind's world press of the result of their
The animals well understood that mankind may be a little
upset at first to receive the news of having been so
overwhelmingly condemned as mad, so to soften the blow the
select committee also drew up a lengthy thesis explaining
how and why the animals had reached their conclusion that
mankind is mad. The thesis was a masterly piece of work,
very profound, very well worded, just as they expected,
coming from their most erudite and learned animal
Basically, the thesis read that mankind is mad because
mankind makes far too much fuss over clothing. To start
with, male and female species of mankind wear different
clothes. Even each species within itself have a vast variety
of clothes for different days of the week, for different
jobs, for different seasons of the year, for different
social functions, not to mention, the different styles in
different parts of the globe. Year to year they change the
styles, calling it by a strange name, known as "fashion."
Mankind often wear up to ten different pieces of clothing at
any one time, all of which they labor furiously to launder
before donning again. Much friction between people is
unnecessarily caused by people vying with each other, as to
who has the more exquisite clothes. A select few amongst the
female strain of mankind, even after going to great length
and expense to obtain an exquisite piece of clothing will
feel embarrassed to be seen twice in the same outfit at a
wedding, or to be seen just once in a particular outfit if
another of their ilk has the identical outfit.
Oh! The fuss over clothes is quite absurd. The thesis went
on to suggest that animals have the solution to this wholly
unnecessary extravaganza. "We don't bother with any clothes
at all, at any time, and do not feel in any way belittled by
this omission," concluded their paper.
The animals were fully confident that mankind would
appreciate the wisdom of their dispatch, perhaps protest a
little at first, but after further thought, accept it and
mend their ways.
The animals however were completely wrong. Mankind was
entirely unimpressed by the news from the animals. So
unimpressed was mankind that they did not even deem it as a
document worthy of any contemplation at all, did not respond
to it and certainly did not accept its findings. After all,
whilst acknowledging that the thesis had been prepared by
the most erudite and learned animals, the logic it purported
was still only animals' logic.
Man is comprised of an animalistic carcass infused with a
neshomoh, which is the G-dly ingredient. Bereft of
Torah man is essentially a species of animal, preaching
animal logic. The neshomoh thus remains deeply sunk
in its carcass. The Torah is THE encyclopedia offering man
an insight as to how to rise above the animal instinct
When Hakodosh Boruch Hu announced his intention to
release the Torah to His chosen group amidst mankind, He
declared, "vo'esoh eschem al kanfei neshorim -- I
will raise you above the wings of eagles, and draw you near
to Me." Rashi on these words makes reference to the fact
that the eagle is the highest flying of all creatures. The
"selling" point used by Hakodosh Boruch Hu when first
introducing us to the Torah was that the Torah teaches us
how to rise above even the "highest" of animals, namely, the
animal part within man.
Indeed Chazal encourage us to partake of the wisdom espoused
by the nations of the world (Medrash Rabba, Eichah,
2:13) Im yomar lecho odom yeish chochmo bagoyim,
However, for guidance as to how to refine the behavior of
man so that it resembles Hakodosh Boruch Hu's
character traits, we can only turn to the Torah and its
prime scholars as the above quoted Medrash continues:
Yeish Torah bagoyim, al ta'amin. We cannot rely on
even the most scholarly secular intellectual professionals
among the umos ho'olom.
The family format they generally practice nowadays is
unacceptable to us. Their attitude to violence and murder
differ greatly from our attitude in that they consider
murder and violence as a possible source of entertainment in
films, books and games. Their approach to charitable
donations is also very different from our attitude. In all
these and other matters, we must rely on our Torah.