´¯`•. December 30, 2014

 The Dog and the Lion

by Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz, here

A wise Yerushalmi Yid once shared an apocryphal story with me. With the gentle humor and wit unique to residents of the Holy City, he told about a dog that once entered a small shul. The animal noticed that on top of the aron hakodesh, there was an image of two crouching lions hovering over the Luchos.

happy-dog-in-the-grass-animal-hd-wallpaper-1920x1080-22683The dog was incensed. He asked the people in shul why the lion merits such honor. The shul Yidden responded to the dog that the lion is the king of the animals and thus his image is placed in a special place.

The dog wasn’t satisfied. “Why is the lion king? I am king!” it said.

The men in the shul explained to him: “A lion sits patiently. If you throw an old piece of meat or a dried-out bone in its direction, it won’t react. You can’t buy its love by tossing a moldy cut in its direction. The lion decides what it will eat and what is worth lunging for.

“But you, the dog, come bounding over no matter what is being offered. Rotten or decayed, you accept it. If someone throws a stone, you go and chase it. If it is a rock, you run for it. You will chase after a Frisbee as if it were a steak. That’s why you’re never going to be on a paroches.

Gur aryeh Yehudah. Yehudah is compared to a lion, king of the animals. Certainly, this has to do with the readiness of a lion to roar, to spring into action, and to react. Ichpas lo. But there is something else as well. A lion is discriminating. It is selective. It is careful about what it accepts. It doesn’t lunge after everything that is thrown its way. It doesn’t sell itself for cheap kavod, for a stick or an old piece of meat. The lion is disciplined. It is malchusdik, because it can’t be bought. It isn’t corrupted or easily won over.

… Our guide is the truth, not popularity or imagined respect.  Like a lion, the good person is disciplined to only accept that which is truly emes. That attitude results in malchus, uprightness and concern.  …we have to be like the lion, conducting ourselves with dignity, forthrightness and selflessness. When we are tempted with petty honors, with a chance to be popular, or to forsake our principles, and when people seek to quiet us by throwing us a bone, we must remember why the kelev is not the melech of the animals, and resist temptation. We must always bear in mind that we are bnei melochim.

aNNa’S NoTe:  May we stand for Truth, in this coming year… regardless of what bones may be thrown our way.

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