Friday, June 25, 2010

Take Your Dog (or Ass) to Work Day

Today is "Take Your Dog to Work Day." I'll spare you by not bringing either of my dogs to services this gorgeous evening, outdoors at 6:30 (dress is casual), though it is tempting! But this week's Torah portion describes how the prophet Balaam did bring his pet to work, with interesting results. For him it was "Take Your Ass to Work Day," and for this latter-day Shrek, the donkey wouldn't let him get his work done. Eventually, though, as with most pets, the ass sensitized her master, and Balaam was a better person because of it. He came to curse Israel, saw how peacefully they dwelled in their tents and composed the immortal Mah Tovu prayer.

When you think about it, although he was not an Israelite, Balaam was like many Jews who come to synagogue these days. Many of us come into the sanctuary with preconceived negative notions ("Boy is this going to be b-o-r-i-n-g!"). This story teaches us that we should leave our prejudices at the door when we come into the sanctuary, enter with open minds and open hearts, ready to experience the holy. You might be surprised with what you discover.

Parshat Balak from

More Torah cartoons at

No comments: