My Jewish Cat
By Ted RobertsI think my cat has lived so long with us that she's Jewish. How do I know? Well, she never works on Shabbous - never drives - never even flicks a light switch. That's better than me.
She keeps kosher, too. Won't touch a pork cutlet - won't mix meat and milk. I NEVER saw her eat a cheeseburger. It's true she doesn't go to Temple, but I notice she spends hours - like a studious Tsadik - meditating. Eyes closed, oblivious to the world, she's thinking Torah and Talmud, I just know.
This creature made by G-d is one of His more creative moments. The wiring, the celestial circuits, the engine, if you will, that G-d put into his furry, clever feline should be enough to make any non- believer shout Hallelujah. And I'm afraid I offend some of my ultra orthodox friends by pointing out that there's more of G-d in the cat than in the Talmud. The cat is an everyday, common demonstration of G- d's power. Who can explain its motivation? Who can understand how the maternal instinct allows it to suckle its young? Who told her they need milk? And in what universal language did her Creator tell her they must be groomed? And why will she fight to the death to protect her genes that flourish in her progeny?
Who explained genetic theory to this mother? And where does her curiosity and the motivation to explore her surroundings - a survival mechanism if there ever was one - whence cometh it? Easy, from her creator. And don't answer that it's merely "instinct" - a word that explains nothing. A shadow of a word, which translates into - "I don't get it".
You can autopsy a million cats and never find their instinct. In a world of space exploration, we don't know why your cat purrs with delight if you scratch her head or scratches to cover up her digestive output. How does she know that in her wild days she could be tracked by her waste? No longer true in her litter box days - but she's still wild and doesn't understand that predators don't inhabit your house. Yes, maybe the split of the Red Sea was nice - certainly conveniently timed - but probably just a wind. But it doesn't compare with the cat's knowledge that she must sever the umbilical cord of its kittens. Again, who told her and in what meta-language.
I have a Christian friend. An outstanding man. As devout as Aaron. He might prefer I compare him to Frances. He knows, he tells me, that his dog is going to Heaven. "Really, Dick?" I say. "Does an animal have a soul?"
"I dunno," he answers, "but I know G-d wants me to be happy in the afterlife. And I won't be happy without Blacky."
I understand. I won't be happy without my cat - a bundle of miracles.
Buy Ted's collected works at http://www.lulu.com/content/127641
from the June 2012 Edition of the Jewish Magazine
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