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Section: Questions   Category: Halacha
Halacha - Dogs in Judaism
Submitted by Rouven  Answered by Rav Peretz Moncharsh
Question: Dogs in Judaism Shalom. I have a cute black dog. I wonder very much why most orthodox Jews in my city (Petach Tikva) have more fear of my dog then they have of cars in the street, after all they jump away into street traffic when they see me coming with my dog even from 50 meters away. How can such a harsh and irrational reaction en masse be justified, after all it's clearly visible by my beard and kippah that I'm a Jew and in no way a danger for anybody in the street? Does Halakha permit do have dogs as pets at home / outside of the home? What's the law for patting a random dog in the street? Any other laws regarding dogs? Thanks a plenty! Rouven Grossman

First of all the Gemora already mentions the issue of fear of dogs by stating that one may not raise a vicious dog in the city as the fear of it may cause a pregnant woman to miscarry. However, I gather that your dog is not "vicious". Furthermore, a dog is a chaya temei'a and in Kabbala the dog often represents the forces of tuma. However, I think that the visceral reaction you experience is based on hundreds if not thousand of years of anti-Semitic Goyim using dogs to attack Jews. While you may feel that the reaction is irrational and excessive, understand that it is sincere and please make every reasonable effort to prevent your neighbors' distress.

I'm not familiar with any Halacha regarding petting unfamiliar dogs, but common sense dictates using caution around any stray animal.

posted:2008-09-14 05:12:47

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Visitor Comments: 1

Anonymous, 2010-08-02 16:33:17
Rabbi Betzalel Rudinsky Shlita of Monsey NY recently quoted the Chida (I believe) who explains that Adam HaRishon called the dog Kolev because it is Kulo Lev (full of heart)
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