Every dog has its day, they say.
A Rabbinical court has ruled that the mean spirit of a secular lawyer who insulted judges 20 years ago was transferred into the body of a stray dog, reports Ynet news! This article caused a bit of headscratching among lawyers who haven't yet been reincarnated as canines. Ridiculous? PETA activists and their ilk don't think so and have unleashed their own flurry of protests. When the international press began drawing comparisons to Sharia courts and medieval justice to pariahs, many Israelis cringed. (The actions of Black Hats often seem barking mad to outsiders.)
A Jerusalem rabbinical court recently sentenced a wandering dog to death by stoning. The cruel sentence stemmed from the suspicion that the hound was the reincarnation of a famous secular lawyer, who insulted the court's judges 20 years ago.
Several weeks ago, according to the Behadrei Hadarim website, a large dog entered the Monetary Affairs Court near the ultra-Orthodox neighborhood of Mea Shearim. The dog scared the court's visitors and, to their surprise, refused to leave even after they attempted to drive him away.
One of the judges suddenly recalled that about 20 years ago, a famous secular lawyer who insulted the court was cursed by the panel of judges, who wished that his spirit would move on to the body of a dog (considered an impure animal by Halacha). The lawyer passed away several years ago.
Still offended, one of the judges sentenced the poor animal to death by stoning, recruiting the neighborhood's children to carry out the order. Luckily, the dog managed to escape.
The head of the court, Rabbi Avraham Dov Levin, denied that the judges had called for the dog's stoning. But one of the court's managers confirmed the report to Yedioth Ahronoth.
"It was ordered by the rabbis because of the grief he had caused the court," he said. "They didn't issue an official ruling, but ordered the children outside to throw stones at him in order to drive him away. They didn't think of it as cruelty to animals, but as an appropriate way to 'get back at' the spirit which entered the poor dog."
Jerusalem City Council Member and social activist Rachel Azaria sent an urgent letter to the attorney general, calling on him to "deal with the criminals". The Let the Animals Live organization filed a complaint with the police against Rabbi Levin.
Hat tip to Akiva Novick of Ynet News for this piece
UPDATE: The BBC now reports the court's denial of this dog death order, which achieved considerable coverage in the world press. "There is no basis for abuse of animals from the side of Jewish Halacha [law]," the rabbis said in a statement carried by Maariv news:
"A dog had entered the court and been removed". Intrestingly, there was no denial that a noisome lawyer had been cursed by the court.