תפילה על מת בהמה או חיה מחמד | Prayer on the Death of a Beloved Animal, by Aharon Varady (1994)

Source (Hebrew) Translation (English)

בָּרוּךְ דַּיַּן הָאֱמֶת׃ (משנה ברכות פרק ט ב)
הַצּוּר֙ תָּמִ֣ים פׇּֽעֳל֔וֹ כִּ֥י כׇל־דְּרָכָ֖יו מִשְׁפָּ֑ט
אֵ֤ל אֱמוּנָה֙ וְאֵ֣ין עָ֔וֶל צַדִּ֥יק וְיָשָׁ֖ר הֽוּא׃ (דברים לב:ד)
יְהֹוָ֣ה נָתַ֔ן וַֽיהֹוָ֖ה לָקָ֑ח יְהִ֛י שֵׁ֥ם יְהֹוָ֖ה מְבֹרָֽךְ׃ (איוב א:כא)
תְּהִלַּ֥ת יְהֹוָ֗ה יְֽדַבֶּ֫ר פִּ֥י וִיבָרֵ֣ךְ כׇּל־בָּ֭שָׂר שֵׁ֥ם קׇדְשׁ֗וֹ לְעוֹלָ֥ם וָעֶֽד׃ (תהלים קמה:כא)
מִי כָמוֹךָ אַב הָרַחֲמִים זוֹכֵר יְצוּרָיו לְחַיִּים בְּרַחֲמִים׃ (עמידה, ברכת גבורות לעשרת ימי תשובה)
Blessed is the True Judge;[1]Mishnah Berakhot 9:2.
The Rock! perfect in Their work, for all Their paths are just;
Faithful El, without iniquity, righteous and fair are They![2]Deuteronomy 32:4.
Hashem (Adonai) gave and Hashem took, blessed be the Name of Hashem![3]Job 1:21.
May we declare the praise of Hashem, may all Their creatures bless Their holy Name in the Cosmos forever! [4]Psalms 145:21.
Who is like You, Merciful Caregiver, who recalls Their creatures mercifully for life![5]Amidah, Gevurot Blessing, Ten Days of Repentance.

נִשְׁמַת כׇּל־חַי תְּבָרֵךְ אֶת־שִׁמְךָ יהוה אֱלֹהֵינוּ
וְרוּחַ כׇּל־בָּשָׂר תְּפָאֵר וּתְרוֹמֵם זִכְרְךָ מַלְכֵּנוּ תָּמִיד׃
מִן־הָעוֹלָם וְעַד־הָעוֹלָם אַתָּה אֵל
וּמִבַּלְעָדֶיךָ אֵין לָנוּ מֶלֶךְ גּוֹאֵל וּמוֹשִיעַ
פּוֹדֶה וּמַצִּיל וּמְפַרְנֵס וְעוֹנֶה
וּמְרַחֵם בְּכׇל־עֵת צָרָה וְצוּקָה׃
אֵין לָנוּ מֶלֶךְ עוֹזֵר וְסוֹמֵךְ אֶלָּא אָתָּה׃ 
אֱלֹהֵי הָרִאשׁוֹנִים וְהָאַחֲרוֹנִים אֱלֹהַּ כׇּל־בְּרִיוֹת
אֲדוֹן כׇּל־תּוֹלָדוֹת הַמְּהֻלָל בְּרֹב הַתִּשְׁבָּחוֹת׃
הַמְנַהֵג עוֹלָמוֹ בְּחֶסֶד וּבְרִיּוֹתָיו בְּרַחֲמִים׃ (נשמת כל חי, נוסח ספרד)
The soul of every living being shall bless your Name, Hashem our elo’ah,
the spirit (ruaḥ) of all creatures shall always glorify and exalt Your rememberance, our King.
From this world to the World to Come, you are El,
and other than You we have no king, redeemer, or savior.
The One who liberates, rescues, sustains, answers,
and is merciful in every time of distress and anguish…
we have no king, helper, supporter other than You
Elo’ah of all creatures, elo’ah of the first and of the last,
Master of all progeny, exalted with innumerable praise
who guides Their world with kindness and Their creatures with mercy..[6]Nishmat Kol Ḥai blessing, Nusaḥ ha-ARI z”l

לְחָתוּל —
For a cat:

הַ֭כְּפִירִים שֹׁאֲגִ֣ים לַטָּ֑רֶף וּלְבַקֵּ֖שׁ מֵאֵ֣ל אׇכְלָֽם׃ (תהלים קד:כא)
The young lions roar after their prey, and to seek their food from El.[7]Psalms 104:21.

לְכֶּלֶב —
For a dog:

וּלְכֹ֣ל ׀ בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֗ל לֹ֤א יֶֽחֱרַץ־כֶּ֙לֶב֙ לְשֹׁנ֔וֹ
לְמֵאִ֖ישׁ וְעַד־בְּהֵמָ֑ה
לְמַ֙עַן֙ תֵּֽדְע֔וּן אֲשֶׁר֙ יַפְלֶ֣ה יְהֹוָ֔ה
בֵּ֥ין מִצְרַ֖יִם וּבֵ֥ין יִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃ (שמות יא:ז)
And to all the children of Yisra’el, not a dog will sharpen their tongue,
to human being and even to domesticated animal,
in order that you know that Hashem does wonders
between Mitsrayim and between Yisra’el.[8]Exodus 11:7.

לְצִפּוֹר —
For a bird:

גַּם־צִפּ֨וֹר מָ֪צְאָה בַ֡יִת וּדְר֤וֹר ׀ קֵ֥ן לָהּ֮
אֲשֶׁר־שָׁ֢תָה אֶפְרֹ֫חֶ֥יהָ אֶֽת־מִ֭זְבְּחוֹתֶיךָ
יְהֹוָ֣ה צְבָא֑וֹת מַ֝לְכִּ֗י וֵאלֹהָֽי׃ (תהלים פד:ד)
Even the bird finds a home the sparrow her nest
to set its fledglings with your altars
Hashem (Adonai) Tseva’ot, my King and elo’ah.[9]Psalms 84:4.

לְרֶמֶשׂ —
For a lizard, amphibian, insect, or other creeping creature:

אַרְבָּ֣עָה הֵ֭ם קְטַנֵּי־אָ֑רֶץ וְ֝הֵ֗מָּה חֲכָמִ֥ים מְחֻכָּמִֽים׃
הַ֭נְּמָלִים עַ֣ם לֹא־עָ֑ז וַיָּכִ֖ינוּ בַקַּ֣יִץ לַחְמָֽם׃
שְׁ֭פַנִּים עַ֣ם לֹא־עָצ֑וּם וַיָּשִׂ֖ימוּ בַסֶּ֣לַע בֵּיתָֽם׃
מֶ֭לֶךְ אֵ֣ין לָאַרְבֶּ֑ה וַיֵּצֵ֖א חֹצֵ֣ץ כֻּלּֽוֹ׃
שְׂ֭מָמִית בְּיָדַ֣יִם תְּתַפֵּ֑שׂ וְ֝הִ֗יא בְּהֵ֣יכְלֵי מֶֽלֶךְ׃ (משלי ל:כד-כח)
Four there are, Earth’s smallest, but they are wisest of the wise.
The ants are a no-power people, but build up their bread in summer.
The hyraxes are a no-strength people, but place their homes in the crags.
No ruler has the locusts, but they go out all in formation.
The gecko can be hand-caught, and it is found in royal palaces.[10]Proverbs 30:24–28.

לְדָג —
For a fish:

א֤וֹ שִׂ֣יחַ לָאָ֣רֶץ וְתֹרֶ֑ךָּ
וִיסַפְּר֥וּ לְ֝ךָ֗ דְּגֵ֣י הַיָּֽם׃ (איוב יב:ח)
Or commune with the Earth, and it will teach you,
and the fish of the sea will tell you.[11]Job 12:8.

תִּזְכֹּר אֶת־נִשְׁמַת חַיַּת הַמַּחְמָד הָאֲהוּבָה
May you remember the beloved spirit of…

פְּלוֹנִי(ת) מִבֵּית אַלְמוֹנִי(ת) הֶחָתוּל/הַכֶּלֶב/הַצִּפּוֹר וְגוֹמֵר
(PET’S NAME) of the house of (YOUR NAME), the cat/dog/bird/fish/lizard/etc.

לִשְׁמֹרוֹ/ לִשְׁמֹרָהּ בְּשָׁלוֹם
וּלְהַחֲזִירוֹ/וּלְהַחֲזִירָהּ בְּאַהֲבָה בְּאַחֲרִית הַיָּמִים
כִּי בִּזְכוּת אַהֲבָתֵנוּ בּוֹ/בָּהּ
חֲמִימַת אַהֲבָתְךָ נִמְשֶׁכֶת בָּעוֹלָם הַזֶּה׃
to keep him/her/them in peace
and to return him/her/them to us with love at the end of days,
because through our love for him/her/them
the warmth of Your love was drawn into this world.

כֻּ֭לָּם אֵלֶ֣יךָ יְשַׂבֵּר֑וּן לָתֵ֖ת אׇכְלָ֣ם בְּעִתּֽוֹ׃
תִּתֵּ֣ן לָ֭הֶם יִלְקֹט֑וּן
תִּפְתַּ֥ח יָ֝דְךָ֗ יִשְׂבְּע֥וּן טֽוֹב׃
תַּסְתִּ֥יר פָּנֶיךָ֮ יִֽבָּהֵ֫ל֥וּן
תֹּסֵ֣ף ר֭וּחָם יִגְוָע֑וּן וְֽאֶל־עֲפָרָ֥ם יְשׁוּבֽוּן׃
תְּשַׁלַּ֣ח ר֭וּחֲךָ יִבָּרֵא֑וּן וּ֝תְחַדֵּ֗שׁ פְּנֵ֣י אֲדָמָֽה׃
יְהִ֤י כְב֣וֹד יְהוָ֣ה לְעוֹלָ֑ם יִשְׂמַ֖ח יְהוָ֣ה בְּמַעֲשָֽׂיו׃ (תהלים קד:כז-לא)
All turn to you, to give them their food in its time.
When you give to them; they gather;
When you open your hand; they are well satiated.
When you hide your face; they are dismayed,
When you take their breath; they fly away and to the dust they return.
When you send forth your breath they are created, and you renew the surface of the Earth.
May the Hashem’s kavod remain in the Cosmos, may Hashem rejoice in Their poesis![12]Psalms 104:27-31.

בָּרוּךְ יְהוָה
וּבָרוּךְ שְׁמוֹ
לְעוֹלָם וָעֶד‎׃
בָּרֲכִ֣י נַ֭פְשִׁי אֶת־יְהוָ֗ה הַֽלְלוּ־יָֽהּ׃
Bless Hashem (Adonai)
and bless their Name,
in the Cosmos forever!
O my spirit — I bless Hashem! Hallelu-Yah!

דברי תלמוד תורה בזכרם
Words of Torah to Learn to Honor the Memory of the Departed

לְחָתוּל —
For a cat:

אָמַר רַבִּי יוֹחָנָן — אִלְמָלֵא לֹא נִתְּנָה תּוֹרָה, הָיִינוּ לְמֵדִין צְנִיעוּת מֵחָתוּל׃ (עירובין ע ב)
Said Rabbi Yoḥanan, “Had the Torah never been given, we would have learned tsni’ut/modesty from the cat.”[13]Eruvin 80b

אֲמַר רַב פָּפָּא — בֵּיתָא דְּאִית בֵּיהּ שׁוּנְרָא, לָא נֵיעוֹל בָּהּ אִינִישׁ בְּלַא מְסַנֵי. מַאי טַעֲמָא? מִשּׁוּם דְּשׁוּנְרָא קָטֵיל לְחִיוְיָא וְאָכִיל לֵיהּ, וְאִית בֵּיהּ בְּחִיוְיָא גַּרְמֵי קַטִּינֵי, וְאִי יַתֵּיב לָהּ גַּרְמָא דְחִיוְיָא וְאַכַּרְעֵיהּ – לָא נָפִיק וְאִסְתָּכֵּן לֵיהּ׃ אִיכָּא דְאַמְרֵי — בֵּיתָא דְּלֵית בֵּיה שׁוּנְרָא, לָא נֵיעוֹל בָּהּ אִינִישׁ בְּהַכְרָא. מַאי טַעֲמָא? דִּילְמָא מִיכְּרִיךְ בֵּיה חִוְיָא וְלָא יְדַע וּמִסְתָּכֵּן׃ (פסחים קיב ב)
Said Rav Pappa, “one should not enter a house in which there is a cat unshod. For what reason? The cat could kill a snake and eat it, and snakes have small bones, and if one enters your skin it could not be removed and put you in danger.” Others say, “one should not enter a house without a cat in it in darkness. For what reason? A snake could wrap itself around you without your knowledge and you would be in danger.”[14]Pesaḥim 112b

לְכֶּלֶב —
For a dog:

דַּרָשׁ רַבִּי יוֹנָה אַפִּיתְחָא דְּבֵי נְשִׂיאָה — מַאי דִּכְתִיב יֹדֵ֣עַ צַ֭דִּיק דִּ֣ין דַּלִּ֑ים? (משלי כט:ז) יוֹדֵעַ הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא בְּכֶלֶב שֶׁמְּזוֹנוֹתָיו מוּעָטִין. לְפִיכָךְ, שׁוֹהֶה אֲכִילָתוֹ בְּמֵעָיו שְׁלֹשָׁה יָמִים. כְּדִתְנָן, כַּמָּה תִּשְׁהֶה אֲכִילָתוֹ בְּמֵעָיו וִיהֵא טָמֵא? בְּכֶלֶב שְׁלֹשָׁה יָמִים מֵעֵת לְעֵת. וּבְעוֹפוֹת וּבְדָגִים כְּדֵי שֶׁתִּפּוֹל לָאוּר וְתִּשָּׁרֵף. אֲמַר רַב הַמְנוּנָא — שְׁמַע מִינָהּ, אוֹרַח אַרְעָא לְמִשְׁדָּא אוּמְצָא לְכַלְבָּא׃ (שבת קנה ב)
Explained Rabbi Yonah at the entrance to the prince’s house – What does the verse “One who knows the righteous judges the poor” (Proverbs 29:7) mean? The blessed Holy One knows that the dog often lacks in food. Thus, God slows down its digestion for three days. As we were taught in a baraita, how long does digestion last with impure food? For a dog three twenty-four hour days. For birds and fish, the time it takes to fall in the fire and be burned. Said Rav Hamnuna, “one learns from this that the proper world conduct is to throw meat before a dog.”[15]Shabbat 145b

תָּנוּ רַבָּנָן — כְּלָבִים בּוֹכִים, מַלְאַךְ הַמָּוֶת בָּא לָעִיר. כְּלָבִים מְשָׂחֲקִים, אֵלִיָּהוּ הַנָּבִיא בָּא לָעִיר. וְהַנֵי מִילֵי דְלֵית בְּהוּ נְקֵבָה׃ (בבא קמא ס ב)
The rabbis taught in a baraita: dogs crying means the Angel of Death has come to town. Dogs playing means that Eliyah the Prophet has come to town. But this only applies if there aren’t female dogs around![16]Bava Kama 60b

לְצִפּוֹר —
For a bird:

כִּי הֲוָה קָא נַיְחָא נַפְשֶׁיהּ אָמַר — טָהוֹר טָהוֹר. יָצָאת בַּת קוֹל וְאָמְרָה — אַשְׁרֶיךָ רַבָּה בַּר נַחְמָנִי שֶׁגּוּפְךָ טָהוֹר וְיָצְאתָה נִשְׁמָתְּךָ בְּטָהוֹר. נָפַל פִּתְקָא מֵרְקִיעָא בְּפוּמְבְּדִיתָא — רַבָּה בַּר נַחְמָנִי נִתְבַּקֵּשׁ בִּישִׁיבָה שֶׁל מַעְלָה. נָפְקוּ אַבַּיֵי וְרָבָא וְכוּלְּהוּ רַבָּנָן לְאִיעֲסוּקֵי בֵּיהּ לֹא הֲווּ יָדְעֵי דּוּכְתֵּיהּ. אָזְלוּ לְאַגְמָא חָזוּ צִפָּרֵי דִמְטַלְּלֵי וְקַיְימֵי. אָמְרֵי — שְׁמַע מִינָּהּ הָתָם הוּא׃ (בבא מציעא פו א)
When Rabbah bar Naḥmani’s soul left his body, he said, “Pure, pure.” A divine voice came and said, “Happy are you, Rabbah bar Naḥmani, for your body is pure, and your soul left your body with ‘pure’!” A note fell from heaven in Pumbedita: “Rabbah bar Naḥmani was called up to the Yeshiva Above.” Abaye and Rava and the rest of the sages went out to tend to him, but they did not know the location of his corpse. They went to the swamp and saw birds that formed a shadow and hovered in one spot. They said, “One learns from this that he is here.”[17]Bava Metzia 86a

וַיְשַׁלַּ֥ח אֶת־הַיּוֹנָ֖ה מֵאִתּ֑וֹ לִרְאוֹת֙ הֲקַ֣לּוּ הַמַּ֔יִם… (בראשית ח:ח) אָמַר רַבִּי יִרְמְיָה — מִכָּאן שֶׁדִּירָתָן שֶׁל עוֹפוֹת טְהוֹרִים עִם הַצַּדִּיקִים׃ (סנהדרין קח ב)
Regarding the verse “And he sent the dove out to see if the water had come down,”[18]Genesis 8:8 Rabbi Yirmiyah said, “From here, that the dwelling place of the pure birds was with the righteous.”[19]Sanhedrin 108b

לְרֶמֶשׂ —
For a creeping creature:

אָמַר רַב יְהוּדָה אָמַר רַב — כׇּל מָה שֶׁבָּרָא הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא בְּעוֹלָמוֹ לֹא בָּרָא דָּבָר אֶחָד לְבַטָּלָה. בָּרָא שַׁבְּלוּל לְכָתִית, בָּרָא זְבוּב לְצִירְעָה, יַתּוּשׁ לְנָחָשׁ, וְנָחָשׁ לְחֲפָפִית, וּסְמָמִית לְעַקְרָב׃ (שבת עז ב)
Rav Yehuda said Rav said, “Of all that the blessed Holy One created on Earth, not one was created pointlessly. The snail was created for sores, the fly for wasps, the mosquito for snakes, the snake for rashes, and the gecko for scorpions.”[20]Shabbat 77b

תָּא שְׁמַע — וּבְכׇל־חַיָּ֖ה הָֽרֹמֶ֥שֶׂת עַל־הָאָֽרֶץ… (בראשית א:כח) הָהוּא לַאֲתוּיֵי נָחָשׁ הוּא דַאֲתָא. דְּתָנְיָא, רַבִּי שִׁמְעוֹן בָּן מְנַסְיָא אוֹמֵר — חֶבֶל עַל שַׁמָּשׁ גָּדוֹל שֶׁאָבַד מִן הָעוֹלָם! שֶׁאִלְמָלֵא נִתְקַלֵּל נָחָשׁ, כׇּל־אֶחָד וְאֶחָד מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל הָיוּ מִזְדַּמְּנִין לוֹ שְׁנֵי נְחָשִׁים טוֹבִים. אֶחָד מְשַׁגְּרוֹ לַצָּפוֹן וְאֶחָד מְשַׁגְּרוֹ לַדָּרוֹם לְהָבִיא לוֹ סַנְדַּלְבּוֹנִים טוֹבִים וַאֲבָנִים טוֹבוֹת וּמַרְגָּלִיּוֹת. וְלֹא עוֹד אֶלָּא שֶׁמַּפְשִׁילִין רְצוּעָה תַּחַת זְנָבוֹ וּמוֹצִיא בָּהּ עָפָר לִגְנָתוֹ וּלְחֻרְבָּתוֹ׃ (סנהדרין נט ב)
Come and hear: “And all the life that creeps on earth” (Genesis 1:28) this comes to mean the snake. As it was taught, Rabbi Shimon ben Menasya says, “Alas for a great helper that was lost from the world! For had the snake not been cursed, every person in Israel would have had two good snakes. One they would send north, and one they would send south, to bring them sardonyx and precious gems and pearls. And what’s more, if it were so they could attach a strap under the tail and use it to take dirt out to the garden and the scrap heap!”[21]Sanhedrin 59b

לְדָג —
For a fish:

לְמָה הַדָּבָר דּוֹמֶה? לְשׁוּעָל שֶׁהָיָה מְהַלֵּךְ עַל גַּב הַנָּהָר, וְרָאָה דָּגִים שֶׁהָיוּ מִתְקַבְּצִים מִמָּקוֹם לְמָקוֹם. אָמַר לָהֶם — מִפְּנֵי מָה אַתֶּם בּוֹרְחִים? אָמְרוּ לוֹ — מִפְּנֵי רְשָׁתוֹת שֶׁמְּבִיאִין עָלֵינוּ בְּנֵי אָדָם. אָמַר לָהֶם — רְצוֹנְכֶם שֶׁתַּעֲלוֹ לַיַּבָּשָׁה? וְנָדוּר אֲנִי וְאַתֶּם כְּשֵׁם שֶׁדָּרוֹ אֲבוֹתַי עִם אֲבוֹתֵיכֶם! אָמְרוּ לוֹ — אַתָּה הוּא שֶׁאוֹמְרִים עָלֶיךָ, פִּקֵּחַ שֶׁבַּחַיּוּת? לֹא פִּקֵּחַ אַתָּה, אֶלָּא טִפֵּשׁ אַתָּה! וּמַה בִּמְקוֹם חִיּוּתֵינוּ אָנוּ מִתְיָרְאִין, בִּמְקוֹם מִיתָתֵנוּ עַל אַחַת כַּמָּה וְכַמָּה! אַף אֲנַחְנוּ עַכְשָׁיו, שֶׁאָנוּ יוֹשְׁבִים וְעוֹסְקִים בַּתּוֹרָה שֶׁכָּתוּב בָּהּ ׳כִּ֣י ה֤וּא חַיֶּ֙יךָ֙ וְאֹ֣רֶךְ יָמֶ֔יךָ׳ (דברים ל:כ) כָּךְ אִם אָנוּ הוֹלְכִים וּמְבַטְּלִים מְמַנֶּה עַל אַחַת כַּמָּה וְכַמָּה׃ ( ברכות סא ב)
What is this like? A fox that was walking by the riverbank, and saw fish that were schooling in different places. He said, “What are you afraid of?” They said, “The traps that humans put up.” He said, “Do you want to come up to dry land? We can dwell, you and I, together, just as our ancestors did!” They said to him, “You’re the one they call the smartest of the animals? You aren’t smart, you’re stupid! If in the place we thrive we are afraid, in the place we die all the more so!” And just as with us now, where we sit and study Torah, where it is written “For it is your life and the length of your days,”[22]Deuteronomy 30:20 if we abandon it, all the more so![23]Berakhot 61b

וְיִדְגּ֥וּ לָרֹ֖ב בְּקֶ֥רֶב הָאָֽרֶץ… (בראשית מח:טז) מַה דָּגִים שֶׁבַּיָּם, מַיִם מְכַסִּים אוֹתָם וְאֵין הָעַיִן שׁוֹלֶטֶת בָּהֶן, אַף זַרְעוֹ שֶׁל יוֹסֵף, אֵין הָעַיִן שׁוֹלֶטֶת בָּהֶן׃ (בבא מציעא פד א)
“And they will swarm fish-like in the midst of the land”[24]Genesis 48:16… just as fish in the sea, water covers them and the Ayin Hara/Predatory Gaze cannot rule over them, so too the seed of Yosef, the Predatory Gaze cannot rule over them.

לכל בריות:
For all creatures:

אמר רבה בר בר חנה אמר רבי יוחנן ראה חזיר שכרוך אחר רחל פטורה מן הבכורה ואסור באכילה עַד־יָבוֹא וְיֹרֶה צֶדֶק לָכֶם (הושע י:יב). חזיר איצטריכא ליה דאי אשמעינן טלה הוה אמינא אם תמצא לומר דסבר יולדת מרחמא דמינה דלא מינה לא אשמעינן חזיר דמרחמת ואפילו דלאו מינה נמי דאיכא למימר דלמא מרחמא. (בכורות כד א)
Rabba bar bar Ḥana says that Rabbi Yoḥanan says: If one saw a young animal resembling a pig that was trailing after a ewe, the ewe is exempt from having its future offspring counted a firstborn. And the pig-like animal is forbidden for consumption “until he comes and instructs righteousness to you,”[25]Hosea 10:12 i.e., until Eliyah the prophet arrives and determines the halakhah. The Gemara explains: It was necessary for Rabba bar bar Ḥana to teach the case of a pig, as, had he taught a case involving a lamb, I would say: Even if you say that Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel holds that an animal that has given birth might be compassionate toward the offspring of another, this is so only with regard to its own species, but with regard to an animal that is not of its own species, it would not show compassion and would not nurse the offspring. Therefore, Rabba bar bar Ḥana teaches us the case of a pig, to convey that an animal might be compassionate, and this is also true even where the offspring is not of its own species, as it could be said that perhaps the animal was compassionate in such a case as well.[26]Bekhorot 24a

עוֹד צָרִיךְ לִהְיוֹת רַחֲמָיו פְּרוּסִים עֶל כָּל הַנִּבְרָאִים, לֹא יְבַזֵּם וְלֹא יְאַבְּדֵם. שֶׁהֲרֵי הַחָכְמָה הָעֶלְיוֹנָה הִיא פְּרוּסָה עַל כָּל הַנִּבְרָאִים, דּוֹמֵם וְצוֹמֵחַ וְחַי וּמְדַבֵּר…..וְעַל דָּבָר זֶה רָאוּי, שֶׁכְּמוֹ שֶׁהַחָכְמָה הָעֶלְיוֹנָה אֵינָהּ מְבַזָּה שׁוּם נִמְצָא וְהַכֹּל נַעֲשָׂה מִשָּׁם, דִכְתִיב (תהלים קד:כד) “כֻּלָּם בְּחָכְמָה עָשִׂיתָ”, כֵּן יִהְיֶה רַחֲמֵי הָאָדָם עַל כָּל מַעֲשָׂיו יִתְבָּרֵךְ. וּמִטַּעַם זֶה הָיָה עֹנֶשׁ רַבֵּנוּ הַקָּדוֹשׁ, עַל יְדֵי שֶׁלֹּא חָס עַל בֶּן הַבָּקָר שֶׁהָיָה מִתְחַבֵּא אֶצְלוֹ וְאָמַר לוֹ “זִיל, לְכָךְ נוֹצַרְתָּ” (בבא מציעא פה א), בָּאוּ לוֹ יִסּוּרִין, שֶׁהֵם מִצַּד הַדִּין, שֶׁהֲרֵי הָרַחֲמִים מְגִנִּים עַל הַדִּין, וְכַאֲשֶׁר רִחֵם עַל הַחֻלְדָּה, וְאָמַר “וְרַחֲמָיו עַל כָּל מַעֲשָׂיו כְּתִיב”, נִצַּל מִן הַדִּין, מִפְּנֵי שֶׁפֹּרַשׂ אוֹר הַחָכְמָה עָלָיו, וְנִסְתַּלְקוּ הַיִּסּוּרִים….זֶה הַכְּלָל, הַחֶמְלָה עַל כָּל הַנִּמְצָאִים שֶׁלֹּא לְחַבְּלָם, תְּלוּיָה בְּחָכְמָה. (ר׳ משה קורדובירו, תומר דבורה פרק ג׳)
Furthermore, one’s compassion should extend to all creatures and one should neither despise nor destroy them, for the (divine attribute of) Supernal Ḥokhmah/Wisdom spreads over all of creation: inanimate objects, plants, animals and humans. This is a proper concept, for just as the (divine attribute of) Supernal Ḥokhmah/Wisdom does not despise anything that exists, since everything is created from it – as it is written, “You have made them all with Ḥokhmah/Wisdom,”[27]Psalms 104:24 so, too, a person’s compassion should be upon all the creations of the Blessed One. For this reason, Rabbi Yehudah “the Holy One” was punished, because he did not have pity on a calf that hid by him under his cloak, in order to evade slaughter, and he said to it, “Go! You were created for this purpose.”[28]Bava Metsia 85a Suffering – which derives from the aspect of strict judgment – came upon him. For only compassion shields against strict judgment. Thus, when he had mercy on a weasel, and said “His compassion is upon all His creations,”[29]Psalms 145:9 he was delivered from strict judgment, for the light of Ḥokhmah/Wisdom spread over him, and his suffering was removed (ibid)….This is the general principle: Having pity on all beings not to hurt them, is contingent on Ḥokhmah/Wisdom.[30]R’ Moshe Cordovero, Tomer Devorah, chapter 3

This funeral prayer for a beloved pet animal was first compiled in English by Aharon Varady for Nethaniel Puzael, his family cat, in 1994. A copy of the prayer was first shared by Aharon on his Facebook page and in several Facebook groups. There he wrote,

Rummaging through old papers on 11 June 2019, my mother discovered the first email she received from me, which is I believe, the first email message I ever wrote and properly addressed (to anyone) dated 10 October 1994. Such a treasure!

Lo and behold (!) in the body of the email is a prayer service I put together upon learning our beloved kitty, the first in our family, had passed. His name was Nathaniel Puze’æl. I remember having written this and long wished I had a copy. I’m so grateful my mom saved this among other birthday cards and correspondence. The prayer contains excerpts from the sabbath day prayer “Nishmat Kol Ḥai” (the Spirit of All-Life), “Ashrei” (Psalms 145), and some teaching from tractates of the Babylonian Talmud concerning cats.

Hebrew with niqud was added by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer in 2019. (Thank you so much Isaac!) Isaac added additional liturgy and learning for birds, fish, and creeping creatures (lizards, insects, etc.). I added the final “learning sections” for all animals, acknowledging the relationship of interspecies caregivers as that of one between a mother and child, as well as the importance of Wisdom informing compassion, concern, mercy, and pity in the thought of Rabbi Moshe Cordovero (1522-1570) in his Tomer Devorah. –Aharon Varady

Source(s)

Notes   [ + ]

  1. Mishnah Berakhot 9:2.
  2. Deuteronomy 32:4.
  3. Job 1:21.
  4. Psalms 145:21.
  5. Amidah, Gevurot Blessing, Ten Days of Repentance.
  6. Nishmat Kol Ḥai blessing, Nusaḥ ha-ARI z”l
  7. Psalms 104:21.
  8. Exodus 11:7.
  9. Psalms 84:4.
  10. Proverbs 30:24–28.
  11. Job 12:8.
  12. Psalms 104:27-31.
  13. Eruvin 80b
  14. Pesaḥim 112b
  15. Shabbat 145b
  16. Bava Kama 60b
  17. Bava Metzia 86a
  18. Genesis 8:8
  19. Sanhedrin 108b
  20. Shabbat 77b
  21. Sanhedrin 59b
  22. Deuteronomy 30:20
  23. Berakhot 61b
  24. Genesis 48:16
  25. Hosea 10:12
  26. Bekhorot 24a
  27. Psalms 104:24
  28. Bava Metsia 85a
  29. Psalms 145:9
  30. R’ Moshe Cordovero, Tomer Devorah, chapter 3

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