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Dec 4, 2023

The dog that kept shabbos

Spoiler: The dog died

Back in August there was a story that Rav Yitzchak Zilbershtein said to publicize - someone living in Afula said he has a neighbor, not religious but traditional and lights Shabbos candles, said she has a dog with a neshama, a soul.

The story she related goes that she has a neighbor who goes to shul, and her dog follows him to shul Friday night after she lights candles. After she lights candles, the dog goes over to the neighbor and bangs on the door, follows him to shul (Beit Knesset Heichal Hashiva in Afula), waits outside near the entrance until the end of services.

After services have concluded, the dog walks back home with the neighbor, goes in with the neighbor to hear kiddush and only after kiddush has been completely completed does the dog then go home.  Every week.

And after seuda shlishit the dog again goes with the neighbor to shul, goes home with him, hears havdala in the neighbors house and only then goes back home. 

She says she has tried to take the dog from the neighbor before havdala but the dog refuses to go home until after. The neighbor placated her saying not to worry, he wont go until after havdala, and that's what happens, every week.

The story became known in Afula and people confirmed they would pass the shul and see the dog waiting patiently and then going home with the neighbor.

The neighbor was approached at some point and explained that the dog used to belong to him. he had gotten the dog from a kibbutz 9 years prior. Since he got the dog, the dog always went with him to shul and waited to hear kiddush and havdala. At some point he gave the dog to the neighbor (doesnt explain why, just that something happened that caused him to give the dog to the neighbor) and the dog continued to come over for kiddush and havdala, after which they would give him scraps of leftover food from Shabbos (that alone makes the story completely understandable as to why he waits until after kiddush and havdala to go home - he waits for the food). The dog even eats the fish and doesnt eat the meat at the same time but waits a moment after the fish before eating the meat.

They feel that the dog is a reincarnation of someone and something bigger is going on.

They asked what to do as it seems to be a gilgul with someone's neshama needing a tikkun. Rav Zilbershtein said the story should be publicized (sorry I didnt until now, I hadnt seen it until recently). People should even come to see it for themselves and spread the story. 10 people seeing it and spreading the story would be a kiddush hashem, would show people that there is a Judge.... and if the dog is a gilgul of some soport, spreading the story and creating the kiddush hashem would bring the tikkun needed to the soul.

All that happened back in August, according to Haredim10. Now, Haredim10 and Behadrei are reporting that the dog has died.

It seems in recent days his breathing became belabored. She tried to take him to the vet but he refused to cooperate and go and then next morning he died. It seems this is taken as confirmation of what Rav Zilbershtein said that a kiddush hashem had been caused, allowing the neshama, if it was a gilgul, to complete its tikkun.

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  1. Hard to believe it. No names in the story. What is the name of the owner? the neighbor?

  2. This is one of those things that certain Litvishe gedolim used to say, I am not an apiokorus if I don't believe it.
    Simplest explanation is that the dog became habituated to certain conduct on Shabbos. There is ample precedent for that in Chazal. See here, for one example: https://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/810791/jewish/The-Cow-That-Kept-Shabbat.htm

  3. Just for the record, is a dog permitted to be present at Havdala?


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