Thursday, July 18, 2019 -
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Canine kosher

Dear Tzviling,

Last year my husband and I decided to keep kosher and our rabbi helped us make the transition to a kosher kitchen. It was a new experience for both of us, but we got used to it.

We get our meat and chicken from a local kosher butcher, and surprisingly we often find questions in the chickens.

Sometimes parts of the chicken appear to be broken with dark spots.

Our rabbi made it quite clear that anytime we encounter questions, we should bring the chicken to him for rabbinic clarification. Many times the chicken ends up being kosher; but sometimes the rabbi rules it treif (unkosher).

I recently learned that treif meat is given to the dogs as a reward for not barking when the Jews left Egypt.

So anytime we have non-kosher meat, we feed it to the dogs.

That gave me an idea — why do I need to shlep the chicken to the rabbi when a question arises, when there is a much easier solution: Why not throw it to my dog and see what she will do?

If she eats the meat, it must mean the meat is not kosher. If she refuses the meat, it is clearly kosher.

I have stopped bringing my questions to the rabbi and am hesitant to discuss this with him. He may not take too well with my new canine rabbi.

Does this method sound “kosher” to you?

Pessie, Riverdale

Dear Pessie,

That sounds like a brilliant solution. But tell me, did the dog ever rule the meat kosher?

Dear Tzviling,

Thank you for your upbeat columns. They’re great.

I have a question for you. I have a 10-year-old daughter attending a Jewish day school. She loves to read stories, especially about doing mitzvos, charity and helping others.

This week, her class was studying the importance of serving G-d with heart and souls. With joy.

Do you have a story I can share with her? Your stories are great.

Bella, Denver

Dear Bella,

Here is a story from the heart.

Many years ago, a humble farmer named Moshe, together with his wife and children, led a simple life. He raised many animals on his spacious farm and enjoyed a modest living.

Living in a small village, Moshe did not have the opportunity to study about his Jewish roots, and lived a secular life.

One day, he heard about a lecture on Judaism in a nearby synagogue, and decided to attend.

“What do I have to lose?” he thought to himself. The topic — “G-d wants the heart” — sounded interesting.

Moshe was quite inspired by the lecture, and decided he wants to serve G-d with heart, but there was one problem. He didn’t know how. His knowledge was limited to his farm and his animals.

Then he had an idea.

He would kill one of his animals, roast its heart, and offer that to ?G-d.

“Yes, that’s it,” he mused to himself. “That’s what G-d wants — the heart.”

The next day, he walked to the synagogue, carrying the roasted heart, and went inside. Something told him the ark was a fitting place to place the heart, and so he did. He left with his heart full of joy and praise to G-d.

Unbeknownst to him, there was a poor guest sleeping in the back of the synagogue, who was awakened by the delectable aroma and traced it to the ark.

That became his midnight snack.

The following day, Moshe went back to investigate, and wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles, the heart was gone. G-d must have “accepted” his heart.

His joy knew no bounds, and quickly went home to repeat his offering. Another heart for the ark — another snack for the pauper.

After awhile, the local attendant realized something was amiss, and kept close watch. When he discovered that Moshe was placing animal hearts in the ark, he informed the local rabbi, who ceremoniously berated Moshe.

“Do you think that is the way to serve G-d — with heart?”

Crushed in spirit, Moshe went home in tears.

A great tzaddik (righteous man) sent a message to the rabbi, informing him that not since the offerings of the Holy Temple did anything effect a heavenly delight as Moshe’s hearts — and heart.

Send your questions to, to be answered with wit, wisdom and humor by identical twins Rabbis Yisroel Engel (Denver) and Shloime Engel (Montreal) who share their combined 100 years of experience.

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